Charlie's progress has been snowballing in a few areas in the past few months. He is starting to classify objects as he tries to understand the world around him a bit more.
It started with the first division: things we eat, things we don't eat. He'll say things like, "This is my shoe. I do not eat it." Or he'll see something for the first time and ask, "Do we eat this?" Considering the kid used to eat not out of the cat's bowl but out of the cat's box, I consider this major improvement.
The next classification of items is shape. He has to identify the wheels on the hotwheels cars as circles and the car itself as a rectangle. Then he can play. Things without a clear shape distinction frustrate him. Usually shape and color go hand-in-hand. Once the shape is named, the colors are identified.
Now that he's got those distinctions down, he is working on classifying living things based on behavior. "That is a baby. Babies cry. Babies cannot talk. Babies wear diapers," was his response to a baby he saw recently. He's confused by toddlers, but I think most children are.
Yesterday he was talking about Schrodinger, saying "Shron-jer is a cat. Cats do not talk. Cats meow. Cats on TV talk." Dowlan asked him if the cats on TV really talk or if it's just for fun. Charlie said, "They talk for fun."
Still, his ability to communicate abstract concepts or iterate his needs are still rather frustrating for everyone involved. We have hit upon something that helps with this. As he gets increasingly wound up and agitated, we ask him, "Do you want to start over? We can start over and you can show me how to do it."
About half the time, he'll say, "Start over," and we back up to step one, letting him guide us towards whatever he needs. It usually has to do with a specific food or drink he wants, but it happened today as we were leaving church. He has a series of things he likes to do when we're leaving the church and one of them got skipped. After starting over and letting him fill his internal need for protocol, the rest of the day was great.
It's frustrating and time-consuming but so much better than the days when he screams and throws things, hurting us and him.