Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Siblings in My House:"two" and "too"

Photo: I guess two heads on a pillow was better than one. As you can see there is an abandoned pillow in the bottom right corner of the picture. This was taken in June, 2007 at my sister's house which is a 3.5 hour drive from where we live. My guys usually share sleeping accomodations when we travel.

"I want to go bye-bye too," my then eleven-month-old boy said as my husband and older son (then five and a half)prepared to walk out the door one evening a few years ago.

"Did he say what I think he said?" I asked.

"Yes," my husband replied.

"What do you think he said?"

"I want to go bye-bye too."

I counted the words on my hand. Seven, counting "bye-bye" as two words.

'Is that possible? My baby spoke a full sentence? Already?' I thought.

Well the word "too" quickly became a frequent word in my little son's vocabulary as he began to follow his big brother around. My husband and I learned to have two treats on hand when the older one asked for a snack. As "too" became part of my little guy's vocabulary, "two" became a regular part of ours.

It took a long time for my oldest to say "too" and "two". My eldest, who has autism, said a few words at eleven months, but did not speak a full sentence until he was nearly five years old. Unlike his little brother, he had trouble with pronouns like "I," "we," and "you." He referred to himself by his first name until he was about seven. Difficulty with pronouns is not uncommon for children on the spectrum.

Now that my boys are five and nine the words "too" and "two" ones that we are starting to have difficulty with again. No one in our house has trouble saying those words. It's the implementation I'm worried about.

My oldest has already to switch schools a lot three times to go where his age-appropriate special education teachers were located. My little guy used to be sure that he'd get to go to Roshbush elementary and ride the bus (for special ed students) too--just like his older brother. But no, he'll start at the school around the corner at Vowles in a regular education class with other neurotypical kids.

My little one doesn't really grasp the notion that my eldest is part of a special education classroom (for part of the day.) He'll also learn soon that he won't ever get to be a part of Special Olympics "too" as my older son is, although he already laments that he can't ride horses with the his brother in the Proud Equestrian Program. The summer arts and music camp for kids with high functioning autism and Asperger's Syndrome also looks tempting. The five year old wants to go "too." The rumor is that the camp will allow siblings in some day. We'll see.

I'm starting to get my youngest son enrolled in activities of his own. He has been in swimming and music classes. I am hoping to enroll them both in swimming together in the same class soon. However, I'll still have to face the challenge of finding activities that both boys can do both separately and together.

My guys are great playmates now. I hope the two remain great buddies and that "too" will always be a part of their vocabulary. Hopefully, my oldest son's special needs will not split them apart. My youngest has a few friends and is already getting invited to birthday parties and play dates. My oldest has friends as well, but most of them are on the spectrum like him. That is OK with us, but we also have the goal of ensuring that our eldest is included in general society too.


Maddy said...

I'm finally catching up [I hope!] Nip on over and collect your award [Less than three award] when you have a free nano second.

[That would perhaps be sometime in the next few months if you're anything like me?]

Best wishes

Melissa said...

What an absolutely adorable picture! It really is great to see siblings morph into playmates as time passes, heartwarming.

J said...

Thanks. I kind of like the picture too, but I'm a bit biased...

Elissa - Managing Autism said...

I'm hoping that "too" will stay with our two as well.

And it's interesting about the pronoun thing - for a very long time J also refered to himself by his first name! (People used to comment on it often!)

Jane said...

I also love the picture. Your story is so similar to mine. The 'too' and 'two' are definitely part of our household. Our Asperger Syndrome son and 'normal' daughter have always done everything together from hockey to ballet, jazz and tap, both from choice and because we have always encouraged togetherness as a family.

I hope siblings are included in the camp as it does help everyone to better understand the problems and the fact that 'they are not the only ones like this'.

J said...

To Elissa: Yes, we'll always have hope. The pronoun thing may make for a good future post. It's pretty common amongst those with ASD--or so I have read.

To Jane: Thanks for sharing your story. It's great that your two children have done so many things togheter.