Memo Box

In the dark ages of communication devices, before everyone and their monkey had a cell phone that can julienne potatoes for fries, existed a little fob aptly named “Personal Recorder”.

The portable design attached to any lanyard or key ring. It was small, simple and perfect for facilitating early communication with my autistic son.

How clever we were! Record three or so phrases that could be accessed by our son on his personal recording device, he could then play the recording of his choosing, we would now understand what he wanted with WORDS (albeit recorded, but they were words) and in turn, we would immediately execute his request.

Day 1 starting with these phrases:

Can I have a drink of water?
I love you.
Take me to McDonalds.


Can I have a drink of water? ​2 requests
I love you. 1 request (thumb on the wrong button trying to find the McDonalds)
Take me to McDonalds. – 13 trips to the drive thru over the course of 5 hours

Day 1 ending with these phrases:

I prefer juice
I love you Mom & Dad
I hate McDonalds.

No words, but yet, our son proved beyond any shadow of doubt, he possessed the holy grail of all skills – the ability to manipulate his parents. After his afternoon nap, he was ready to get back to the van to go to the mighty, mighty McDonalds. So, when he looked us in the eyes, getting the recorder ready and pointed to shoot.

Imagine how utterly thrilling it was to watch our boys face break from a little confused, to full understanding concluding with an eruption of joyful laughter! He absolutely understood why we changed the messages, understood the humor and just glowed with delight.

That was one of the first days that started the string of better days to come….. ~ Wendy Frye


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