A follower of Emma’s Hope Book asked me about Emma’s use of the ipad. In responding to her question, I went back to look at a post I’d written for both this blog as well as the Huffington Post last fall regarding Emma’s love of her ipad. Last Friday when I wrote about this I promised myself to make a revised list of dreams for Emma. Sadly I haven’t included her dreams for herself, as I’m sure if she could tell me what they were, they would be enlightening and probably quite different from my own.
Begin reading chapter books.
Become more proficient in handwriting. Continue learning punctuation.
Learn to type using all fingers from both hands.
Beginning math. Basic concepts – identify more and less.
Tell time on analog as well as digital clock.
Answer “why” questions.
Increase ability to tolerate new things.
Able to take shower, wash hair and dry herself independently.
Last year at this time we were in the midst of our “bedwetting saga“. In an attempt to get Emma out of diapers and with the hope she might sleep through the night, we implemented an anti bedwetting campaign which took her and us until the fall to complete. It was a huge accomplishment, one I’d all but forgotten about until I began rereading older posts of a year ago. I remember, while in the midst of it, wondering what we would do if we couldn’t get her out of diapers. Where would we find diapers large enough, but not too large that they didn’t leak during the night? Since last year, a couple of companies have come out with diapers specifically designed for older children. Never-the-less I am enormously relieved that Emma sleeps through the night now without wetting her bed. Unless one has experienced the distress which comes from having a child older than five continuously wet their bed, it’s difficult to imagine what it’s like.
Since January, 2011 we have been fully engaged in our literacy program for Emma. Dr. Marion Blank, who created the Reading Kingdom among other programs is a remarkable woman who has devoted her life to creating reading and writing programs for children. She has had tremendous success with her literacy program designed specifically for children on the spectrum. It is with her program, more than any other, that has given us hope that Emma will one day read and write fluently.
Emma’s handwriting from yesterday’s literacy session.
Had someone shown me this example of her writing and cognition a year ago, I would have been ecstatic.
I have always felt and continue to believe, Emma is extremely bright. I would go so far as to say she is brilliant. I don’t mean that in a kind of motherly-prideful-utterly-biased way. I mean that I believe Emma is truly brilliant.
Yesterday while in Central Park, Emma wanted to watch the Delacorte Musical Clock strike 3:00PM. Every half hour the clock, near the entrance to the Children’s Zoo, plays a series of tunes which change with the seasons while it’s bronze animals, a hippo, an elephant, a kangaroo, a penquin and a bear circle around the clock tower playing their instruments. Two monkeys sit atop banging the bronze bell with small bronze hammers.
The Delacorte Clock in Central Park
Before the music began Emma said, “Watch clock then go see penguins.”
“No Em. After this we have to do our grocery shopping and then we need to go home,” we told her.
To which Emma began to fret. This was not how she wanted the rest of the day to go. After the clock comes the penguins and after seeing the penguins, we must watch the seal who is old and almost completely blind, then off to the bat cave and then to watch the sea lions being fed. Only then may we leave the park and go home. Only we couldn’t do that yesterday, it was already getting late, Nic was off with a friend and would be coming home soon, one of us needed to be home when he arrived, etc.
“Em, try to enjoy the clock, it’s about to start,” I said.
“Both. You have to ask Mommy. Mommy! Mommy I want to go see the penguins please. No! I’m sorry. Mommy says no!” She began to cry and scream.
When the animals began to parade around the clock tower Emma stopped crying and watched and after ten minutes or so of upset and by the time we’d gotten to the subway entrance she turned to us and said, “Go with Daddy to Seal Park?”
“Sure Emma. I can take you to Seal Park while Mommy shops.”
And it was over. Emma happily rode the subway with us, went with her dad to the park where I eventually went to meet them. This was a terrific example of Emma getting past her upset in a relatively short period of time.
Emma waiting for the musical clock to begin.
For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism and to read more about her literacy program, go to: www.EmmasHopeBook.com