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February 2, 2011 / paperkids


Me:  “Hayden, do you want juice?”

I held up the YES / NO board to Hayden and moved it from side to side as his eyes looked all around.  Suddenly he just reached out and touched it somewhere in the middle.

Hayden:  “Yes”

I smiled at this conquest even though I know it’s been hit or miss.  Sometimes, I’ll fire off a string of questions.

Me:  “Did you have a good day at school?”

Hayden:  “Yes” (touching the YES)

Me:  “Is this a cup?” (holding up a cup)

Hayden:  “Yes”

Me:  “Is this a spoon?”  (holding up a plate)

Hayden:  “Yes”

Me:  “Hm. Naw, it’s a plate silly.   Are you a girl?”

Hayden:  “Yes”

Me:  “No, you’re a boy.”

I try to keep a smile on my face and the mood light.  I wouldn’t want him to feel my disappointment even though I do.  I try not to, but I always do.  I try to hand him some lettuce off my plate, knowing he won’t touch it.  He pushes my hand away.

Me:  “Do you want some lettuce?”

Hayden:  Reaching to the board.  “No”.

Me:  “Okay!!”   The natural manner of this makes me smile and makes me feel a twinge of hope.  This is the kind of thing that keeps me optimistic.  A yes or no question could give a lot of information after all.  Most of us don’t think about those small words as very big expressions, but they really can be helpful!

Before Emma started spelling out on the keyboard, I had been using this YES / NO board with her.   Strangely enough, even now she has a hard time with touching it, unless my hand is supporting her in some way.  I’ve been using  the board for a while now with Hayden, always trying to remember to be more consistent with it.   Now that Emma has started to communicate with me, I can’t help but to look at Hayden in a new light.  He has a pretty big vocabulary and can read around 50 + words, but getting him to naturally say the words – to express himself with words that he isn’t repeating – has been slow going.  For example, our conversation might go like this:

Hayden: “Juice! Juice!”

Me:  “Can you say it better?”

Hayden:  “Better”

Me:  “No, can you say, “I want – ” I trail off to try to get him to say it.

Hayden: ” – Juice!”

Me: “Yes, I know, but can you say….”.  I’m trying to figure out the best way to get him to say the sentence without too much verbal prompting but finally revert to my standard: “Say it better”

Hayden:  “I want juice, please”.

Me:  “Alright!!  That’s better!”  I hand him the juice.

I’ve come to realize that Hayden, just like Emma, understands everything we are saying.  I have to believe this because I don’t have any reason not to now.  The truth has set me free only to wonder and stress and try even harder to pull it out of him.  It feels almost impossible.

Then again, if I’ve learned anything from this whole breakthrough with Emma, it’s that ANYTHING is possible!!

It’s so hard not to panic.  I’m not sure if I’m doing any of this right!  What’s the best method of teaching them?  It seems to be one small step at a time and sometimes those steps go backwards.  I often think about Tito’s mom, Soma – about how she looked for opportunities to teach Tito things based on his interests and utilizing his strengths.  He liked shadows, so she helped him to write by tracing shadows on the concrete.  She took tiny steps day after day until a skill was learned.  It seems overwhelming when I step back and think of all that is before my children and all that they must overcome.  I don’t have all the answers, but I have a few.

Will they get there?  –

Will I be a good enough teacher?  –

Will everything be okay? –

Will I ever give up?  No

Will they ever give up?  No

I love how Hayden gives himself the “Yay” at the end.


Leave a Comment
  1. MSOTS / Feb 3 2011 12:19 am

    Oh, how I love that smile! Such a beautiful boy!

  2. Candy / Feb 3 2011 12:54 am

    Can I cry, now? That’s so awesome that Hayden knows a lot!! Maybe you can teach Brandon, too!!

  3. grandma / Feb 10 2011 3:30 am

    He is always so smiley and wants to please. Love our Hayden!

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