I know, Dora the Explorer? Am I really going to blog about Dora the Explorer, that annoying little Nick Jr. gal with the nasal voice, who asks way too many questions, has a much bigger head than all the other characters, and has a best friend as a monkey? As a matter of fact, I am.
Lately, Casey has taken a real shine to Nick Jr., formerly the Noggin channel (don't even get him started on the name change, that's a whole other entry). He actually sits and watches and pays attention to the shows they have on, despite the fact that they are made for preschoolers.
Dora, being one of those shows, was one that he has watched on and off over the years. But lately, I've noted a whole new awareness on his part as to what Dora is really all about. It's a very participatory children's program, with Dora and the other characters stating facts and then asking about them later, requiring the viewer to, in each episode, remember what landmarks Dora has to go to in her adventures, where items are on the screen, etc.
I have caught him several times answering Dora's questions, and doing so correctly, or I'll here him go "There it is!". Casey's participating! He's making conversation, albeit seemingly one sided (not in his head I'm guessin'). He's thinking, he using his rationalization skills, comprehension skills.... all the cool stuff! Heck, he's even pointing at things on the screen from time to time. I would have given my left arm to see that oh so many years ago when he was supposed to be pointing!
Would I've liked to have seen such participation eight years ago, when he was just a little tot, and it was more socially appropriate for him to be watching and reacting to Dora? Of course! But, as anyone who has a kid in their life with Autism knows, milestones form a completely uneven path in our world, but they come, scattered here and there.
And personally, I am proud to be there whenever he gets to one of those milestones, no matter how long they take or however far apart they are!