Lately, we've been seeing more and more signs that Alex is more aware socially than he has been before. It's a good sign for his continuing development.
Yesterday, he tried to switch the calendar over to December. Unfortunately, the nail holding the calendar up is old and has a tendency to retreat back into the wall under the slightest pressure. So the whole calendar started to come down.
Alex immediately got upset and started trying to put it back up. We were busy with another situation and called to him to leave it, that we'd take care of it in a minute.
He continued to try and put it back up, getting increasingly frustrated. He tried until we came to help him.
A few years ago, he likely would have ditched the calendar as soon as it became a problem. Certainly once he was told that it was okay to walk away. Instead, this time, he seemed to have recognized that he'd caused a problem and was determined to fix it.
Now, this isn't definitive. This could also be an example of compulsive behaviour. The calendar should be at December and it's not, and Alex can't/won't rest until it shows the proper time of month. However, we've seen other incidents as well. Each can be explained individually in other ways but the fact that we are starting to see more suggests that maybe he is starting to be more aware of his interactions with other people. Possibly even grasping the idea of reputation, that others can have a particular view of him.
We won't know for sure for quite awhile. It's going to take a lot of skeptical observation to build up a case one way or another.
This is one of the real challenges I have. People like to be encouraging and seize on these kind of situations as potential breakthroughs. But I always have to err on the side of caution because if I assume he is capable of something which he is not (such as when we thought he was understanding more language than he actually was), then I set him up for failure and frustration. He needs to prove it, not just beyond a reasonable doubt but beyond a shadow of a doubt.