Sunday, August 23, 2009

A New Question


Because her personality is so bubbly, her vocabulary impressive, and her memorization ability staggering, it is easy to forget Jada's speech shortcomings. Here's someone who knew all 26 letters at age 23 months, who can recite entire books along with us, and who sings along with many the favorite pop songs.

And yet there are times we are reminded how far behind Jada is, especially as she is worryingly only a year from kindergarten. Earlier this week, we were all getting out of the car, and Jada had her cup in her hand. Usually, we pack everything up, get everyone into the house, and sort from there. But neither Amy nor I had a problem with Jada holding her cup, so we went about our business of collecting everything and getting everything and everyone inside.

When we got to sorting everything out, we couldn't find Jada's cup. Assuming it was in the car, first I and then Amy went out to check, to no avail. We both asked Jada where her cup was, and she couldn't answer us: sometimes she would repeat our question, and sometimes we had to rephrase our question in the form of yes-no questions, all of which she said no to.

Amy finally found the cup in Jada's room. When we had arrived home, Jada had thrown it onto her bed. And yet when asked where her cup was, she simply could not answer.

I don't believe it is out of an intentional desire to lie or cover up. I honestly think she could not follow through on this conversation, because it was outside the bounds of the normally rehearsed conversations we have over and over again; because the question was new and the answer specific to something that had just happened, she had nothing in her memory to draw from, and not enough comprehension to start a new dialogue.

I'm pretty sure kids who are 4 1/2 years old can typically answer such a question. But our little girl can't. And so we are hoping that between our extra efforts, speech therapy sessions, and a new school, we can get her caught up, unlocking some of where he's stuck and tapping into all that other smartness she has going for her.
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