Yesterday morning while I was setting up my materials for Emma’s literacy session, she looked over and said, “Today we do the word see.”
“Yes, Em. That’s right!” I said.
She came over and pointed to the word “see” and said, “Yeah. This says see.”
She was absolutely right. The word on the page did indeed say “see.” However the truly surprising thing was we have never worked on this word before nor to my knowledge has Emma been shown the word prior to yesterday. Dr. Blank has maintained on a number of occasions that Emma knows much more than she lets on and while my heart soars whenever Dr. Blank has said this, I am also aware of a tiny doubting voice questioning it. I try hard not to give that little voice much credence and am usually successful in not paying attention to it. Still it’s always lurking somewhere in the background, no matter how often I try to shut it up.
During her literacy session Emma stumbled over the words “who” and “what”. These are both, what Dr. Marion Blank describes as “noncontent” words (all the words that are not nouns, main verbs, adjectives and adverbs) and both are words we have worked on before. Dr. Blank, in her book – The Reading Remedy: Six Essential Skills That Will Turn Your Child Into a Reader – writes, “Noncontent words are all the little words of our language that do not appear to have any direct meaning unto themselves.” She goes on to explain, “Although they may be difficult to define, the noncontent words are the glue that binds the content words together.” Without these words we cannot effectively communicate.
Emma shows knowledge of things that surprise me and then doesn’t seem to remember other things we have studied, so it is inconsistent. But what I keep coming back to is – it is much better for me to approach my interactions with Emma assuming she does know and can understand than to underestimate her abilities and therefore limit her with my own preconceived notions of what she cannot do.
For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism, go to: www.Emma’s Hope Book.com