Sunday, June 08, 2008

Red Discovery Book

I have a cute story about Pamela that illustrates two things: how her challenges with word retrieval still crop up and how delayed delayed echolalia can be. Pamela comes running downstairs, ranting about her missing red discovery book.

She fusses and asks, "Where's my red discovery book?"

I ask back, "Do you mean the atlas?"

She answers, "No. Somebody stole it. Thief!" When her younger brother David misplaced things as a little boy, he would complain loudly about thieves stealing his stuff. Personally, I think he got it from Gollum when he lost his precious ring. Of course, David stopped saying that about TWO YEARS AGO!!!

I ask her, "Did you look in David's room?"

She says emphatically, "I searched everywhere!" More delayed echolalia. When David was on his thief rant TWO YEARS AGO, I would ask him about all the places where the lost (not stolen) item could be. He has the same gene as my father and my husband that prevents him from finding stuff right in front of his face. My mother had this saying, "If it had been a snake, you'd be dead right now!" I use that line often!

I began to wonder if the red discovery book could be our beat-up, very much used and abused Merriam-Webster Dictionary. First, I checked the homeschool room, then David's bookshelves, desk, and finally drawers. I found the dictionary and asked, "Is this your red discovery book?"

Bingo! She beamed! I did not explain to her that it was a dictionary. She knows that word and has known it for years. It was not at the tip of her tongue at that moment because of her aphasia. Besides, I like "red discovery book" better.

This was another opportunity to practice self-regulation. What is self-regulation? Well, self-regulation is when you are writing the third and final presentation due next week and you do not let loose colorful words out of your mouth after realizing that you deleted half of the second to write the third and saved it BEFORE you renamed it!

Clunk! (The sound of my jaw dropping.)

Our kids see everything we do and this was a great example of self-regulation modeled for them. David overheard me say, "Oh, no!" when I realized my stupid mistake.

"What?" he asked worriedly.

"You're not going to believe what I just did."

"What?" he asked again.

After I explained to him my dilemma, he knew what a monumental blunder I had just made and he started gasping for my sake.

Self-regulation is staying calm and dignified because you recognize that you still have the whole weekend to work . . . Relief flooding into your body when you remember that you already have all the wording in a handout that is still saved and ready for cutting and pasting. . . Perspiration ceasing when you take the print out of the last draft of the presentation of the trash can next to the desk.

Once I started breathing again, I told him very calmly and without four-letter words I might add, "Don't worry! I still have time plus I can copy the wording from my handout. And, I have a print out of all the slides right here!"


Yep, there really is a silver lining in every cloud . . .


Christine said...

I haven't posted a comment here in awhile but I have been reading and I wanted to say how wonderful it is to tune in and read about how you are implementing so many RDI principles in your everyday life. It is so helpful and motivating to read.

Good luck with the presentation!!!

momof3feistykids said...

Pamela must have a great memory.:-)

I have been struggling with self regulation a lot, in the midst of a heat wave. I am really trying hard NOT to snap at the kids and curse in front of them. *Sigh*

As always, I am loving the way you describe day-to-day therapy/RDI in action. You are a wonderful mom and a terrific writer.

poohder said...

Tammy, my dd has just now started looking for things that are lost.She did not have the ability to think about, where she might have used it last, to look under things, etc. She just froze and had no ability to take perspective. After modeling and modeling on how to look for things and to STAY CALM while looking, she is just now starting to find things on her own. YAY

Positively Autism said...

I love the name "Red Discovery Book!" As a book lover, I think it's beautiful. I may start using it with my students.

Nicole of

P.S. I love reading about your Charlotte Mason experiences! I'm so glad that there are others using this method for kids with Autism.

Betsy Brock said...

That is an absolutely amazing story!

Tina@ SendChocolateNow said...

I like Red Discovery Book, it sounds exotic.

Sadly, I am not always good at self-regulation. The kids stress me out and I lose it. Guess that's why my son does, too. Time for therapy for him, I think. As he gets older, he is having more trouble self-regulating. Mondays are especially hard, back to homeschooling.

Julee Huy said...

Well Tammy,

I'm using you as my text book, so I guess the lesson of the day is self regulation, I'll have to add it to my RDI definitions section!

We used to own one of those red discovery books when I was growing up. I'm pretty sure one of my parents stole it from their high school!

walking said...

To all the folks who blunder in the arena of self-regulation, I think we all have our moments we would like to erase from the videotape of our lives. . .

Poohder, David can finally look for things without getting mad and even laugh when I find something right in front of his face! Before, he would get mad and snotty. Yeah for your dd being able to find stuff calmly . . . I know adults who cannot do that yet . . .

Julee, I got mine from the used book sale at the library in St. Cloud . . . I try to get all of my books used so I can buy more!