When meeting the daunting task of having to say goodbye to one of your favorite “little” friends following a faraway visit: listen carefully to his/her method of handling your unwanted departure. Recently, I experienced this event with one of my favorite and brightest two-year-old buddies. She gave me one of her most precious pouting, thoughtful expressions and proceeded to review the sequence of events for the day that she had gathered from our conversations and actions: “Grandma and Terry going to Marble Falls, Ab going school, _____ drive car school, ____ pick Ab up, Mama come home, Mama come home see Ab.” Well done, Ab! Of course, I proceeded in following up with extending her language by repeating her well-spoken sequence of the day back to her, affirming her beliefs. Then,
she was all ready to say goodbye and get in the car to go to school.
We listen to our children and learn how they comfort themselves!
Are you needing a way to encourage your teenagers to talk about their day? Would you like them to share some thoughts with you, besides what they would like you to buy at the grocery store for them to eat? Bring back the jigsaw puzzle and COME TO THE TABLE. Provide a few empty chairs and sit down yourself. If you are able to place the puzzle in a spot near where your teens occasionally pass by, you will soon find them pausing to pick up puzzle pieces that catch their eyes, or searching for elusive pieces that fit those empty spots. Soon, your teens will take a seat themselves, in order to pause a little longer. As they work the puzzle beside you, sit silently yourself for a bit and you will discover that soon they are commenting about the puzzle or talking to you. Connect to their statements with your responses. Avoid asking them questions at first, join the conversation, and listen to the magic. It WORKS!
And, yes, boys, our pets are still eating the pieces that fall on the floor!
It occupies my days and my mind. I used to give presentations on information from Dr. Jane Healey, who I brought to Abilene to speak about her book “Failure to Connect” regarding her prediction that technology would ultimately change our children’s brains. As I assess 2- and 3-year old children as the SLP on an Early Childhood Autism team, I am seeing a great number of children who do not meet the criteria of autism, but who do demonstrate evidence of “different brains” and spend an extraordinary time within a “television” or “game time” environment. If you begin hours of this activity prior to age 2, there will be differences.