I got a small taste today of my boy's world. A small sampling of having so much to say, but being unable to get it out. Of a mind so full but no words.
You might not realize this, but the blog post you are reading right now may have been written weeks ago. That's how I operate. I keep a list of post ideas on my phone and pull off of it as I go. I post the most relevant things - the important happenings of our life - not long after they occur, but others I may have in the works for a while to come.
I've also written over 350 posts. That's a lot of typing.
I've been watching those commercials advertising a new dictation software package that is supposed to revolutionize life for the busy mom/student/writer. I was intrigued, but I also know my limitations. For example, I can read this post much faster than I can type it, but my words - my thoughts - flow more fluidly when I write than when I speak. I have read pieces by adult autistics where they describe a similar phenomenon in which they can write better than they can speak.
Still, the prospect of saving time and, perhaps, making a dent on that book I wish to write led me to covet the dictation program. One day, as I was browsing Apps on Jack's iPad, I saw that the dictation program I was looking at on TV had a free App for the iPad and iPhone. It was free, so I decided to give it a whirl. If it worked, it might revolutionize the way I blog. If it didn't, I wasn't out anything.
I sat down, iPad in hand, to dictate my first "spoken" blog piece. I hit "record" and nothing happened. Now, I should clarify, when I said that nothing happened, I mean that I sat there with my mouth all agape. I knew what I wanted to write about. I could see it in my mind. I could not speak the words to make it come out.
I hit "stop" and waited a minute. This is ridiculous, I thought. I can speak to other people! Why can't I dictate something out?
I gave it another go. I hit "record" and resembled Raj from The Big Bang Theory. I think I managed to get a few squeaks out, but no actual words - with the exception of a couple of obligatory curse words when I could not figure out why I could not put voice to my thoughts.
Several attempts later and I gave up. I couldn't do it. I simply couldn't do it. Not only could my well thought out post not come out in a coherent manner, I couldn't even get out a friggin' sentence! It was incredibly frustrating.
It got me to thinking, is this what Jack's life is like? When he sees something he wants, but he can't even get out a single word to tell someone what he wants, does he feel this same frustration?
I imagine that he does. I can see it when he parrots back a question and we offer him something - anything - trying to figure out what it is that he wanted, only to see him scream in frustration.
NO! I didn't want that! Why don't you understand?
That's just it. He can't get the words out, or when they come out, they don't make sense. He'll parrot back what he was asked instead of what he wanted. Like me, I'm sure he knew in his mind what he wanted, but putting voice to those thoughts was something else altogether. It makes you sympathize with the resultant meltdowns.
I put the dictation App away and I'm typing this post out as I usually would. I know that my ability to speak my thoughts is more limited than my ability to write or type. It also gives me hope. Could Jack one day find a voice on the page? Could he - as an adult - find his voice through writing in a way that spoken language might escape him?
We don't all communicate the same way, but that's okay, too. The important thing is to figure out how to best connect. How to get your thoughts out. It doesn't have to be verbally. I've found my way, through this blog. Through my writing. It is my wish that my boy might one day do the same, because I'm sure that he has much to tell the world.