Q: Hey there!
We attended our intensive in January. Patrick is now saying word approximations for about 35 words (I think he was only saying 10 or less when we came) and is giving us about 5-20 seconds of sustained eye contact 70% of the time (from 1-5 seconds in January). He is stuck on the sound “eh” when he wants something. Of course we play dumb because we don't know really what “eh” is, but how to we shape “eh” into a more meaningful word sound for him, and do we try to get him to say something different than “eh.” Because he is saying such great word approximations, we believe in his ability to say something more than “eh” and think it is among the possibilities that he is taking the easy way out. We ask him to, “if you could just give me a different word for “eh” I'd know just what you want.” But then he goes “eh-eh.” We are confused on how to respond. Do we try to continue to get him to say a different word, or do we respond to ‘eh’ or “eh-eh” after a certain period of time with the object he wants.
Thanks a bunch! We send you all our love and miss you all dearly!
A: Hi guys!
It's great to hear from you. I noticed you have been using our new Son-Rise message board. We hope this is another way families such as yourselves (and everyone else out there) can communicate with and support each other. For those of you who haven’t seen this yet, make sure to check it out.
The way you can help Patrick with this is to assign one meaning to the “eh” sound. (for example, you could decide it means “eat”.) This way you give a particular meaning to the sound… and if he wants something else, he will see, over a period of time, that he has to use one of his other approximations to get it. So, every time he says “eh”, he gets offered eat first. Now he'll have a reason to say something else. One other thing: if it seems like he is exclusively saying the “eh” sound, then you would want to join in with him, as it’s a repetitious behavior and not a communication.