+ Thomas has cerebral palsy. He can’t speak like I do. He communicates by the pace of his rocking back and forth, the occasional, excited “yeahhhhh,” and by blowing forcefully through his nose (it sounds like the way we used to disperse gnats back in Georgia when I was a kid).
He’s amazingly masterful at getting his point across though.
Yesterday I picked him up for lunch. We went through the usual routine of determing a place to eat:
I start with general types of food (yes or no questions), then move to more specifics. I ask the question, wait for him to respond in one of the aforementioned ways, then we continue the process until we feel like we’ve arrived at a conclusion we’re both happy with.
“Do you want Mexican food?” (slows down his rocking and looks away, nope)
“Do you want hamburgers?” (rocking speeds up, he looks at me, yes)
“Do you want fast food hamburgers?” (faster rocking, hands clasp, yes)
“Do you want Sonic? (faster rocking still, blows through his nose, he says “yeah”, big yes)
Of course, it wasn’t that direct. There were a lot of “No’s” as well before we got to the Sonic conclusion. We must have gone through six or seven different fast food burger joints. What’s the difference right? There’s like 50 places with burgers that are basically the same as Sonic.
But all the same, we went to Sonic.
Once we got there, we went through a similar procedure of figuring out what he wanted to eat. All the hamburgers were clearly a (no).
I thought you said you wanted a hamburger.
Alright then, what about chicken? (getting closer). So I followed that path for a while.
We ended up with popcorn chicken and chili cheese fries (both Sonic specific specials). I laugh. There’s no way in the world he could have gotten me to “popcorn chicken and chili cheese fries” back when we left his house. It’s a great meal, sure, it just isn’t something that would ever come to my mind when choosing.
He’s learned well that he’s got to tell us what we need to hear in order to get us where he wants us to go.