Saturday, 6 April 2013
I know that Jessica understands what we say to her, and I know that she wants to respond appropriately. And on days when everything comes together, she can show me that is the case. But in order to reassure myself that I’m not imagining it, and also to feel a “connection” with Jessica, I find myself constantly testing her.
But I worry that it may be very tiresome for her. I know that I wouldn’t want someone constantly asking me “which one is red?”, “where is the number 2?”, “can you find the pig?” etc. etc. etc. Add to that the fact that we really have no idea what her cognitive level is; she may be thinking “oh no, not again, I’ve been able to do my colours for years, you just haven’t realised it before now!” I feel a bit like I imagine a teacher would, who has been asked to write a series of exam papers but doesn’t know the age of the pupils, or what the subject is that they have been studying!
So I was really happy when Jessica “asked” to show me all the animals in her favourite book. I was trying to get her to choose her bedtime story, as we do every night. I normally give her a choice of two books, and she will indicate which one she wants by either reaching out to touch the book she wants, or through eye gaze (where she looks at the book she wants, and then back at me). However, on this occasion, she looked at both books on offer, and then very deliberately looked away. She also did this with the next two books I offered her. I then offered her a further two books, one of which was her favourite animal book. At this, she became very excited, and both touched the book, and indicated through eye-gazing that this was the book that she wanted. However, when I started reading the story, she couldn’t have been less interested. It was only when I got to the last page with all the animals on it that she sprung to life – she wanted me to ask her where all the different animals where, so she could point them out to me. And she did. All of them! I love moments like that, when she so definitely wants something, and manages to communicate it to us. And so does she.