Definitely one of the best moments yet...
Until the end of this month, I'm teaching a self-contained class of teens with MR, Autism, CP, OCD, xyz, abc (oh wait, those last two are a JOKE!). Only one kid speaks at all and he's proof if you needed it, that speech and cognitive function are separate animals. C. talks away, often quietly nagging himself. This kind of scripted self-talk is common for people with autism, and it's comforting and soothing as far as I can tell, at least in C.'s case.
We're finally reaching a moderate level of independence in the bathroom and no longer have to hover next to him, waiting to catch shoes and soiled diaper as he enthusiastically pulls them off and flings them in the general vicinity of where they ought to be. This exercise was of course much more entertaining with C because he smiles his insanely happy smile (he has an ocular condition which causes his eyes to wander and waver almost aimlessly and to me he looks like a Siamese cat with one crossed eye)and holds one finger in the air as if to correct a wayward child. "C. I tol' you an' I tol' you! Do NOT hit children on the BUS!!" (His modulation is irregular, as is true of many of our students, so in one sentence some of the words are almost inaudible and some are yelled at max volume. He also has trouble fully enunciating some words and sounds because his mouth musculature isn't well developed.) "We'll go to the FUN STORE when Daddy gets home...put your HAND on the railING, C." etc., etc.
What's great is that this young man has a developed sense of humor and enjoys being able to get people to laugh. Sometimes this means he'll repeat actions that earned a snicker or a smiling comment (I've often told him, "C. stop being such a fun kid!" or words to that effect). He also has a sunny dispostion and looks on all strangers as potential friends. We're forever trailing after him into random offices when walking through the building in which our school is housed and on field trips we generally assign a 'shadow' staffer because he's forever lunging off to greet strangers in stores or other places. Of course I want him to interact with others, but he often does this while we're trying to leave to return to school or similar times and once he's started talking, people seem compelled to smile back and keep trying to understand what he's saying.
It's also funny to hear him parrot back things that he's apparently been coached to say over the years. For instance, it's a common SLP goal that students will learn to use appropriate greetings. To hear him clearly and painstakingly work his way through, "I...am...fine" sounding a lot like an assistive communication device is to hear the pointlessness of many such goals...after all, his enthusiastic and smiling "GOOD MORNING!!!" throughout the day says it all, at least in my humble opinion. And like many others with autism, making choices in response to questions is very hard for him. If I ask him to tell me 'yes' or 'no' (do you like pizza, C? Yes or no?) he'll often repeat, "Yes or no" but if he really knows how he feels and wants to communicate that feeling he is able to blurt out, "Say 'yes'!"
Anyway, he's definitely learned how to make me laugh. We went to Target the other day and ate in the food court area. I'm sorry but if my hungry SpEdster teens won't eat it, it's bad food plain and simple. And they did not want the chicken tenders. In a cooking class once, we made nachos and C. didn't like it at all. I said to him, "C. it's okay if you don't like it, do you think it's terrible food?" and right on cue he said, "Say yes!" with a sad frown on his face. This week at Target was sort of the same. He clearly didn't like the chicken since this guy is a big eater and he wasn't touching it. I got him some of the barbecue dipping sauce and helped him open it and he poured it on and tasted it...and then held his mouth open, looking unhappy. I asked him, "C. is the chicken even worse with the sauce on it?" And he looked up at me, with his crossed eyes, pointing at his tongue and said, "Say YES!!!" then jumped out of his seat, picking up the paper plate loaded with the chicken and sauce and skipped (seriously, he SKIPPED) over to the trash can and shoved it in as best he could. Every one of us plus the folks around us (want to have an audience? eat out with highly challenged SpEd teens!) all burst into laughter too. He clapped his hands together, making his version of the 'finished' ASL sign and went back to his seat.
Honestly, other than working on his enunciation, I don't see why he needs speech goals at all. The guy is a master of communication, from what I've seen!