David's favorite color is red. This may seem like a trivial detail—something that every mother certainly would know about her own son. But, because David has struggled for so long to communicate, I can still remember the day that we learned this fact. We were working with someone from the UCSB Koegel Autism Center and she had some dot markers that David loved. We were all sitting around the kitchen table, each holding a couple of the markers. If David wanted a marker, he had to request it verbally. It didn't matter how close his verbalization was to the real pronunciation of the word, if he said something, he got the marker.
That day was very emotional for me, because I learned several things about David. He not only knew all of his colors, but had a separate and distinct name for each one. He always requested red first, it was the last to be put away and his pictures—predominately red. It seemed like an amazing revelation to us because David had been able to communicate something new, something we had not realized before. We had made a connection. He had a favorite color and it was red.
For a long time, David's word for red was "da." Who knows? Anyway, I made a new entry in my mental David dictionary, da translates to red. In the 16 months since that day, David's pronunciation of the word has improved, as has his ability to voice his opinions. When he strings together a sentence like, "I WANT red churt," guess what—he gets a red shirt. Consequently, David wears a red shirt almost every day. And almost every day as we are slipping it over his head I am thankful that he picked red—socially acceptable for a boy especially since we live in Nebraska, Husker Nation.
I sometimes worry how we are going to be able to break David of this habit, but for the time being it doesn't really seem like our most immediate problem, so I let it slide. But, what if at 35, he still has to wear a red shirt every day? What kind of job can he have without looking out of place in red every day, I mean every…single…day? Amazingly, I have been able to come up with two places that might consider his application—the Husker athletic department and Target Stores.
There was a story on the news last week that men who dress in red are perceived as more successful. Men who wear red are more attractive to women. Maybe David really had it figured out all along.