Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What We've Got Here is a Failure to Communicate


It was a typical walk home from school. Aaron had pestered me to hold the daily status sheet his teacher fills out each day, so I folded it once and handed it to him. Immediately, he started whining. I finally grasped that he wanted it unfolded, so I gave him the words to use to tell me so, and then unfolded it and handed it back to him.

He looked at once, twice, three times, and then said, "You wrote my name on it." I replied, "No, your teacher wrote your name on it, to let me know this is your paper." He whined. "No, you wrote my name on it." "No, Aaron, I didn't write your name, your teacher did." More whining.

Finally, I asked him "Can you tell me where your name is on the paper?" He pointed to the school's logo at the top of the page. "No, Aaron, that's your school's name - Brightside Academy." "No, that's my name," he whined.

As the wind picked up, the paper fluttered, and that angered him as well. "My paper's blowing," he complained. I responded, "Yes, your paper's blowing because it's windy." "No," he shrieked, "my paper's blowing." I calmly restated what I had said, but to no avail.

Needless to say, communicating with Aaron can be difficult. It's a combination of him being tired at the end of a long day, him having comprehension challenges, and him just plain being stubborn. The stubbornness is particularly tiring to endure; I can't tell you how many times he has pointed at something and called it the wrong word, and no matter how textbook my answer is (affirm that he's close, describe what his word really means, and then give him the right word), he still gets enraged when I don't agree with him, until he cries himself into a heap.

Aaron's speech therapist has been very helpful, in terms of helping us help Aaron with diction and vocabulary, and giving us useful tips on how to avoid meltdown situations. But we still have a lot of ground to cover. Lord, help us.
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