Saturday, September 29, 2007

A somewhat humerous follow-up

I often stop and talk to small children in public places. It's a habit I got into a while ago, because I enjoy kids, and now I do it in hopes that I can practice my behavior management skillz. Thus far it hasn't really worked, but I did have a very animated conversation with the young man behind me in Applebee's last week about hunting. He had very good storytelling skills; he did sound effects and gestures and was reasonably clear for being an 8 year old guy. When I was ready to go I told said young man that it was nice speaking with him. He said, "Nice speaking to you too." I said, "Thank you, I really like your manners!" He smiled and looked down and said, "Thanks!" It was really cute.
Oh, the follow-up! Well, today I was trying to engage a small girl in conversation while her mom put away her younger brother's stroller. The girl finally looked at me and said, "Are you a girl?" which I took to mean, "Who the heck are you and why are you talking to me?" as opposed to previously when I blogged about "You woman?" which meant, "Does the term 'woman' apply to you?" Semantics is (are?) fun! XD
Oh, Linguistics. I miss you. I can't wait until I take some more language-centric classes. Right now the only such class I'm taking is Language Development, and thus far it's been a review of what I gleaned from Dr. Parker's Psycholinguistics, with a much drier textbook. Good call on "How Babies Talk", Dr. Parker! I need to reread that.
I am also actually missing Dr. Fallon's Phonology problems of doom. What is WRONG with me? One of those things literally took hours to puzzle out between two people. I have vaguely contemplated trying one or two of them on my own and emailing him what I come up with to see if I can still do it. It would probably make him really happy. I've emailed him twice this semester just geeking out and saying hi.
In conclusion, I should do my homework. Ta!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Smart disabled kids

Today I got to go play with Joshua for almost 3 whole hours! It was fantastic. I adore that boy. He just turned six and has severe cerebral palsy. I am one of many, many volunteers who goes to Joshua's house to pattern him, showing his body how to creep in a cross-pattern on his hands and knees by moving his limbs for him while he lies on a table. In between, he crawls on his stomach on the floor. I dumped 2 carts of blocks and some water on my head as a reward for him crawling X amount of feet, let him climb and drool on me. I have no dignity, which is a great asset. ;) We laughed and laughed, and he babbled up a storm! He's making so many new sounds these days. It's really exciting. I read him some books, and he liked that a lot too. He's very smart; he does all kinds of math problems on his facilitated communication board and he reads silently very well. Joey is also very academically advanced, but is still mastering this whole "communication" thing. Both boys have their own languages and their own ways, and it's so exciting to learn the meaning behind certain repeated utterances and gestures.
In conclusion, I really love smart disabled kids and I want to play with them all the time. I call it "play" because it really does not seem like "work" to me. I can't believe that people will pay me to do this. It is too weird. Bless the little ones who teach us how to slow down and pay attention and celebrate life's victories!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Some links
This is the family who changed my life in college and showed me my vocation. I am so proud of Joey and Andy! Joey is a 6 year old boy with high-functioning autism who still needs a lift over the hard places sometimes, and I tutored him for about 2 years. I watched him grow tremendously. When I first started working with him, he did not understand questions. If the question had a pre-determined answer, such as, "What color is the sky?" then he was fine with it. Think about the scene in the beginning of Star Trek IV when the computer is asking Spock all of these really hard math and science questions and Spock is answering them in a heartbeat, but when the computer asks, "How do you feel?", Spock says, "I do not understand the question." That is how Joey was the first two semesters I worked with him. When I came back for fall semester of my junior year, Joey had started speech therapy, and could now answer questions like, "Do you want to play blocks?" or "Are you hungry?" I don't know if he could attempt, "How do you feel?" right away, but by now I'm sure he could!
This is something to think about if you want to have children some day, especially for individuals like myself who are at high risk for having a disabled child.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Let's see how this works...

I'm going to attempt to start a blog-proper about my adventures as an aspiring speech-language pathologist (SLP). For more information about what I do, check out
Yesterday in sign language class my teacher told us about a little deaf girl who has only had language (American Sign Language, or ASL...we like abbreviations) for about a year and a half. This girl came up to my teacher and signed, "You woman?" My teacher said yes, she was a woman. The girl signed, "Cool." Then she signed, "Me woman?" My teacher signed, "No, you not woman, you girl." The girl signed, "Cool." After a year and a half, the label "woman" had just sunk in. Isn't language interesting?