My goal is not to make Pamela indistinguishable from her peers. I want Pamela to be Pamela. She would not be the same Pamela if she lost her gentle, yet quirky qualities. I want to be able to share with Pamela my experiences and find out about her experiences. I hope that she can learn to enjoy spontaneous exchanges and to be able to collaborate with others for she has so much to share. I pray that she can learn to be resilient and bounce back more quickly when life does not go exactly her way. I want her to be able to communicate non-verbally and pick up on the subtle ways that others do so. I hope we can open the door to friendship outside of the family (we are already her friends), to meaningful work, and to independence if that is even possible a long time down the road. Of course, she can chose not to go through these doors, but, at least, she will know how if she does choose!
Today's clip from the same great conversation reminds me of what attracted me to RDI. When I read the following paragraph describing the language used in Level I, I had an "aha!" moment because I was doing these very things with Pamela starting when she was about eight years old. We have been playing these language games, which we called "silly talk", for years!
Vocalization is used for the enhancement of excitement, the irect attention to our faces and to celebrate our simple successes. Ritualized song segments, often repeated "chants," set phrases and silly words are used for their relationship binding and enhancement elements. We often take phrases that the novice enjoys and repeat them, with slight changes in emphasis or rhythm and find that this significantly increases with their fun. We may pick up on stereotypical language, modify it and then ad it contextually to the activity we are setting up. (page 36)When Pamela was little, she would sit in my lap and we would go back and forth with her favorite stim phrases. I would slow down my pace or increase my pace. I would raise my voice right before I would insert the wrong word. Silly talk always meant lots of giggling and laughter. The most oddball thing we did was to stretch a jingle from TV to teach calendar skills. Pamela picked up a jingle and ran around the house singing, "It's Sunday." So, every day, we sang it for that day, "It's Thursday." When she mastered that, we practiced what day it was not, "It's NOT Tuesday." Next, we worked on today, tomorrow and yesterday: "Yesterday was Sunday!" Then, we extended it to months. It amazed me how far we stretched one silly jingle that Pamela loved!
In the following clip, notice how Pamela smiles and laughs when I say things wrong on purpose. Her enjoyment increases as keeping getting close to the right word (Super 8 Motel), but never quite right. Pamela learned to be playful in language because of all the silly talk we have been doing for years.