By Kodey Toney
Roll With It
I was sitting in my kitchen Sunday morning drinking a cup of coffee and reflecting on the training I had just gone to for the Oklahoma Family Network when I heard a noise in the computer room. Our computer room is just off of the kitchen/living room area, and this is where Konner is most of the time. Kruz and Jen were still in bed so I just sat there and listened to Konner talk to the computer. This may seem strange to some, but to me it’s awesome.
You see, as many have read before, we were told long ago that Konner wasn’t supposed to talk. I understand now that what the specialist was saying is that many children on the spectrum are non-verbal. However, when a parent is told that their child will never talk it scares you. You question how you’re going to communicate with your child. You wonder how life is going to be from this point on. I can tell you from friends who have non-verbal children that first and foremost it’s not the end of the world. It does make life more difficult, but you find ways to adapt and communicate. You see words are not the only form of communication.
We have been fortunate that Konner is very verbal, to the point that sometimes he’s loud, but that’s just fine…most of the time.
So, when I was sitting there listening to him talk to the computer about his Thomas trains I was happy. He was also not supposed to have an imagination, but his is very much alive and vivid. He talks about Percy, Henry, Bill and Ben, Gordon and all the other characters from the television show.
He is very good on the computer and plays a game called Roblox. This apparently has a way of developing your own characters and creating scenes from the show, which Konner does very well; to the point that others have come to his Roblox site to borrow his parts and ideas. He has created things on the Minecraft that my older nephews are amazed at sometimes.
I like the fact that he is talking to the computer. I know some would look at this as a strange problem. Maybe he has some other issues, but I see it as a way to increase social skills. Yes, I know it’s not the same as actual interaction with others, but if he can have a conversation with the characters on the screen, and he develops his own screens too, then he’s working on those skills.
I think anything that helps a child use their imagination, social skills, and increase their intelligence, especially in a technological world, it can’t be bad. I don’t want him on the computer all the time, and am as guilty as anyone at using this as a crutch to help me have a second or two of my own. Jen and I try to get him to use other means of entertainment, and he is outside a lot in the summer.
If you can find a niche that helps them explore any of these avenues I say just run with it. Everything in moderation, but find something that they like and use it to your advantage in helping them.