Philip has always loved music. In fact I think his first real words were to music. I would sing him, “Twinkle, twinkle, little ___” Philip would fill in “stah.” Throughout the years, even if we did not have conversation, we would enjoy this tag-team singing together, always filling in where the other left off, but not singing simultaneously. Eventually Philip could sing the whole song by himself. Philip’s helpers at church tell me often that he sings praise and worship songs very well. Once, a teacher at school asked if we listened to Kiss 98.5 in the car, which we often do. Apparently Philip was singing some of those songs at school.
When we saw Soma last October, Philip answered his first open ended questions. Really, it was the first time we ever knew what his desires were aside from what he wanted to eat or drink for a snack on a daily basis. It was during our very last session of our 4 day stay in Austin. I remember Soma leading the path of communication from something we could all answer to more and more only what Philip could answer. She began, “What color is your shirt?” At that time Philip was using three stencil boards which limited the number of letters that could be picked. Soma even made him pick which stencil to use. She ripped three pieces of paper onto which were written, “A-I,” “J-R,” and “S-Z.” Slowly the process began with Philip picking the paper of the stencil he needed and then pointing to the letter, then repeating the process for each letter one by one. “GREEN,” he finally spelled. Then Soma said, “I am thinking about Christmas. What color would you like to wear for Christmas?” Again, Philip went through the process and spelled, “RED.” Finally Soma asked, “Now I am thinking about a Christmas present. What present do you want for Christmas?” As Philip chose his stencil and picked his letter, we all sat at the edge of our seats. I never knew what to get Philip for presents for any occasion. Usually it was a toy that never got played with. Another year it was a pack of straws that Philip loved to use to stim. Now he slowly spelled, “R-A-D-I-O.” It made complete sense! I have always known Philip loved music. Tears were streaming down my face. I knew he was going to get lots of radios for Christmas. He did- 2 from each set of grandparents and 2 from us!
Recently, Philip has been into the Beatles. When we are in the car, he always asks for “music” and will say it out loud over and over if there is no music turned on. A couple of times Philip has had the opportunity to put a CD in and has picked the Beatles CD over and over again. Today Sam and I did a Beatles lesson for Philip. They actually had a short movie on them on Brain Pop. Philip was able to answer the names of some songs. He spelled out “HEY JUDE, PAPERBACK WRITER, LET IT BE.” When asked which one was his favorite, Philip, always being the diplomatic one, spelled, “ANY.” We asked Philip where the Beatles were from. Expecting England to be the answer, Philip went even further and spelled “LIVERPOOL ENGLAND.” He knew they were a band in the 1960s. He was able to name “JOHN LENNON” and “PAUL MCCARTNEY”, but needed help figuring out the other two. I gave him clues by showing my ring and saying the last name is something out in space. “RINGO STAR,” he produced. Then a king’s name who was the son of Harry was figured to be “GEORGE HARRISON.” At the end of the night, Philip chose “Strawberry Fields Forever” on Sam’s iPhone and we danced.
Philip wears red and gets one of his radios for Christmas in Albuquerque 2012