After lunch today, Peter’s tutor asked him, “Do you want to work next, or brush teeth?” Peter answered, “Watch TV!” To most, this reply sounds problematic, but to us, it’s a milestone. As a tot, Peter was nonverbal, passive, and made almost no initiations. He only started making clear choices after learning PECS at 6 years old. He answered “yes” and “no” meaningfully only a couple of years ago. So for him to not only make a choice, but come up with a genuine original choice of his own and have the language to verbally express it without prompts or aides of any kind is a genuine triumph!
By the way, you might wonder how we dealt with situation. The tutor had two goals. One was to reinforce his language. The other was to teach him how to negotiate when he doesn’t want to cooperate. So she smiled and nodded with understanding, “Oh, so you want to watch TV?” Then she said, “First three minutes of TV, then work. Ok?” Peter replied, “Ok.” She set the timer for three minutes. When the timer went off, another child in the know turned off the TV. Peter got up and went to the workroom by himself.