“Why” is not easy to answer

Children with autism have a hard time answering “why” questions. “Why” something happens is an abstract concept and they struggle with it.

Today, we had a small group of special needs children in the gym at church. They were playing ball and of course, because it’s a gym, sound is amplified. It was very noisy. Peter left and made his way to the foyer and I followed.

Me: Peter, what’s wrong?

Peter: I’m going to stay out here.

Me: Why?

Peter: I’m going to stay out here.

Me: Okay, how about this. Can you finish the sentence? I want to stay in the lobby because…(?)

Peter: because it’s noisy in the gym.

Yay! I was so excited because he has such a hard time with answering “why” questions. It really is a challenge and has led to some funny situations. Once, a few years ago,  Peter was up in his room crying. I went up to find out what had happened to upset him and asked why he was crying.

Me: Peter, you are crying because…(?)

Peter: I’m angry.

Me: Okay. “I’m angry” because…(?)

Peter: Because I’m crying.

This went on for well over five minutes. Back and forth, back and forth–Peter crying the whole time. I finally decided that we weren’t going to get anywhere with the conversation we were having and I needed to distract him with another activity.

I never did find out why he was crying and sometimes, after events like these, the puzzle remains. But everyday, we move forward just a little more.

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And We Regress

Peter seems to have lost some of his interest in potty-training. I went out and got him big boy underwear so I’m hopeful that this will give him the added oomf he needs to get excited about it again.

Peter is also getting angry frequently again and I’m not sure what this means. I’m hoping it means that he’s on the verge of a communications breakthrough. That’s what it meant last time. But for now we wait and see.

Nathan is talking– well kind of. He’s saying many more things and using more signs to communicate with us. This is making life easier for everyone.