Better Late Then Never….from December
When speech opens up his world.
Our new family tradition is to go to the European style Christmas Market in the historic neighbourhood downtown. It’s a beautiful experience with the smell of roasting German sausages, veal schnitzel, pretzels, hot apple cider, maple taffy, poutine, and chilli. Bonfires are strategically placed so everyone can survive the sub-zero temperatures. A huge Christmas tree is the centre piece with a”twinkle light” display cascading down from above. We knew that Johnny loves coming and exploring the passage ways of this old Empire whisky making complex of cobble stone paths but on this night we didn’t know we were going to get a glimpse of Johnny’s memories.
When Johnny was three, the Christmas Market made its first appearance in the city and we heard that they were going to be doing a special lantern parade with children who pre-register. We did not have our diagnosis of Autism yet but we were constantly on the look out for fun, socially engaging activites to place Johnny in. He loves Christmas, Christmas lights, gets to carry a light so it sounded like a win win scenario to us. So we registered the family and we all got to wear this silly elf hat, get a LED lantern and then sing Christmas Carols and wander around the market in a parade. At the end Johnny got to go up on the stage with all the children and pose for a group picture. I was with Johnny hiding behind him on stage whispering in his ear so he would know what to do. When I think back remembering all the flashes of the digital cameras going off with the sounds of all the excited parents snapping pictures I can’t believe how well he did.
Well as we wandered through the Christmas Market on this evening Johnnny led the way and wandered through but seemed to be eager to show us stuff.
He pointed to the market stage and stuttered, “I I I I was up there….”
Yes you were sweetie. What did you do up there?
Johnny sat in a chair next to the big Christmas tree looking at the stage and with a contemplative look on his face. We just let him sit for awhile as he sat and took it all in and we figured he was remembering what happened and what was diffrent now.
He then took us in another direction and was very emphatic about where he wanted to go. He took us directly to where the organaizers gave out the lanterns and the hats and showed us where to line up. He had a big smile on face even thought he saw that everything looked diffeent and that there was no parade today. Then Johnny took us in another completely different direction and we ended up at this artisan chocolate store where they make this delicious Mexican style hot chocolate that we get every time we are here.
“I want hot chocolate too.”
That night we learned that communication brings awareness for us of things that were important to him as far back as 2 years ago.