Knowing what a nonverbal child (or adult) is thinking can be a real challenge. With my son I generally can guess what he is trying to tell or show me (it’s the usual: Batman, Superman, Mr. T, or reading the TV Guide with Matlock, NCIS or another favorite show). But some times even mom is challenged…
A while back we had an electronic device that plugged in to the computer and you could download information to special chips. (I think it was part of a reading program). We hadn’t used the device but thought we might one day so it floated around the house. It was a little bigger than my hand, green and had a cable. I didn’t think twice about it until one day when Matthew started carrying it around. He showed it to me and I responded that yes, it went to the computer. But I could tell that wasn’t what he was seeing.
The next time I saw Matthew with it he carried it outside and set it on the porch. Then he looked at the sky. It made no sense. I asked him what he was doing and of course his only response was to show me the device again. This went on for weeks. What in the world was he thinking? I had no good ideas and it seemed all my guesses were wrong. But one day it struck me. I realized I had seen that very thing and I had seen his actions…in a movie. It was Ghostbusters. And the device (to Matthew at least) looked like the ghost catcher from the movie. He was setting it down, stepping on the cord and pretending it was catching a ghost.
I laughed as I called Bob to tell him I had figured it out. Matthew was happy that I finally had. Now he could show company his treasure and mom could explain just what he was imagining.