Read (or red) any good books lately?

June 3, 2008 at 10:35 pm 5 comments

     C has always struggled with generalizing. His earliest feeding therapist said he needs to learn an apple is an apple wherever he goes – at our house, at school, at the park, at Grandma’s. It was a time when it was a challenge to get him to eat anything anywhere other than at home. I realized later the lesson translates to many other areas in his life as well, and we have seen evidence of that many times over.    

     I sometimes have moments where I think I can facilitate some great breakthrough with C in terms of connecting things in his brain for him. I think if I just say it correctly, in a way he understands, he’ll generalize the message and things will click. It usually involves an issue he can’t seem to get around or grasp, and I have this grand idea I’ll help give him an “A-HA” moment. The latest is sort of a hyped up “why” question, and I hope I’ll help him get some clarity about how he knows what he knows.

     So here I am, thinking I have a great lesson, something that will bring his subconscious knowledge to the forefront, combine with his conscious knowledge, and all potential academic issues will disappear. Yes, it’s true, this is the way we parents think sometimes. It’s not really conscious thought, but you learn to recognize that’s where your idle mind has gone. Before long I have him curing cancer and bringing peace to the world, which of course I am quite sure he could do. But I digress.

     Back to first grade. We’re working on spelling words, one of which is “read.” I ask C how he knows whether it’s r-e-a-d in a sentence or r-e-d if he only hears the sentence. I say, “There’s a pretty red flower.” Which word is it, and how does he know which word it is? He knows the answer, but he has no idea why he knows the answer. Or perhaps he simply can’t verbalize it. Regardless, we go round and round for many minutes with him answering that the “ea” is a short “ea,” that “red” is shorter so he knows it is “red,” etc. Next I say, “I read a really good book yesterday.” Similar responses. I finally give up and just explain how I know which word it was only by hearing the sentence and its content. He says “Ohhhh,” and I know I have failed to make the connection for him.

    Likely this will always be an issue for him. And I will likely continue to try to help him through it. While he may someday realize that an apple is the same wherever he goes, he may always struggle with generalization in some shape or form. I guess I need to take a lesson from what I’m trying to teach him and generalize more.

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

Food for Thought “I had a very bad day,”

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. awalkabout  |  June 4, 2008 at 7:37 am

    Not to mention that for all intents and purposes, sometimes English is a really stupid language. *nod*

    There is THAT, of course, which is absolutely true. And when I thought about it later, I realized I’m no better at explaining why I know something than C is, sometimes. I catch myself saying “Because it just IS that way” a lot more than I should! Which I know is completely unsatisfying to him, poor guy. But sometimes my brain is just tired! LOL!

  • 2. lastcrazyhorn  |  June 4, 2008 at 7:39 am

    As for the apples—and other things as well–are you teaching him the similarities of the apples? Obviously the color changes, but the size is generally the same — smaller than say a coffee pot. Generally round. They all have cores, with seeds.

    Yup, I am doing that, so YAY, I’m doing something right! 🙂 I’m always trying to connect things for him that way – this food will taste like that food in your mouth, but feel like this other food, etc. But with the corn, for example, from an earlier post, I’m not sure if he can tell the difference between the tastes of two different colored kernels, or if it’s simply a visual thing. I feel like his sense of taste is undeveloped, so I suspect it’s the latter, but since I’m not totally sure I try to cover all the bases. Frankly, I’m not sure he smells much either. But I keep trying – I visualize synapses in his brain connecting to each other, and the more that happens, the better…

  • 3. robinaltman  |  June 4, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    I think that scene in the Miracle Worker, where Annie runs water over Helen’s hands, has ruined us all. I’m always looking for an “Ah ha!” moment with patients, only to get a “Ha! Ha!” moment, instead.

    I think I like the way you put that and will just enjoy the “ha ha” moments as they arrive!

  • 4. hfamom  |  June 4, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    “Why” questions are horrible! I think it might have something to do with the concrete-ness of autism… maybe the motivation doesn’t matter so much so long as a thing can be defined– what is an apple? You know– like what is a kid– they all look a little different but they’re all kids… rambling, sorry! We just really hate “Why” questions at our house.

    Wishing you a Great Big AH HA!!

    I think you are right. On all counts. 🙂

  • 5. LoisR  |  June 4, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Oh, please just give C credit for knowing which one it is at this point in time…believe me, many first graders don’t know which one to use. ( PS…I am really enjoying working more closely with C…I hope he is enjoying it as well.)

    Well, that is part of my problem – I don’t have another first grader to learn from! LOL! But he does certainly struggle with “why” questions. Yes, he absolutely IS loving his summer class! Very proud of his story he brought home today!


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