I’m sure there’s a pronoun and auxiliary verb being used in this video…. “I’m clean” for “cleaning”.

I am not, however, entirely sure that her treatment of the car is right!



Daisy has shown a distinction between me and her mum: the word “Mum” has been secure and regularly used for months; the sign for “Dad” has been equally secure and regularly used, perhaps for longer. But is¬†generally very much a verbal “Mum” – even though she knows, uses and is secure with the sign for “Mum” – and a signed “Dad”.

This week, we have been going for walks in the woods and playing hide-and-seek. When her mum hid, Daisy and I called out “Mum!” with the pantomime of hands around mouth and the elongated “u”… “Muuuuuuuuuuuuuum!”

When I hid, taking turns nicely, which is her target to work on from Portage, I swear I heard her calling out in a similarly pantomime manner “Daaaaaaad!” although her “d” sound was a tad indistinct. Obviously, when her mum tried to video it, she reverted back to signing “Dad” which is a little pointless when playing hide-and-seek!

I’ve also heard it used around the home in her play, generally when she is about to throw herself off a high place preceded with a “Help, Dad!” and launching into thin air. I would prefer her to wait for me to be closer to her before the launching!

The Ghost Game

Is four too young to introduce a child to the conventions of the Gothic fiction genre?

Daisy has recently discovered the joys of the torch app on a mobile. She’ll turn it on and illuminate stuff and zoom in on it to inspect it – careers in the police or science – possibly both in forensics- beckon perhaps. 

She’s also become taken with the idea of torchlit baths with my phone propped up in the corner! The other day, I was giving her a bath like that – the first time she did it – and my wife walked in. First thought wasn’t “Oh, the bulbs gone in the light,” it was “Oh for heaven’s sake, what are you two up to now?” as she turned the lights back on.

Anyway, in addition to torchlit baths, I’ve also shown her that she can make the light red by putting her finger over it. Instantly fascinated. And as the bath runs, we now have the Ghost Game: she’ll cover the torch and I’ll approach going “woooooo!” and as I get nearer she’ll whip her finger off, brandish the white light at me and I’ll shrink back √° la Peter Cushing. And the the cycle continues. And she swaps roles, being the ghost as well. 

She is so going to thank me in ten years when she reads The Red Room!

And now she’s started signing for the game by using the actions of the ghost – accompanied by a “WoooOOOoo” – which is pretty much the ghost sign in BSL.


This is probably where I should explain the purpose of this blog. The background to it.

My daughter is nearly four and is still almost completely non-verbal. We have lots of professionals involved: Portage, Consultant Paediatricians, Speech and Language; she’s being assessed for the autistic spectrum. And being a “rising five” in September, albeit only just, we’re looking at the prospect of fulltime schooling. Our current plan is to defer her entry to school for a year because of her language difficulties which have then caused delay in progress (or at least delay in expressing her progress) elsewhere. We’re also looking at an Education Health and Care Plan – formerly known as a Statement of Special Educational Needs.

And so we’ve had a lot of professionals asking us about her language. And it transpires that she uses language differently in different contexts. “Inconsistent,” say pre-school; “Code switching,” I thought. It appears that her language use with me is richer and more confident than with anyone else.

She has some very limited verbal words; she can produce a number of onomatopoeias; she has a wider range of signs which I have taught her – I’ve primarily self-taught myself British Sign Language from thd internet. Speech and Language suggested Makaton but there were very limited resources for that, at least that I could find.

Personally, I’m also interested in how those two languages (verbal and sign) interact: she seems more compliant to signed instructions than verbal ones!

So, this blog is generally serving a number of roles but two main ones: firstly, to celebrate her progress which I think is rapid; secondly, a record of her verbal and signed vocabulary. It’s tricky sometimes to remember what she can do when put on the spot by professionals!