Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Behind My Back, When I Wasn’t Looking
I’ve noticed lately that Ricki’s reading has improved. How? When she reads to her dolls, playing teacher, she reads with the right inflection...you can HEAR that she understands. I had also noticed that she was READING more, as opposed to just looking at the pictures in books.
But I hadn’t realized just how much better her reading had become, somehow. Behind my back, when I wasn’t looking....her reading has improved tremendously.
Saturday morning I picked up a book Ricki and I had last looked at about a year ago. At that time Ricki had mainly done “avoidance” techniques. She insisted that I read half; she opted for very short sessions. And the whole process had been slow and difficult. It was no surprise that we only finished half of the book. And it has been waiting on the shelf ever since, as school-related texts took precedence. [It isn’t that I haven’t been reading with her. ..but almost all of our reading together has involved texts connected to her schoolwork, texts which needed explanations of new material, texts with words that she was seeing for the first time.] Since school is finishing soon, homework assignments have become less frequent, and we decided to read that book together yesterday. Actually, I could have guessed what was coming, because Ricki had requested that I get the book down.
As I pointed to the first word of the text, I half-expected Ricki to attempt to get me to read. It didn’t happen like that however. She flew. She read page after page, quickly, clearly, and with understanding. She was reading better than me at certain parts. (Keep in mind that we are reading Hebrew here, a second language for me.) And she was enjoying herself.
When did this happen? Was it due to the numerous small books I had sent to school this year, for the aide to read with her, replete with comprehension sheets? Was it a product of her playing “teacher” nearly every day? Probably it was a lot of both.
And to new parents of children with Down syndrome, I want to tell you that this happens a lot. Sometimes you work ages on something and don’t seem to be gaining any ground. You wonder if the child is gaining ANYTHING from your input. Then, for whatever reason, your center of focus shifts a bit, you take a small vacation, you center on something else. But inside your child that “coffee” is “percolating”, and suddenly, oh so suddenly, it is done.