Attempting to get some conversation going with Clay on the keyboard he uses to communicate, she typed: “The house is quiet without your brother here.”
We had dropped Clay’s older brother back at college that afternoon after a five-week winter break.
“So true,” Clay typed back. “We are sad that he is back at school. Sorry that he is not here.”
It seemed like it would end there, but it didn’t. As with many things, it is hard to read Clay on his relationship with his brother, who is five years older. They seem to mostly connect through roughhousing. They will roll around together on the floor, both of them laughing. Often, Clay will run at his brother full speed, leading with his head in a manner that would get him suspended in the NFL. His brother blocks the move by squeezing Clay’s head between his hands, which of course is exactly the kind of “deep pressure” stimulation the little guy is looking for.
Clay’s brother is also a good mimic. He imitates phrases and noises Clay blurts out, usually eliciting a smile from his little brother.
It can be hard to relate to a brother who doesn’t talk or participate in any of the kinds of activities other siblings might. They’ve worked it out as best they can, though, so it probably shouldn’t be surprising that Clay became agitated after the exchange with his Mom. We could hear him upstairs, rolling on the floor, raging about something. My wife went back in with the keyboard.
“Because your brother is at school?”
So, my wife decided to send a message from Clay to his brother. She texted him.
“Message from Clay: We are sad that you are back at school. Sorry that you are not here.”
Moments later, her phone beeped with a reply.
“Message for Clay: I’ll be back before you know it.”
She read Clay the message, and the agitation ended.
Not wanting to lose momentum, my wife typed to Clay on his keyboard, “Maybe you can email each other to stay in touch?”
“A good idea,” he typed back.
Another connection established.