As those of you who follow this blog know, Joe (click on “Joe” to read an entire post devoted to him regarding his tireless efforts and hard work with our daughter, Emma) and I have been working diligently with Emma on her reading and writing skills and comprehension. So when she requested Sunday morning to “go to the study room”, I wasn’t particularly surprised. Just as she inquired however, Nic and his friend Max, who had spent the night, wandered into the kitchen asking for french toast.
“Hang on, Em. Let me make the boys breakfast and then we’ll do study room,” I said.
“Study room now?” Emma replied.
“Would you like to write something?” I asked pulling a pad of writing paper out.
“Yes.” Emma said, much to my surprise as handwriting is by far the most challenging aspect of the literacy program we’ve implemented for Emma.
“Okay. Here. Go ahead while I make breakfast.” As I began the preparations for french toast I could see Emma at the dining room table writing. I quelled the urge to go over and look.
After a few minutes Emma said, “Good job drawing hand!”
I went over to see and saw that above the drawing of her left hand she had written, “This a kid”.
What was remarkable about this was that she came up with this sentence on her own, did not copy it from anywhere, initiated the whole thing, used an upper case “T” to begin the sentence and other than the absence of the “is” and a period at the end, wrote a complete, grammatically correct sentence. This is not a child who is learning their alphabet, this is a child who is reading and writing. It was breathtakingly exciting.
“Good drawing hand!” Emma said when she saw me staring down at her work.
“Em! You wrote – This a kid – that’s fantastic!” I answered. “Look, you just forgot the is,” I said pointing to the space between this and a. It’s fantastic! And this has is in it, so it’s easy to forget.”
“Yeah!” Emma said, smiling broadly.
“I love how you wrote that, Em. It’s so great!” I said staring at her handwriting and feeling tremendous pride.
“You writing,” Emma said.
“You have to say – I’m writing,” I told her.
“I’m writing,” she said.
“Hey, let’s write – This is a hand,” I said while writing the words to the right of her hand drawing. “Now you write – hand,” I instructed.
Emma carefully took the marker and wrote – hand – underneath mine.
“That’s great. And look, let’s write – Emma’s hand – here,” I said.
“Yeah. That’s Emma’s hand!” she said, pointing.
“Wow, Em. This is terrific,” I told her.
“Study room now?” Emma asked.
“Yes! Let’s do your study room now,” I said. “But first let’s write – This is a kid – again.”
Very methodically Emma took a separate piece of paper and wrote – This is a kid. Then she reached over and made the toy kid sit on the edge of the page.
“Em, I’m so proud of you,” I told her.
“Emma’s writing!” Emma said, happily.
“I’m writing. You say – I’m writing,” I said.
“I’m writing!” Emma repeated.
Yes, she is.
For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism go to: EmmasHopeBook.com