In the world of autism, you quickly learn not to expect big breakthroughs. You hope for slow and steady progress and occasionally an "aha" moment where something just clicks. David has been working with the same therapists for many, many months and, of course, they prompt him to greet them when he arrives and to say "goodbye" when it is time to leave. When he works with Amber, he consistently uses a sign when he says her name. It is not surprising because, for a time, David primarily used sign language to communicate with us and still uses some signs in conjunction with saying his approximation of the word. What was unusual, however, was using a sign for someone's name. It wasn't like he was finger-spelling the name, but more like he had made something up, something that looked vaguely like the sign for "more."
Recently, David has been interested in watching his Signing Time videos again, videos that he has not watched for months. I sat down with him after dinner to watch for a moment and all of the sudden it hit me. David wasn't signing "more" he was signing "number" to say goodbye to "Amber." Aha.