Joining in

Daisy’s school have seen her trying to join in play but not being able to make other kids understand her. 

How horribly heart-breaking is that?

So the next sentence we are teaching her is: “Daisy wants to play please”. Rather self-consciously, I hope it goes something like this…

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Spider-Man

Another balloon-based post…

We have a card shop where we live. It sells balloons… cheap ones out the front to tempt in toddler pester power!

Well we passed it today and Daisy wanted a balloon. Quel Suprise! 

And yes, maybe, perhaps a little bit, I could be seen as guilty of gender stereotyping – but I know what she likes so assumed she was pointing to Peppa Pig or Frozen … until she signed very clearly the sign for “spider”. 

Now, I’ve known that she’s known the sign for spider for a while.

And she has come across Spider-man on various Learn Colours With Heroes type videos on You Tube but they’ve never been signed. Maybe I’ve used the verbal word “Spider-man”. But she’s not seen any Spider-man films or cartoons so she’s got no awareness of the origin story. And he looks more man than spider. 

But,  somehow, from just this balloon

she recognised that there was something spidery going on and that she possessed an appropriate sign.

And used it.

Thank You

For the eighteen months or two years that we have been signing, we’ve said “Thank you” in shops and when playing and taking turns. She knows the sign but needs to be prompted to use it.

Yesterday – in McDonald’s in Salisbury – I asked an attendant for a balloon. It had been that long a day. Balloons were required. Needed. Needed now! And, when the lady went to collect one, I prompted Daisy to say “Thank you”, which she did. And for the first time in these last two years, the lady attendant signed “Thank you” back.

The first time.

In two years.

We normally get an “awww” or “ahhh” but not a single person has ever just signed back, as if it were a normal thing to do. 

So, thank you to that lady in Salisbury McDonald’s. Thank you.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

A couple of days ago, whilst reading Coralie Bickford-Smith’s gorgeous The Fox and The Star – when did books get so good looking? – we were merrily signing Fox and Star for obvious reasons and, on the page where Fox looks up and sees a sky full of stars – which always elicits a “Yay!” from her, so there’s some sense of following a narrative going on. –  

fox and star stars

Anyway, at this page, I started singing and signing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. It seemed an obvious thing to do. Despite my singing voice.

But Daisy joined in! Certainly the signing and some humming along to the melody. FABULOUS!

I asked her, “Do you sing that at school?”

“Yeah,” she replied.

BRILLIANT!!

So, as you do, we repeated the song over and over. Tried to do it to an audience of one – her mum – the following day without success.

But here’s the thing.

We went on a road trip the next day. Yesterday. And tried to get her to sing-sign again. Again without success. But, being, generally, an idiot, I mused later “I wonder if we could get her to sign with her feet….”

This was perhaps at nine in the morning.

At seven at night, book number three was again The Fox and The Star after The Gruffalo’s Child and The Highway Rat. Again, we reached the skyful of stars and signed Twinkle Twinkle… and she stuck her foot out! Clenching and unclenching her toes to make a star sign, tapping her head with her big toe like a contortionist to wonder. 

Either she heard my earlier comment, understood it, remembered it ten hours later and responded when the context invited it… or she is just as bonkers as her dad!

fox adn star

Introduction

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!