Earlier this week I watched my youngest nephew Elijah for a straight 24 hours. My sister and Josh were out of town for six days and so the boys got quality time with everyone else who adores them.

Elijah is 8 years old and he has a more severe case of autism than Noah. He is nonverbal and only just last summer became fully potty-trained. He is such a sweetheart and is so lovable but it's challenging to watch him because he has a special diet, can be particular about food, the color of his sippy cup and any number of things, but most of all -- he can't tell you out loud what he wants. I'm always a bit nervous to watch him for extended periods but it's also a great opportunity to love him and get to know him better.

Elijah has spent short amounts of time at my house, usually visiting with my sister. When he was a bit younger we would have to watch him constantly because he would want to climb over the banister of the second floor stairwell and balance precariously on the edge. He's such a monkey. He would also get into everything and get bored here quickly because my house isn't really so much or AT ALL kid-friendly.

But I decided to be brave and try having Elijah spend the night at my place this time. He was amazing! I couldn't believe how much more adaptable and easy he was compared to even just a year ago. He even was ok on his own for a bit while I took a shower in the morning.

This weekend, while my sister and Josh were gone, Elijah had a big breakthrough. This past year in school he was obsessed with turning the computer on and off. Then he started taking interest in watching this alphabet activity on a learning website called Starfall. Then he started pointing to where the cursor was supposed to go and once someone else guided it there, he would push the mouse to click on it. And this weekend, he started doing it all himself!! Wow. It's hard to express how exciting this is for those of us who love a precious little guy who is 8 and still doesn't speak. Every little tiny step is celebrated but this is a HUGE breakthrough that opens up the possibility of so much more!! I was excited to share this with you all after my post last week about Carly -- the 14 year old girl with severe autism who still can't speak but who communicates by typing on a computer.

Working a laptop mouse is no small feat for little hands. I had to keep helping him to only use one finger but he kept persevering even when the cursor didn't go where he wanted it to the first time.
One thing common to kids with autism is that they tend to like repetition and they sometimes fixate on one thing and do it over and over for long periods of time. In this case, that turns out to be a good thing. Elijah can sit for an hour at a time playing on Starfall. He's pretty into it:
What a little sweetness:
Thanks for celebrating this victory with me! Can't wait to see what the future holds!
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