I've been trying to write this paragraph for the last ten minutes, but it's almost impossible to verbalize why the moment I'm about to tell you about was such a big deal.
Today, Stu's parents came to visit, and when they announced it was time for them to go home, Ryan requested, "Grandma and Grandpa can stay." When they said that no, they really did have to leave, Ryan said, calmly and earnestly, "Don't go."
Saying "Don't go" is the natural thing you expect a person to do if they want someone they love to stay. It's that normalcy, that expectedness, that is so very surprising in this case.
Ryan used words as a means of communicating what he wanted.
He used these words without prompting.
He used these words as his first approach - he didn't start by whining or crying or throwing himself on the floor.
He used appropriate words that were not (as far as I can tell) a script pulled from a book/tv show/video game.
He used appropriate intonation to express his emotion.
And the thing that he requested was social interaction - he wanted his grandparents to stay and play with him.
It was a thrilling moment, and I am not taking this for granted.