Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Never judge a book

Over the last few days I have covered the basics of how we found out Emmie wasn't a typical 8 year old. Now, how does CAPD affect our daily life? That's a question that I can't answer in just one post. You see, on the outside, Emmie IS the typical 8 year old. She is tall, long brown hair (which drives me batty!), big eyes, silly smile, and luckily at the moment her clothing matches! She can be found digging in the dirt, dancing in the bathtub, or coloring a new picture to send to Daddy. If you were to run into her at school or stop by for a glass of tea, you would never know Emmie was different. You know the old saying, "Never judge a book by it's cover"? Well, that saying ring true when you meet a child with CAPD. On the inside, Emmie is a multitude of wonder. She's healthy (although she is allergic to banana boat sunscreen, four types of grass, a few trees, and dogs) and a happy-go-lucky kind of kid. But there are also wires that get crossed and certain things that I have to do on a daily basis to ensure I am providing the proper language environment for her development. Take this example of Emmie, mind you this was only about 10 minutes in our day, but it will give you a general idea.

We sat on the couch together watching the Tinkerbell movie. Carrington was in her room with the phone attached to her ear and Jensen was building a new Lego creation. There is a scene in the movie where they show fairy dust, a lot of it! Our conversation went like this:

Emmie: Look! It's fairy dust!
Mom: Oh wow, that is a lot of fairy dust.
Emmie: We should get some.
Mom: What would you do with fairy dust?
Emmie: I would fly.
Mom: Is that what fairies do with it? Hmmm.....Maybe we should make some fairy dust so we can sprinkle it on your fairies that you got for your birthday. I bet they would love to fly!
No response.....
Mom: Can we make them fly?
Emmie: Sure, can I make an apple one?
Mom: An apple what? Fairy Dust?
Emmie: An apple pie.
Mom: An apple pie? What are you talking about.
Emmie: You said we should make some pie.
Mom: No, I said we should make some fairy dust.
Emmie: Oh. Can I have pie?
Mom: We don't have pie.
Emmie: Well, rats!

I know exactly where and how our conversation went wrong. I should have used smaller sentences and she should have been looking at me when I was talking. Her auditory memory is less that nine words long, meaning after about the ninth word, I lose her. She also has trouble remembering words or sentences if there is a pause of longer than 15 seconds. So, when I paused then told her we should make our own fairy dust, she lost the part about flying all together. Often, you will find her looking at your mouth and how the words are formed while you are talking. While she is looking at your mouth, you will notice two things. One, her mouth and tongue are slightly moving trying to mimic the words you are creating. And two, she is subvocalizing certain words. Meaning, she is saying them out loud (often low enough where only she can hear it) to help keep them in her working memory. She didn't do any of this during this conversation because I wasn't facing her. Now, would you know that if you looked at her playing with her barbie dolls? No, her cover says she is a typical 8 year old girl dressing her dolls and making them walk and talk. It's what's inside the book that you have to look out for :) This girl is a complicated read!

Later folks,

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