Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Another Lesson about Just Who Is In Charge
Dramatization of today's IM to my husband:
Me: I have good news and bad news
Husband: What's up?
Me: Addie is both inclined to and able to put her own DVD on.
(explanation of how I came to discover this today here)
Husband: Um. Is it possible to fake a cognitive disability for 5+ years? Has she been hustling us all along?
We jokingly muse about this every now and then.
Just before my discovery, I left the room for as long as it takes to put a plate in the sink in a modest sized house. Not long. She was sitting at the dining room table when I left. Our living room and dining room are open to each other and are really one large room.
Upon my return, I saw Addie standing on her new Rody Max (which is a therapy peanut with legs and a head, made to look like a horse), which she had scooted up to our entertainment center. The TV and DVD player sit about 4.5 feet off the floor in it. She was in front of the DVD player and just as I realized that she had a DVD in her hand, the door to the player opened. She had apparently hit the correct buttons: power and then open, in the few seconds she had left after moving Rody across the room. She was planning to watch Sesame Street Karaoke.
Why is this good news? Because it is yet another new stepping stone to this increasing independence that we profess to want for Addie, that many parents of kids with different abilities want. We are lucky enough to get a pretty even arc of these things with Addie; there seems to always be something she accomplishes without warning, without our seeing her try or even understanding she was motivated to do it.
Why is this bad news? I'll admit it. Because it is inconvenient for me. If Addie can change her own DVD, she will want to do it every time. She will want to change in the middle of a DVD, just because she can. She will remove her sister's in-progress movie in favor of her own. She will be precariously balancing on whatever piece of movable solid matter I carelessly leave in the room each time the whim to change the DVD hits her. She will then teach herself to open the cabinet where we keep the DVDs. She will proceed to figure out how to open DVD cases. She will discover that we "hide" her favorites on top of the speakers, about 6 feet from the floor, and figure out a way to get up there.
Once she is this vested in what is viewed at home, she will learn how to browse the DVD shelves at the library and not just settle for my choices. She will branch out and try different things, instead of sticking with the tried and true that she prefers now. Once she can pick her own DVDs at the library, she's going to want to check her own out. She'll find a way to reach up to the check out desk and hand them my card. Then she'll want her own card. When she has her own card, she'll think about how she can check out books. So we'll be at the library longer each time. She'll peruse the books and make choices based on her own interests.
I'll read the books to her, but she'll want to look at them on her own. She'll look at the letters and recognize some. She'll decide to try and sound them out in her head (since that's the only place she can do it), and then she'll be reading. Once she can read, she'll be free to do/see/experience more at home and at school. She'll make more and more friends than she already has. She'll graduate. She'll find work that means something to her.
She'll move out. And we'll miss her.
And so. Good news and bad news.
Sometimes it is easier or more peaceful to think that there are some things that are not possible for Addie. But since that thought has never crossed her own mind and likely never will, we follow her lead.
Yahoo! Addie can work the DVD player.
***Addie's cool custom "I love Mrs. Miller's Goldfish" shirt by Randi Sargent at Giving Greetings/Say it with Symbols***
Posted by Terri H-E at 12:33 PM