Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Compare and Contrast

I am so unevenly distributed in Language Development class. It's an online class, and I'm not good at keeping up with those, but an aspiring SLP's gotta do what an aspiring SLP's gotta do. I'm behind in the reading and the lectures, but I already got my language sample for the project that isn't due until November 13. Go figure.
I will call the 2 1/2 year old whose language I sampled J. I know, me and J names! He seemed to be right where he was supposed to be linguistically and cognitively. I had a tape recorder, but I was writing things down as well. I was amazed that when I took my attention off of him to write something down, I didn't lose him. He was perfectly willing to engage with me when I was done writing. The last time I did something like this was with Joey in his scattered phase, and if I took my attention off of him to write something down he was off on the other side of the room talking to himself like there was no tomorrow, bless him.
His sister (whose is maybe in 1st grade) was out there too, and was able to provide some translation services. I've noticed before that older siblings understand their younger siblings' early speech better than their parents do. I wonder if anyone has done research on that? At one point I was talking to J's mother while J and his sister played on the swingset. The sister, trying to be helpful (and I suspect get some attention ;) ), kept hollering across the yard, "J said 'swing'! J said, 'leaf'!" I made sure to say, "Thank you! I'll be sure to write that down!" and actually write it down, even though I hadn't heard it myself and I don't know if I could actually count it.
His well-meaning mother kept telling J to "talk to Miss. Katie" and bringing out books for him to look at, but I got the longer utterances from him when he was riding around on his bike. Child-directed play is a hard concept to grasp and I didn't quite know how to tell her that I was supposed to be getting as natural a sample as possible. She was so enthusiastic and seemed to want to show off her son's language abilities, so I let her. I assured her that he seemed right on track and even a little ahead to me. If I do much more of this, I need to find a better way to prep my parents.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bits and Bobs

I am so bad at anatomical diagrams. I expect them to be literal representations of the structure in question and to include all of the relevant parts to scale, and they never are and they never do. I cannot reconcile the various different views of a structure with each other, especially not if it is a brainstem with lots of wiggly little nerves sticking out that I need to label. I shake my fist at you, little wiggly nerves!
Whenever I leave sign language class it feels strange to be communicating without moving my hands. On Monday BG (my professor is BG to many of the deaf with whom she works, so she is BG to us as well) told us how she taught two little deaf ones how to trick-or-treat. They said "BOO!" instead of "Trick-or-Treat" because it is easier. In the past they had always sort of followed along with the other kids, but she taught them that people were giving the kids candy so that the kids would not trick or scare them. They took turns playing different roles, and when it was one of the deaf kids' turns to answer the door, they had to knock on the glass so the deaf kid could see that someone was there. BG pointed out that the deaf do not always realize that actions cause noises, so they might ring the doorbell until you come to the door because they think that is how it works. They don't realize that the doorbell is making a noise. I love sign language. There are no secrets, and it is very expressive and fun. I hope I can take the second part of it, although I seriously doubt I'll have room in my schedule. Ah, well.
I continue to chomp at the bit and want to work with the little hearing/speech/language impaired children of the world. They are such darlings, and they have so much to offer, they just don't know how to communicate it! My friend Samantha just got back from Mexico and she fell in love with 29 boys at an orphanage. She would tell them (in Spanish), "Tell me what you want! Use words!" and they would just yell and point. She told me that they were so bright, but they didn't know how to express it, and the nuns (God bless them) did everything they could for the boys but they were all so needy that it was hard to give all of them the attention they needed. Sam hopes to go back to Mexico next summer and visit the orphanage again, and I told her I would get her some behavior management resources in the meantime so she could build an effective Spanish vocabulary to help them. I think that people who fall for the hard cases should always be supported. There are so many hard cases and so few people who fall in love with them.