Quentin’s obsession/ stimming for corporate logos continues. As much as it irritates me, I know realistically that it is just his way of dealing with the world. Recently, I have noticed two positive trends come out of this: Pattern recognition and his desire to communicate.
Here’s what pattern recognition looks like: Quentin will say “NYU” and look at me. This is my cue to repeat what he just said. I will repeat, “NYU.” Then he says, “NYC” and waits again for my imitation. This is followed by “NYM” (which stands for New York Methodist hospital, another logo he has seen)… then “NY1″ (local news channel). You get the idea – he is picking up on logos that are geographically relevant to where we live. This might simply be because the initials NY show up a lot around here. (I never noticed this before Quentin made it so clear. His logo obsession is making me realize things like this.) He has also discovered another pattern that begins US: US Air, US Mail and US News. Again, geography plays a role.
OK, so none of this may seem like a big deal to anyone, but I am so impressed that he is stringing these logos together! Think about it: He is actively recalling logos from his memory that have the same beginning sounds. There are no pictures involved when he says them. To that end, he would never have seen these logos in the same place; it is as though he is categorizing them in his mind. It is simply an oral back-and-forth, with him taking the lead. In other words, a conversation!
Which brings me to the next recent positive trend: Quentin is communicating with us via these logos! Okay it’s not exactly a communication in the regular sense. But the interaction has eye contact, pauses for my reciprocation of language, and occasional shared smiles. He pulls me over to the couch (a common place for us to have this interaction) with the clear desire to interact with me one-on-one. It’s a great start.
Recently, I discovered the true joy he gets out of being understood. You see, Quentin’s ability to pronounce words is still not very good. He really struggles to wrap his mouth around every sound, and some he simply cannot make. For the longest time he was going through a “New York” pattern of logos. (This one was similar to the “NY” logos, but instead had the words “New York” in full, such as: “The New York Times,” “New York 1″ and “Time Out New York.”) He would get to one logo I simply could not understand. It sounded something like: “New York sbutstub.” He would wait for my response, and I would explain that I didn’t know what he said. My mind raced for the logo he could be referring to, but I really had no idea. He would repeat “New York sutstub!” I would pause, take a deep breath, and guess… “New York bus stop?” He would react with a big wail and stamp his foot. I could not have the back-and-forth with him if I did not understand him. I felt awful, but there was nothing I could do about it.
Then, something happened to make me understand. I went with Quentin on a class trip one day. As we all rode along together in a bus, Quentin looked out the window and asked me to name various logos he saw. I realized that part of the route went the same way his daily bus ride to school went. That’s when I saw it: the logo for New York Sports Club. It’s a chain of gyms. There is also one of these sports clubs near our home, I realized. Could this be “New York sbutstub”? Why yes!
A few days later back at home, Quentin and I went through his list of “New York” logos. “New York sbutstub” he said. I replied confidently, “New York Sports Club.” You have no idea how THRILLED he was that I understood him! He jumped for joy, ran around the room screeching. He came back and had me repeat “New York Sports Club” about five times. I joined him in celebration, laughing and clapping. I understood. He understood. We were communicating.