Monday, August 17, 2009

Monitoring May Be Too Much of a Good Thing

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!


MasterpieceMom said...

Pooh notices when kids are without their parents at stores. He looks to me to make sure I think they're ok.

He used to take great care when his brother was little regarding elevators. He would hold onto him 'just in case' because he was afraid somebody would get on the elevator and it would close before we were all in. Now he doesn't worry so much about that.

poohder said...

It's such a blessing to see Pamela's development and that others are finding it wonderful too. Rhonda

Di said...

I love reading your blog - always full of interesting happenings.
I would like to share the following with you, although you don't have to approve it for your blog!
As you know Nick is non-verbal, however, we manage to communicate quite effectively.
Nick made up his own sign for farting! I don't know why he chose this sign or what he was thinking. All I know is that one day he farted, looked at me and then tapped his nose with two fingers. This is now a consistent sign :) The joys of living in a house full of boys!! I love the fact that he wants to communicate with us and he is so much more aware of his environment. Nick did a runner on me the other day. I took him to a large store to buy an ink cartridge. One minute he is with me........then he is gone! I found him in front of a huge TV, tapping on a mans arm, trying to reference him and pointing at the word 'play' on the TV. I just love my boy.