Who Is That

by beagooddad on January 16, 2009

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Pookie’s speech teacher gave him a new homework assignment. We are supposed to read a book with lots of pictures with him and then on each page ask questions like “Who is wearing the green dress?” “Who is standing next to the river?”

Who questions.

Great job speech teacher. I love when they send home homework like this.

Pookie is having conversations much better than he was a year ago but it is still not anything like you would expect out of a nearly 6 year old. This is obviously a big deal because conversations are not just important for learning but just for socializing in general.

So we’re working on it. Pookie does a pretty good job but one of the interesting things is that he doesn’t always answer the Who questions appropriately. Sometimes you’ll ask him stuff like “Who is standing next to the river?” and he’ll say “Blue” because the water in the picture happens to be blue or he’ll say “Right there” and point at the river.

We see that a lot with Pookie where we will ask him a question and he will say something that makes sense based on the words in the question but has nothing to do with the actual question. A lot of times if we just wait a few seconds or repeat the question, he’ll give a more appropriate answer but not always.

So learning how to answer Who questions is about more than being able to figure out which person to talk about but also just knowing that Who means that you should be talking about a person at all.

Think about that. How many of you have to worry about explaining nuances like that to your 3 to 6 year olds? Most kids learn subtleties like that just by constantly being engaged in conversations. That’s right. Most kids learn to have conversations by having conversations.

A lot of autistic children do not learn conversations that easily because they either don’t have enough conversations to get enough practice or they just don’t get those little subtleties just by hearing them over and over.

Some times it takes a little more work. But that does not give kids with autism an easy out and an excuse to not have these conversations. And it doesn’t mean that parents/teachers should use the same techniques that would work with Geetle on an autistic child like Pookie.

Sometimes you just need to spend a little (or a lot) more time working on some of the automatic fundamentals that other people just learn through normal growing up magic.

I’m looking forward to getting Who under control so that we can move on to What and Where and When and How and Why.

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