Emma’s Literacy

Today Emma wrote the following sentences:

It is a good visual reminder of how nicely she is progressing.  After she wrote these sentences she became frustrated with two longer sentences she was suppose to remember and write.  I finally had to break them down into smaller pieces.  We then worked on reading comprehension.  The idea being – it won’t matter how well she reads if she cannot understand what it is she’s just read.  Like many children on the spectrum, Emma has a tough time saying what a story is about.  So we are slowly trying to build a foundation for her to be able to do so with increasing ease.  At the moment it remains very difficult for her.

Yesterday and this morning have been hard for Emma.  Her routine was interrupted, I spent a good part of yesterday cooking, we had guests for Thanksgiving and though Emma loved having family and friends over and sitting with us at the dinner table, I think the disruption proved tough.  She’s been out of sorts, a little crankier than usual.  This morning she kept insisting she go to the Central Park zoo and the big carousel; all things Richard did with her yesterday.

I never know what the reason is for her steps backwards, particularly when we can also see her many steps forward.  I keep hoping things will just move forward with no steps back, but this is unrealistic.  I know.  I have to keep my eye on the bigger picture and not get weighed down with the little daily upsets.  As we worked together this morning we had to stop several times as she became too upset to continue.  Her frustration is in glaring evidence during these moments.  She clenches her fist, hits her legs or pinches herself, so we had to stop each time and wait.  I understand how frustrating it must be to not be able to make the words come out right, to not be able to retain a seven or eight word sentence, to want to give up.

“We have to keep trying, Em.  I know it’s hard, but you can’t give up.”

“I know,” she said, nodding her head and looking sad.  “I know.  We have to do it again.”

“That’s right, Em.  You’re doing great.”

“Last time.”

“We’ll do it until you get it.”

“Okay.  Last time.”

And then she did it perfectly.

For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism, go to:   www.Emma’s Hope Book.com

5 responses to “Emma’s Literacy

  1. The steps backward for me always hit after what feels like a giant step forward. Things will be moving along good, and I catch myself not wanting to tell someone how she is progressing, because I know as soon as those words come pouring out of my mouth, it feels like I jinx myself. Undoubtedly, a series of horrible days follow. Sometimes, I feel like the steps backward happened because I got too sure of myself and Emma, meaning I thought I had a handle on everything. My hubris does me in as in some Greek myth. But it is so far from pride in actuality. It is hope. It is allowing myself to feel happy for Emma and for me when things do work, when steps are made, and there is definitely nothing wrong about that. The steps backward will happen, but not allowing myself to feel joyful in the steps forward part is silly and will not keep the bad days from coming. It will just keep the good days from being even better. So I try to relish in the steps forward and be somewhat prepared for the steps back, allowing myself to feel sad when the latter happen because all that means is that I am human and it hurts to see someone I love so deeply struggle.

  2. Oh yes! Before a big break through we often see some steps back. I forget this, but it’s been true for my Emma as well. Thank you for the reminder!

  3. I feel like that too Kelly. There seems to be improvements and I comment on how well my youngest is doing and then there are regressions again or new obsessions arise. However this morning I realised Roslyn does not do some of the problem bahaviors as intensely. For instance she would plwy with water to the point of even in the toilet and I had to watch her use the toilet. She would foold the passageway in our house by pugging up the shower and so I had to lock the bathroom. She would use any object she could, grab it, rush into the backyard when my back was turned and stand on it to scale a fence. I have just realised the intensity of things is lessening and I haven’t realised. ( I wont start on the toileting issues) but they are not as problematic either or as often) . We have had tantrams every time she is denied something. But now she is babbling more and talking more recogniasable words. When stuck in the middle of what feels like a constant battle field I haven’t lifted my head up to register that things over all are improving. Oh and she is getting really good at cooking only now she feels the need to “tell” me how to cook and what to have for dinner.
    Strangely I dont see that with Liam. He doesn’t go backwards, he never has.

  4. That’s actually really funny that she is now telling you how to cook and what to fix for dinner. So great! When both my children were toddlers, Nic would get very cranky just before a major growth spurt or cognitive leap. I remember Richard and I would remind each other of this, then as Nic grew older, we no longer saw that, but with Emma this kind of two steps forward one step back process continues.

  5. Pingback: Look! She’s a Therapist, She’s a Teacher, No She’s a Mom | Aspen Post

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