- Pointing - Draws my attention to whatever she is sharing with me.
- Nodding - Tells me I am getting what she is seeing.
- Shaking her head - Tells me I am on the wrong track in what she is seeing.
Before our walk to a nearby playground, I told Pamela we were going to do a project about house colors in our neighborhood. I needed help figuring out what colors to use. Then, she told me a bunch of colors, and I typed them into a spreadsheet. I printed out the tally sheet, and we left.
At each house, I stopped and looked down at my feet as if I had shut down. It took a bit for Pamela to realize she had to activate me. She poked me! Then, I looked at her face, waiting for her to take action. Again, it took a bit for her to realize she had to point to draw my attention to the house she was describing. Then, I overemphasized turning and looking at the house, and I turned back to her to tell her a color. Sometimes, I would say the right color so she could nod her head. Sometimes, I would say the wrong color so she could shake her head. Then, I recorded the data. Occasionally, I looked at a building, like a church, library, or office. I left it for her to decide whether or not to count them in our study--she shook her head.
That activity could become very static, so, on the way home, we expanded it dynamically. I heard a siren and exclaimed, "An airplane!" I looked at Pamela, and she shook her head. I went through several guesses before I got it right. I waited to see if she would direct my attention to something; if not, I would point out something else, either correctly or incorrectly, so she could give her observation by nods or head shakes.
Because RDI is about lifestyle and not activities, I am finding ways to incorporate it into our daily life. For example, she can get my attention in several ways: shoulder-touch, poke, move in front of me, etc. During the day, I found times to "shut down" so she would have to do something active to "reboot" me.
The language is not the only component of our plan to put Pamela in the driver's seat. Some of Pamela's passive nature might be due to sensory under-responsivity, which I will address tomorrow. By the way, the math lesson I wrote based on our walk is pictured below!