Emma told me I could post her story on here this morning. This is a story she wrote yesterday with Rosie (Rosemary Crossley). Rosie developed a technique more than thirty years ago to help people with a variety of issues, specifically those that make speaking difficult or impossible . Em held onto a tube with one hand while Rosie held the other end as Emma typed. Rosie began yesterday’s session by asking Emma to write a story that began with either, “once upon a time” or “one day.” I was standing near Emma, with Richard, Joe and Em’s teacher, Katie, all watching as she typed the following.
“One day there was a boy called george. He had been in afight can’t tell you how he got into the fight but he was bruised all over. He fought a lot and his teacher was very angry. The next day he was all purple and his mother said you can’t go to school looking like that. The very clever boy covered himself in flower and his teacher thought he was sick and sent him home. The end.”
Not sure I can actually continue writing here… but I’m going to try… *Breathe*
I have read this story more than a dozen times already. I know I’m totally biased, but I’m just going to say it – what an incredible story! There are so many layers to it. This story that Emma wrote with great concentration, with little pause is the first story she’s ever written. She was focused and when asked about the word “flower” she verbally said “powder” in explanation. Rosie explained that flower/flour are words that sound alike but are different in meaning. Rosie explained that the powder kind is spelled “flour.”
But there’s more… A little later Rosie brought out a math app called Math Magic where Emma proceeded to zip through addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. None of this is particularly noteworthy, except that Emma has never been formerly taught division. She was choosing the correct answers from a field of four. A sample equation is: “56 ÷ 8” and the multiple choices available were: 2, 9, 7, 6. Emma chose the correct answers independently. Allow me to say that again. Division. Emma chose the answers independently.
It was at this point that I felt so many things all at once it was almost impossible to speak. But more than anything I kept thinking about how we continue to underestimate our daughter. I had no idea she could do division. Not only can she do division, she can do it quickly. There’s another app Rosie recommended – Brain Pop and Brain Pop Jr. which Emma also did as we watched. Not only did she listen to the short lesson, but then read all the questions silently, read the multiple choice answers and chose the correct answers. It seems verbal speech is tricky, particularly when she is expected to answer questions verbally. When asked to read silently and then identify the correct written statement by pointing to it, Emma did beautifully… about Ellis Island, no less! The only interaction Rosie provided with both the math and Brain Bop was to use a laminated card that she silently moved across the words as Emma read and she did not allow Emma to point to any answer until she’d finished reading all the choices.
I cannot imagine how awful it must be to be so capable and yet treated as though you were not. I imagine it must feel like being “bruised all over.” I imagine it must feel like you “fought a lot”. My wish for my daughter is that she may continue to do all that she is doing, while we provide her with every opportunity to flourish and continue to show the world how very “clever” she is. The only limitations are the ones we provide.
I am incredibly grateful to all who believe in her, all who have helped and who continue to help us so that we can be better parents to our daughter. The list continues to grow…