We spent many hours in the car on Saturday, and I was able to take three terrific shots that spotlight some interesting things about Pamela's development. Pamela took sign language homeschool co-operative classes for about three years (ages 9-11 and age 14). She struggled with the same issues in sign language that she struggled with autism: problems reading and using facial expressions, word order and syntax, and intricate details in gestures. Now that she is more adept in nonverbal communication, Pamela is starting to recall her favorite signs and is becoming creative! A few weeks ago, she invented her own sign for "old woman": instead of signing woman and then old. She made the wrinkled face pictured on the left and signed "woman"! Pretty clever, huh?
One thing that struck me about Pamela on this trip was how well she connected to her brother and her cousin. She always looked the person in the face, turning her face to them, whenever they were talking. At one point, she played a game with them. Jose whispered something to Pamela, and then she whispered something to David. Then, David whispered to Pamela and she turned around and whispered to Jose. She enjoyed playing these silly games with her brother and cousin.
Two years ago, Jose's younger brother Antonio stayed with us for about two weeks when Pamela was only six months into our RDI journey. She was not able to interact with him in the rich manner she interacts now. Jose told me that this is the first time he has ever been able to make connections with her. He finds it novel interacting with her like this for the first time in twenty years, so he plays along well: he knows that she likes to "cure" people with her magic finger, so he coughs and she zaps him and says, "Hocus pocus!" Jose has already figured out her favorite songs and tries to encourage Pamela to sing along with him. Sometimes, she joins him and, at other times, she makes a raspberry. He gets a kick out of her desire to interact, and he will say, "Pamela, give me five" or "Pamela, can I see the old woman face?"
Today, Jose and I howled with laughter at something Pamela did at the Post Office. We were standing in line, and this little girl touched the fan. Not only did Pamela monitor what the four-year-old did, but she also scolded her in a gentle but serious tone, "Don't touch it . . . you be in big trouble . . . you're a naughty girl!" A year ago, Pamela would have been oblivious. Today, she noticed the action, she realized it could be harmful, and she took an appropriate step (appropriate being based on her level of social development, not her age).
Fortunately, the grandmother of the little girl took it well and the girl looked up at Pamela with wide eyes, unsure of what to do. I thank God the little one did not cry or get flustered!