Sunday, October 04, 2009

He said "Yellow"

After two weeks of school in a total communication (TC) classroom where the teachers use signed exact english and speak concurrently, Burke has learned his colors and the beginning of his ABC's. Everyday he asks to go to school, even on Sundays and then signs "crying" after I say "no school today".  Regardless of the day (school or no school) we sit together at lunchtime and do a review of what Burke is learning. Usually this involves him quizzing me on my colors in sign. So the other day, this is how it went: I bring out two or three different colored bowls and ask him which colored bowl he wants. Burke then points to each and tells me what color it is, then gives himself a choice of which bowl he wants (and usually chooses blue). The other day, he chose yellow and instead of doing the sign (think of a hang loose sign) he looks up at me with those big blue eyes of his and promptly says "ye-yo" for yellow...aaaahhh...that was a huge amazing step for Burke to spontaneously articulate a difficult word and do it without me prompting him over and over...I think I applauded him for at least a minute (he liked that part!)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Bug is Dead & Don't Stir Your Poop

Today Burke learned two very important"life" concepts so naturally I was inspired and decided it was a good day to start blogging again. I can't say that I'll always be faithful to blog everything or even have interesting, funny or smart ideas but I can promise that what I have to say is real, no fluff... that's my policy...

So this is how it happened...Burke has been fascinated with bugs. He knows the sign for bug, he watches a PBS movie about bugs and he will sit and watch bugs crawl around for a long's a really nice distraction actually and I always feel better when Burke is sitting down. So there was this "bug" today who found himself in the living room at the Little People House. Burke loved that bug was in the house and I think he was pretending to put him to sleep (all living creatures take naps with the exception of Burke). Before too long, Burke came to get me out of the kitchen and he was saying "nigh night bug" and wanted to show me...upon my arrival to the Little People House, I discovered that bug was laying very quietly belly up in the's true, bug was a goner. Upon further investigation, I discovered that bug had been violently run over multiple times by Doc Hudson "the hornet". Poor bug. Burke continued to say "up up" (which means wake up) and sign was then that I realized we were about to have the "death" conversation and I sickly got really excited. This was so profound, I thought to myself! My 3 yr old special needs child with almost no language was about to learn this way way earlier than I'd ever imagined...I figured he'd be at least 5 yrs old before his language and cognition was mature enough to grasp the obscure "death is not sleeping" concept. So this is what I said, "Burke, the bug is dead"...just like that! He looked up at me and said "up up" and I said "no, the bug is dead", he's dead. In a hurry, I grabbed my trusty new best friend (the sign dictionary), found the sign for "dead" and restated myself while signing concurrently. To drive the point home, Burke and I buried "bug" (who at this point was slowly moving a few of his limbs...uh oh, don't ruin this teaching moment please!) in the dirt outside the sliding glass doors. To memorialize his passing, we gave bug a small grave marker to help us remember his untimely death. Over and over Burke has been passing by the sliding glass door and peering out and signing bug sleeping, bug wake up? Then, the BEST thing happened, he signed "crying" and made a pout face with the stuck out lower lip (so cute) like he was sad...another profound milestone! If you have deaf children or even child with delayed communication for other reasons, you can understand how crazy exciting this is!! An appropriate feeling associated with an event in the right context and communicated correctly is an incredible feat and we parents wait anxiously for these moments and this is why we keep going...this is the fuel that keeps my engine burning and inspires me to blog, etc, little Burke understands an abstract concept and adds a feeling to! for the stirring poop part you've all been waiting for... At nap time we usually sit on the little boy potty and read a book. Today we read "Plop" which has cute illustrations of a bunny learning to use the potty. Burke loves this book! Today he noticed an illustration of the bunny stirring his potty with a wooden spoon. Hmmm...I wonder why we read this book?! Anyway, he's cracking up giggling and pointing at the bunny stirring the potty and I can just see his brain going a hundred miles per hour...I know he wants to stir his potty too! So I emphatically state "NO, you can NOT stir your POOP"! I repeat myself and over because this is how you teach a deaf child to listen and talk and understand, you must keep it simple and enunciate the words you want them to really pay attention to. Mind you, I only know a handful of signs and so am desperately trying to portrait that this is NOT how we go potty...I think he got the point because he didn't ask for a spoon and promptly laid down in his bed and pooped his pants 20 minutes later (which is the normal routine right now). Later my husband came up to me and said how funny it sounded to hear the words "no you can't stir your poop" coming from the closed bedroom door...thank God it was only a story!!