Saturday, March 31, 2007

ballastexistenz


I don't want to forget this post. When I have time I will go back. (I sometimes use my blog as a reference to important material)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Betty News


I wrote in the past about a student I had, and called her Betty. Today, she had an especially eventful day. We tried the PECs symbol system before, and she never really took too well to it. We made them as large and dark as we could, but she just never really seemed all that worked up about it.

The other day, it occurred to me she had given many signs she could spell. I thought, why not print large block letters on a 2x2 square of all the letters of the alphabet, and put all the vowels on 1 8 x11 page on a color of her choice, along with 5 sheets of all of the consonants on a color of her choice. I told her to get ready, because she was going to spell her first word.

Her mother suggested she choose the color of the sheets, and then the letter she wanted. We went through them once or twice, to show her blue was b, c, d, and f; green was g, h, j, k...and so on. She pointed to a green card, and then chose "g". Then she pointed to a pink card, and chose "i". Choosing the color for the next two pages she wanted access to, she pointed to "r" and "l". The first word she spelled in her life on her own was "girl".

Mom called Dad and told him. He got all excited and told her "good job" and she was tickled half to death. The next word she chose was "s-c-o-t-t", her father's name. Somewhere in here I cried a little.

When her vision teacher came in, we told her and she was all excited. Not wanting to push our luck, but doing it anyway, we asked her to spell Miss Judy's name. She, on her own, spelled "gude", which is good sounding if you use the "g" sound as in "giant". She changed to "j" after a little prompting, and then the teacher talked about "y" sometimes sounding like "e".

I have always felt I gave "Betty" too much input, so I made the other teachers do it with her. I have never seen her have such a direct and unmistakably clear muscle movement, although she does not have good control over her hands, which she used.

It was surreal.

The hour it took, passed like it was a minute.

My God, thank you, thank you, the gentle nudge that led us to this!
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