The Broadening Repertoire

One of our biggest frustrations with the Monster is how he’s something of a broken record.

He does certainly have a good library of words to pull from when he wants to talk, but he’s not quite yet mastered getting it through anything other than his rote phrases.  For the longest time, it was a litany of “Can I have X, please”.

Over the course of the year, the variety of request phrases has broadened only a little bit, though he’s more inclined to stick to that pattern.

What’s new is adding in requests for help in proper context – he’s actually gotten to the point that he does ask for help (either “I need help” or “Can you help me, please?”).  This was one of his IEP goals, since he’s not yet at the stage where he can necessarily dress/undress himself and does require help, and it’s a move towards trying to foster more independence, in that we’re wanting him to ask if he’s not capable of doing something for himself.

On the other hand, he’s still not quite grasped that there are words that don’t work well in these structures.  We do often get “Can I have yes, please?” when he’s hungry or thirsty, and we’re working on trying to snap him over to “I’m hungry/thirsty” as a better expression with some prompting.

He also doesn’t yet really seem to be aware of what to do with a negative response – the situations where he requests and we’re not going to fulfill the request for one of a variety of reasons.  For example, we were stuck in the car for an hour this evening in a situation where I really couldn’t either let him out or get him a drink (let’s call that bad planning).  This leads to the nearly-typical response of the request being repeated over and over and over ad nauseum, with him getting increasingly agitated because he’s not understanding my explanation for why I am saying no or not-yet.

It is, however, an improvement…

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