Monday, July 2, 2012

Cause for Complaint

Let me set the scene for you. David had just finished bathing, which we are trying to get him do more independently, when Michael started prompting him that it was time to get out of the tub.

Unfortunately, there is a Costco-sized bottle of Pantene shampoo, which sits on the ledge of the tub. Why don't you move it? You think I can't hear you, but I know that is what some of you are asking and the answer is now that David has laid eyes on it, he will step out of the bathtub, all soapy and naked, and go searching for it until he finds it. So, short of keeping it in, say, my car trunk--which is not totally handy--I just let him have it.

And let me tell you that the mere sight of that jug of shampoo can make David's eyes light up like he is heading toward the shrimp cocktail table at the all-you-can-eat casino buffet. (Oh wait, David doesn't like shrimp or any fish or really any kind of protein, for that matter, but you get the picture.)

So, Michael had told David it was time to get out of the tub when he noticed the half a bottle of shampoo that had been rubbed into a bubbly halo on David's head.

And then the unforgiveable happened. From what I can piece together from witness accounts, Michael made the mistake of rinsing the shampoo out of David's hair with a plastic cup.

You see, the much preferred shampoo removal method is to adjust the water until it reaches just the right temperature, and then David will run his head back and forth under the faucet like a car going through the car wash at his beloved Russell Speeder's.

I could hear David's objections from the next room.

"Don't EVER do that again. I HATE you doing that."

For a long time, I had wondered if I would ever hear the sound of David's voice. For an equally long time, we have worked with David to find appropriate ways to express his frustration.

Michael had been scolded and we were both beaming. David had uttered ten words--two complete sentences and I couldn't help but marvel at such a beautifully executed complaint.


  1. I know full-grown, non-autistic adults who can't manage to communicate their displeasure so clearly.