When I arrived at Joey’s house on Monday he was just waking up from a nap, and not too happy about it. We got him into his chair but he looked unimpressed as I presented him with our typical activities he normally enjoys. We started reading books, but he interrupted to tell me “mad like he.”
Mad like he.
I waited to see if anything was coming next. As I’ve written about before , sometimes Joey tells me a long string of words on his device and I can’t always tell how they are connected, or what story he is telling. This time though, he did not add any more words, but instead almost glared at me, waiting for my response. Mad like he.
Yes, he was mad. I could tell. I am not sure exactly what he meant by ‘like he’ but I’m pretty sure he meant it to convey just how mad he was. Not just mad. Mad like he. Mad like a character in a book? Someone in his memory? It didn’t really matter in this moment – I understood his message. He was less than pleased about our work.
Lately I’ve been surprised by Joey’s use of words with multiple meanings. When we are reading, if the book reads “the duck rode a little faster” Joey will spontaneously say little on his device. It takes me by surprise, because somehow in my mind, little on his device describes size or a concrete object. At least, that’s how I’ve introduced it to him. But he’s made the connection between size and a way to describe an intangible concept, like speed or time. I usually assume when Joey says like he means to tell me about something he likes, because that is the only way I’ve modeled it on his device. Yet Joey is always listening to those around him, and is constantly engaged with books read to him, so it makes sense that he would use like in its other meanings as well.
Although his mood did not improve much over the course of the session, he continued to use longer phrases to tell me what he wants.
“Need goat work.” We read a book about a goat, and Joey calls our activities together working, so I handed him the plastic goat and switched to that book. He was momentarily pleased, though obviously still disgruntled.
“Fire engine big where” he said later, and gazed around the room, apparently looking for his big fire engine. I usually have smaller fire engines, but I’ve used big to describe his personal one.
“brother hear goodbye” he cried, and I think he was asking for his brother who was home from spring break but playing outside. I *think* he was using hear for here, since the words sound the same to him.
Joey was mad like he for most of our session, which is very rare for him. Eventually we got him out of his chair and he cheered up. Although I hate to see Joey upset, and would never intentionally plan to upset him, I was thrilled with his use of language to tell me what he was thinking about. It was not long ago that I was laminating about trying to get Joey to use two word phrases (LINK to blog), and he was fighting me on this. Once I relaxed and stopped asking him to use the words I was giving him, he began using spontaneous, non-scripted phrases on his own. Occasionally he’ll even use the word want with me.