There are many times, even at this point that I really do not know if DC really understands certain things or if he is just going through the motions; the motions that were taught to him. There are other times that I am surprised to find that he really does understand, even if he is using one of his scripts to communicate it. It is not always easy to tell the difference. I don’t think it will ever be easy, but I do not think that using the telephone will ever be one of those things he completely understands.
I have worked long and hard over the years but DC still has a hard time using the telephone. To begin with, he just doesn’t like it, he doesn’t. When he was younger, he couldn’t even bear to have the receiver on or near his ear. He has always had a very low tolerance for anything having to do with his ears, so using the telephone or just listening to someone that wanted to say hello to him was just unbearable for him.
Secondly, as I stated above, I really do not think he understands it completely. If he dials incorrectly, he doesn’t understand that he should hang up and dial again, he just keeps dialing. I finally got him to the point where he could tolerate the phone on his ear. He has memorized our phone number, but as he doesn’t always understand the question “What is your phone number”, I don’t know if he would be able to give it to anyone if he needed to. He does know how to call me.
He is still not all that thrilled about using the telephone, though. If he does get a call, it has to be brief. When he’s had enough, he will say nothing and just hand me the phone. I have to tell the party on the other end (who is usually still talking to him, not knowing he’s passed off the call to me) that DC is done talking. Not very long ago when he was talking to his father, he handed me the phone when he decided he was finished, as usual. I handed it back to him and said “DC, you have to say good-bye to people on the phone when you are finished.”
He took the receiver back and said “Goodbye to the people”
He does have an iPhone now. He knows how to use it. He is very good at using iTunes and YouTube, but still the phone part of it is difficult. He is supposed to call me on my cell phone when his transportation arrives to pick him up from work; he does, but it is a script.
“Hi, DC. What are you doing?”
“I am going home Nowwww”
He says this the same way in the same tone, with the same emphasis on the “Ow” in “now” – every day.
“Did you have a good day?”
“Okay, call me when you get home”
When he gets home he is supposed to call me from the house phone because I want him to know how to DIAL my phone and memorize my cell number as well.
He does call just about everyday. There were and still are a few days that he forgets and I have to call him. Hearing the phone ring, must remind him he has forgotten to call me so instead of just answering the phone, he picks it up and dials my number while I am on the phone, and then goes though his “at home” script. If for some reason it is not me calling him, the person on the other end gets the script and then he hangs up.
“Hi, Mom I am home”
“Hi DC, is Mrs. H there?” (she has already texted me to let me know she is there)
“What are you going to do today?”
“Go to ____” (enter, Library, Track or whatever activity depending on what day of the week it is)
“That sounds like fun. Okay, I will see you in a little while”
“Okay, Goodbye Mom.”
He does not understand voicemail or answering machines, even though I let him listen to mine and try to explain what it is, I just can’t seem to come up with an explanation that he can understand. If he does leave a message on my phone, I don’t think he realizes he is leaving a message, he just goes through his script and hangs up, thinking I must not have a lot to say that day???
He will not use the phone spontaneously. This is something I really want him to understand. I want him to think to call me if something is wrong or if he happens to get lost or for any reason at all. I want it to occur to him if something goes wrong, that he should use his phone. I really am not sure that it would occur to him. I’ve gone over this many times, but as many times as he says he understands, I don’t think he does. He has never called anybody spontaneously, he has just about never asked to call anyone. After all this time, he still only uses the telephone when he is told to, to call me from his transportation and to call me when he gets home.
We’ll keep working on it….
A few days ago, I had to leave work early for a dental appointment and then a doctor appointment. The appointments went quickly, so I was home before his aide arrived to meet him after work. He called me from the car as usual. When he arrived home both his aide and I were there. I was talking to Mrs. H in the kitchen. DC came in, he said hello to me and Mrs. H and gave me a hug.
Mrs. H and I were still talking in the kitchen, while DC went into the living room, I thought to have his snack “alone” (he likes to be alone when he has his snack). My cell phone, which was charging right in front of the phone in the living room, started to ring and I said “I’ll bet he’s calling me”.
From the kitchen, I asked:
“DC, what are you doing?”
“Hi, Mom. I’m home” (from the living room talking into the phone, probably to my voicemail).
When he is doing what he was told to do, I try not to do anything to throw him off or make him forget to call me the next time, so I went with it.
“Is Mrs. H. there?”
“What are you going to do today?”
“Go to the Li-ber-ary”
“Okay, I’ll see you in a minute”
“Okay, Mom, see you later!” and he came back into the kitchen.
Yes, Rule – followed……
but there is still some work to do………………….