Yesterday morning we woke up to two very surprising things. First, in what is very rare event in our area in October, it had snowed overnight and there was snow on the ground. Second, our youngest daughter C noticed the snow and decided to talk about it.
My wife and I woke up to C banging on the window in our bedroom and saying "Its snowing! I want go outside and play in snowman!" At first I thought I was dreaming because the youngest hasn't been talking to us much lately and, while she can and does use short sentences to communicate, she has never strung together three different ideas in one burst of communication.
Of course, we did get her dressed and let her go outside to play in the snow. And a little while later, with Mom and Twin A's help, she built her first snowman. (Twin B, as usual, took one look at the snow, decided that it looked way too cold and wet, and hid in her bedroom.)
But, like always when it comes to autism, I can't help but wonder why.
Why was C able to put together three different ideas and express herself at that moment in time? It certainly isn't the first time that she has seen snow nor has she ever been particularly excited by it in the past. Why this time?
If this is the level at which she can talk, why doesn't she more often? She is certainly a very opinionated little girl and is quite often put out that we can't guess what is on her mind. If she has the ability to tell us exactly what she wants, why doesn't she? Is it that she normally can't or that she won't?
All of which inevitably leads to the question of whether this group of sentences was the emergence of a new skill/ability for her or whether it was one of those strange flashes of skills that you see in children with autism. Is she going to start expressing more complex ideas or was this just a glimpse of what lies beneath the surface of her autism?
Of course, there are no answers to any of these questions. Only time will tell if C is breaking through the blocks of her autism or whether this was just a fluke. In the meantime all we can do is keep trudging along down the field heading for the end zone.
And making snowmen when she she asks for them.