Teach and ye shall learn

February 1, 2008 at 4:31 am 4 comments

     I am stunned at how much we take the way we learn things for granted. We (with the aid of many wonderful physical, speech, occupational and feeding therapists along the way) have taught C how to do everything from walk to talk to eat. It’s always physical things as opposed to mental things that are a struggle for him. He can’t button his shirt yet, but he learned all the Presidents, their Vice Presidents, the number President they were, and where they were born (which once resulted in a small argument with a doctor who insisted to C that Abraham Lincoln was born in Illinois – WRONG – and I sent a copy of the flashcard with the correct state of Kentucky to said doctor – DON’T YOU ARGUE WITH MY KID! – which I’m sure he appreciated!) in the span of about two weeks when he was 4.

     That being said, I’m simply fascinated at the process of learning for these children with autism. Blowing his nose becomes a highly skilled activity for C in which the task is broken down into the tiniest of pieces. He has to learn how to take the kleenex out of the box, fold it correctly, hold it with both hands, find his nose on his face with both hands, place the kleenex in the right place over his nose, apply the right amount of pressure with his fingertips, blow, wipe, fold the kleenex after blowing, and finally throw it away. He is finally starting to do this task by himself after years of work.

     So when a teacher commented last year that I shouldn’t help him blow his nose, I reminded myself that I’m doing a very good job of finding the balance between letting C just be a kid and spending too much of his time in therapeutic interventions with the goal of teaching him these skills. It’s important that our children have time to play, hang out, and just be the silly little creatures they are – there’s always tomorrow to learn how to tie one’s shoes.

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Entry filed under: autism. Tags: , , , , .

The road less traveled In the same vein

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. t  |  February 1, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    tying shoes is highly overrated. j has a hard time with it and she seems to be ok.

    You are bad, bad, bad! But I’ll agree, J does seem to be ok. And in case anyone thinks I’m saying something horrible about a child, “J” is my recently turned 39 year old sis-in-law!

    Reply
  • 2. hfamom  |  February 1, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    C’s progress is your report card! You are doing a GREAT job!!

    We find that scheduling playtime helps make worktime more productive… these little guys are kids and they need to be kids. (Besides, it’s not the end of the world if there’s a little snot on the tip of his nose. :))

    They DO need to be kids, and sometimes I think people forget that. I wanted to scream at that teacher because he was so critical of our parenting – thought that C didn’t need therapy but rather us to stop “babying” him. He took the “Montessori Way” a little too far, in my opinion.

    Reply
  • 3. awalkabout  |  February 4, 2008 at 1:13 am

    Little Miss can find at least 20 countries on the world map, stuff I don’t even know where it is. But she can’t read a second grade book. *shrug* Interesting what kinds of things they turn out to know…

    It is interesting, and it gives me hope for our kids. I think their brains work in such amazing ways and I know that someday the rest of us mere mortals will understand it.

    Reply
  • 4. Jesch  |  February 7, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    Hey, I’m 38!

    Reply

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