Sunday, January 16, 2011

I see your eyes

My white truck made a comfortable buzzing sound while we idled in front of a red stoplight. We were on our way to the playroom at school and my little friend, who sat in the back seat in his blue winter coat and grey hat covering half his eyes, pointed and excitingly shared with me all he saw along the way. We just got back into our routine after a couple of weeks of holidays and I was amazed by the changes my friend has made for himself in the last weeks.

He is a wolf
He is a car
He is blue
He is green
He is a bike
He is flying

You must know that my friend didn’t speak for a long time and that when he finally started to speak it became clear that his brain was not having an easy task with it. He would learn to say a word and use it, but then the word might suddenly disappear again from his vocabulary. It would happen that what came out of his mouth was clearly different then he wanted to say, which could make him visibly frustrated. Sometimes it seemed as if words were lined up in his head in a certain order that could not be changed. If you asked him a question while he already had some words lined up, those had to some out first before he could answer you...

This same boy now sat in the backseat, eager to share with me as much as possible of what he saw around him. The shop, the car, the walking man along the street, the green light, he shared it all. His sentences sounded like music to my ears. I finally got to see more of the person inside the little boy package. It was very exciting to see him open up.

And now my friend finally seemed to have totally embraced the idea of expressing himself, I finally learned some more about the language challenges he seems to have. So, in the last two weeks it became clear to me that he quickly is expanding the concepts he likes to share, but his sentence constructing skill is behind. So for example, he would like to share a sentence like “there is a car, here is a pencil, I see a man walking, the bird flies etc.”, but he says: "he is a car, he is a pencil, he is a man walking, he is flying etc."

It took me a bit to understand that one of his challenges is the use of action words. And while thinking about it, I realized that without action words it is really hard to express yourself. So, I decided that it was time to help him with that.

In our last session this week I focused on the action word “see”, knowing that he likes to share what he "sees". During our session I showed him how he could use “I see” in sentences like “I see a wolf, I see a car, I see a lion cub” and I created a couple games around it and we had a great time. At the end of the session, we put our coats back on, loaded ourselves back in the car and drove back home.

While my little friend quietly sat in the back I pointed out things I saw along the way: “ohh look, I see a green stop light. Yeah, we can ride again”. Our enjoyable ride came to an end in front of his house where I parked the car and walked around to help him get out.

Then, while I unlocked his seatbelt he said in his clear boys voice: “I see your eyes”.

“I see your eyes too” I responded while pushing away some tears I felt welling up.

My little friend is not so little anymore...

3 comments:

  1. So beautiful! It reminds me of my journey with my friend, Tybalt :) He is not so little anymore either...

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  2. Indeed, Iris; I don't know if there's anything I find more inspiring than seeing a person (child or adult, special or not) do something that was considered impossible up till then, either by themselves or by others. In fact, a friend remarked about this the other day. As parents, it's almost a cliche to tell our kids "you can do anything you set your mind to", but very often we don't apply that to ourselves. What better way to show our kids than by example, by breaking barriers ourselves?

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  3. Sree, your words make me remember a couple of the lines of the famous Marianne Williamson quote that Nelson Mandela used in his speech:

    Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
    Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
    It is our light that most frightens us.

    We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant?
    Actually, who are you not to be?
    You are a child of God.

    Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
    We are all meant to shine, as children do.
    We manifest the glory of God that is within us.

    And as we let our own light shine,
    we give other people permission to do the same.
    And by liberating ourselves from our fears,
    our presence liberates others.”

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