I don’t take for granted what it is that the Monster notices or retains. There are good days and bad days, and subjects where I know he’s well-versed.
Descriptive, literal language, he’s fairly good at. For example, on Friday when he and I went down to the curling center, we spent most of the ride there and back talking about what we saw while we were driving. He’s very good at distinguishing between things we see while we drive, though not always with precision, and with a little bit of prompting, he can work around his own scripts to describe things. Narrative language, on the other hand, is a deficiency that I don’t know how to work on without significant prompting.
But even I underestimate sometimes his descriptive retention.
When I was younger, my dad used to take us to a lot of sporting events. He had season tickets for football and basketball, and we lived on a street with families who gave us tickets for baseball games frequently. So I grew up watching – or listening to, since I’m old-school with baseball – a lot of sports. (Playing, not so much… that’s a more recent development.) The Monster’s even attended a few sporting events, mostly through Pathfinders for Autism events though he’s gone to the US National Curling Championships with me one year. (That’s a story for another time.)
But it’s not uncommon for me, on a weekend, to have some sporting event on the television while I’m spending time with the kids. A lot of the time, I feel like I have to “remind” the Monster about our rooting interests, or who we’re watching. He knows the Orioles and the Ravens well enough – it’s hard to avoid them in our city – but… I still feel like I have to remind him of which sport we’re watching, or who we’re rooting for.
So on Sunday, I was watching the Maryland-Ohio State basketball game on the television, while I had the finals at a bonspiel running on the computer. (Friends of mine were playing in the A-Final up in Schenectady.) And the Monster, between turns at playing Sesame Street on the computer, came up to see what was going on.
“Stones!” he declared as he looked at the computer without prompting, and then looked at the television. “Basketball!”
It’s not his recognizing who it is who’s playing on each game, but it’s a great step forward that he’s observing without prompting.