Can I Talk?

It seems that Aaron has come down with my sore throat virus that I got after Christmas.  That was a wicked sore throat for me, so if Aaron feels the same then I feel very sorry for him.  I also feel sorry for him because he was really looking forward to going with Barb, one of his day group staff, to watch her daughter play in a basketball game this evening.  Now he can’t go and he’s very disappointed.

Aaron doesn’t care about sports, but he does care about several other things.  He loves Barb and so spending time with her outside of his day group was something he really wanted to do.  She also told him that there was a concession stand there, which he knows means food, and so he had already asked me if I would send more money with him today.  “Lots of money!” he said yesterday.  Lots of money for lots of food, which fits into Aaron’s agenda very nicely.  Now it’s applesauce and hot tea with honey for him.

The other thing that Aaron cares about is talking.  Talking and eating are his two top priorities in life.  Aaron is definitely not a non-verbal adult with autism.   Talking, and having listening ears around him, is of utmost importance to him.  Therefore, I should not have been surprised, when Aaron was talking about this basketball game, to hear him say, “Mom!  I asked Barb if I could talk at the game.  She said yes!!”  So now he was set.  There would be food and there would be talking…….especially his own talking……..and so he was happy. 

There will, as Barb said, hopefully be another basketball game for Aaron to attend.  For now, Aaron will eat here at home.  He has already requested his lunch – leftovers from last night of his favorite chicken casserole.  And he has asked if he can pour and drink the last of the coffee.  His day at home is beginning well and is full of promise, that’s for sure.

And for now, Aaron will also talk here at home.  Not even a sore throat will hamper his verbal skills.  I love Aaron and I love to hear what he says…….within reason.  Last night I had nearly reached the end of my listening skills, however.  He didn’t see me lowering my head and didn’t hear my sighs as I heard him thumping down the stairs once again to tell me something.  He also didn’t see my relief when he breezed past me to head down to share something with Gary.  Yes, Aaron, share the wealth…….please! 

I remember the Saturday morning a few weeks ago when Aaron would not stop talking.  Sometimes it’s just too much, especially when the subject is aliens or transformers or anything from a Star Wars game.  Finally Gary said, “Aaron.  Be quiet.”   Aaron said, “Why?”  And Gary wisely answered, “Because I want you to.”

Then Aaron responded with, “Ok.”

Pause from Aaron before saying, “And then why?”

Laughing felt good right at that moment.  Aaron sees no reason to be quiet.  One day I was trying to listen to an interview on the radio when Aaron popped in my room and of course, proceeded to talk.  I held up my finger and told him to hush while I listened.  He promptly said, “Sorry you’re listening to that and I’m talking.”  And he also proceeded to keep talking until I escorted him from the room. 

He has found that Jackson is a willing listener but not a great responder, so Jackson doesn’t get the amount of conversation that we do.  But one day Aaron excitedly said, “Mom, I said Great Dane and his ears act like they’re listening!”  Aaron loves listening ears, even on a dog!

Aaron even talks in his sleep.  I often hear him on the monitor having a regular conversation, including laughter.  He coined a phrase for this activity when one day he said, “Mom, Brandy and Barb were doing something on the computer where you could hear a voice but not see anyone.  Is that called voiceage?” 

So with Aaron, we have voiceage as well as normal conversation.  And there are many times that I just know I hear him when he’s not even in the house.  It’s a mom thing, I know……..and it’s an Aaron thing. 

I’m very thankful that Aaron talks.  I recognize that non-verbal autism would be heart-breaking on many levels.  It’s just that I sometimes reach overload, like Aaron did last year when we were having new siding put on our house.  Aaron would wake up in the mornings to the sound of loud hammering, especially when the men were working on the outside walls near Aaron’s room.  One day, totally frustrated, Aaron said, “I’m ready to let them be quiet!!”

Oh, Aaron, if only it were that easy.  Trust me, there are times that we are ready to let you be quiet.  But not for too long.  You do make life interesting and amazing, and I have tons of quickly jotted notes to prove it……….more notes than I will probably ever be able to even put into this blog. 

So keep talking, Aaron.  Because we want you to……..really.  And you’ll know when we’re ready to let you be quiet.  Like I said, if it were only that easy. 

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