Morgan has been getting in touch with her emotions lately...sort of. I don't know if it's a coincidence, but for Christmas I bought Morgan a "Tag Jr.", a device that "reads" special books for her. It took her a while to get it, but when she did, she loved it! She requests her "Tag Guy" and her Tag books for her quiet time each day.
One of the books is called Monster Faces. It features the Sesame Street characters showing different emotions, angry, scared, happy, etc. Shortly after she had been reading this book she would sometimes tell me what she thought I was "feeling." Once evening at the dinner table she'd repeatedly thrown her fork on the floor. I gave a big sigh and said "oh Morgan." She looked at me and said "mad face." OK, I probably should have been ignoring her instead of giving her a mad look, but good for her for recognizing it! Autistic kids typically have trouble recognizing body language and facial expressions, so this is a step in the right direction.
She is also starting to recognize other people's/kid's emotions. When Piper cries she sometimes says "Piper sad." This is one of the first emotions she recognized, but she still doesn't react with any empathy...she'll acknowledge it, but it's not followed by any concern for the other person. Occasionally she's say "I'm sad" but it doesn't always make sense with what she's doing at the time. Hmmm.
At the same time she is starting to recognize her own emotions and signals her body is giving her. She's says "I'm OK" when she falls or has a bump (and there's no damage done). But she doesn't always take time to fully assess things, because sometimes "I'm OK" becomes "I'm Okaaaaaaay" then becomes high pitched and turns into a wail! We try not to laugh, but sometimes it's pretty amusing. Poor baby. She's also saying "I'm feeling done" when she's had enough to eat or "I'm feeling sick" if her tummy hurts. We've put that one to good use and been prepared for an eventual tossing of the cookies a time or two. Finally, she is understanding the concept of "like" and often says when she likes something such as a certain food, song or book.
She also is beginning to recognize emotions when we talk about them. I ask her if she's happy and she gives me a BIG smile! I'm working on adding some others to talk to her about.
It's so nice to have some real "functional communication" emerging. I hope it just gets better and better!