We have always believed that R is smart. Even when she was scoring a big fat zero in the IQ test, our belief in her abilities was unshakable (the educational psychologist was stupid, not R). Not only that, but that R is articulate, if only with her eyes. We have all become quite expert at interpreting R’s eye-language but, unfortunately, few outside our home understand much of it at all.
We established quite early on that R could read some words. On visits to our local museum, R would tap the text, demanding it be read, clearly indicating that she understood that words conveyed meaning. I mentioned this to her home visiting teacher, who brought along a few flash cards on her next visit. R surprised us all by pointing immediately to her name and then to each of the other words on request.
Progress has been slow since then. In fact, R has been bringing home Level 1 books from the reading scheme since she started school three and a half years ago. And while I don’t really blame the school – its very hard to know whether R is comprehending the task – I can’t begin to imagine just how dull this must be for R.
R was lucky enough to have a high tech communication aid – a Tobii eye gaze computer – funded by the education department. We were hopeful that this might help to accelerate her pace of learning but neither we (nor the school) have received much support to help R use it. She seems to find the limited array of symbols offered to her uninteresting. In its current set up it is inflexible and apart from as an MP3 player, R doesn’t generally care to use it at all.
But R has apparently decided to take things her own hands. She has a couple of alphabet toys like this one that she is fond of. Mostly, she likes to press the music button. Over Christmas, she started pressing the letters more often, and it quickly became clear that the letters she was pressing were associated with things that she wanted: D for Daddy, M for Mummy and so on. The Peppa Pig alphabet toy has “i for ill”, which she used to indicate how she was feeling.
Today, G asked if she would like a snack. “Y”. Would she like an apple or banana? R pressed “P”. Anyone that knows R, will understand that this was not a slip of the hand but in fact stands for “Pringles”. G said no. And R said “W” (why, *cross face*).
All of which is almost worthy of the blog post, but then this happened.