Apollo and I have been working together on direction following for a long time. Direction following used to trigger severe behaviors in Apollo – at times it still does; which makes this post very special for me to talk about.
About a week ago, Apollo asked if he could go outside and play. I told him he had to finish getting dressed, and put his shoes on, then we could go outside and play. Since I was in the middle of task, I told him he could pick a shirt out of his closet himself, or wait for me to help him. He responds better when I give him choices, and decided to go to his room and pick out a shirt himself. I expected him to return to me with a shirt, where I would then assist him in putting the shirt on, before starting the process of finding and putting on his shoes.
You guys, Apollo brought back to me the shirt he wanted to wear along with his shoes; meaning that he spontaneously stopped what he was doing, looked for the shoes he wanted to wear, picked the shoes up (along with the shirt he already picked out) and brought them all to me without any negative behaviors, distraction, or prompting. THIS IS HUGE! Not only was this the first time anything like this has happened, but the first time it has happened without triggering any negative behaviors.
I was stunned, I was proud, I was so many positive emotions in that moment. As I stood and grinned at Apollo in amazement, feeling SO proud of what he just accomplished, I looked down at the shirt he picked out to wear and noticed something… not only had Apollo completed the entire process, but he took the time to pick out a shirt that matched the shorts he was already wearing. You guys, it’s not like this child owns a bunch of superhero clothes; he maybe has 3 superhero shirts out of an entire closet full of shirts. You can see in the photo he had picked out a Batman shirt to wear with his superhero shorts (also including the Batman symbol). This may seem really simple for some, but for our family it is actually a really BIG DEAL. As I was holding back tears of joy, I was able to praise the heck out of Apollo, and made a really BIG DEAL out of what he had just accomplished.
As I sit down and think back to this moment, it brings a smile to my face, and warms my heart. I am so glad that I was able to capture a picture of Apollo to include in this post, because I think the pure joy on Apollo’s face captured the joy we were feeling in that moment.
Thank you for joining me, and sharing the joy as Apollo progresses!