At age 11, Faith still does not have speech. Her autism is fairly serious and it is something we have come to accept. Whatever is on her mind, what she knows and what she doesn't, is pretty much locked away in that head of hers. Occasionally, she lets us have a privileged look at what she is thinking and what she is capable of.
Her Special School teachers shared something startling with us when they did their home visit. One Friday, in March, Faith kept shoving the card for the number 16 to her teachers. They couldn't figure out why at first. But she kept giving them the number 16.
Then the teachers got it and asked, "Today is your birthday, ah? Happy birthday, Faith!"
Turns out that day WAS the 16th of March, it WAS her birthday, and once the teachers said that, Faith stopped pushing the number forward.
That totally blew my mind. We never knew she understood the concept of a birthday, much less the concept of date and time.
Another time, the teachers got a cryptic number 3 from Faith, on the 2nd of March, Friday. They kept guessing until they realised and asked, "Your grandma coming home from India on the 3rd ah?" and then she stopped.
The 3rd of March, Saturday, was the day my mother was to return from her India holiday. Faith knew that fact and that date. And was obviously looking forward to it.
One of the ways she "converses" with us is pointing. She would grab my finger (or the finger of people close to her) and point it at something, waiting for us to say what it is. "Floor" and "window" gets pointed at a lot.
Recently, the wife sent me this text message:
After making her mother point at all the clocks in the home, and making her mother say "clock", Faith tried to say it herself.
I got a taste of this last night too.
Faith took my finger and pointed it at the ceiling lamp.
Me: "Light, Faith."
Me: "Right, Faith. Light."
Inside, I did a little dance.