It's a new year, and you've officially blessed us with 6 amazing years in your life! The other day, I started to read an email that I received from the academy of blah blah blah pediatrics. These standard emails don't seem to fit our non-standard life very often. This one predictably began with"It's Year 6! This year your child will do x, y, z...". I had to chuckle. These people have no idea what you will accomplish this year, and neither do I!
That said, I do think its interesting to read articles like this though & benchmark what the "average 6 year old" would be up to this year. But, it did make me wonder where was the article for what the average 36 year old mother of an autistic 6yo daughter will experience this year?!?! Yep, that doesn't exist, but if it was only that easy. Sigh.
So, back to the article... while I do see glimpses of neurotypical development in you, you have a very practical and unique, yet simple way of learning my dear. It's quite fascinating. Let me explain...
There is a common phrase, "a picture is worth a 1,000 words." For you this statement is particularly true. Pictures are your memory and your internal language. Word association and visual thinking. Not a difficult concept, and quite frankly we all do this to some degree on a daily basis.
Let's take Uncle Matthew for example:
•His name is Matthew.
•That cues you to sort through your memory for "files" containing the word "Matthew"
•There was also a "Matthew" in your class last year
•The first thing your teacher Ms. Becca would say to you when getting to class was "good morning to you."
So, with this in mind, what did you say to Uncle Matthew when you'd see him (regardless of time of day)? Well, you pull up your mental picture from school, associating the scene with "Matthew" from your class, and now refer to him as "Uncle Good morning to you." See - fascinating!
So, you may be wondering why wasn't the word "school" instead? Well, Ms. Becca probably never said "welcome to school" as you entered the classroom, but the routine was "good morning to you" & that is the association that stuck.
See the literal thinking there? It's a word association with a memory or picture you've filed in your head. Pretty cool huh?!?
Our world if full of visual thinkers - I was thinking about Daddy's field of marketing. Here is a perfect example. McDonald's has recently dropped the actual word "McDonald's" now from their logo. Now they just use their famous Golden Arches alone in the logo. We all associate the Golden Arches with McDonald's without having to read anything. See? Visual association at work... you just take it to a new level as the basis of nearly all your memories!
Another example has come up recently from a wonderful book that was gifted to you from The Baker Family. The book is about a girl named Lucy and a beautiful butterfly. We have a pretty structured routine and after we've gotten ready for bed, it's story time. The first few nights with your new book started like most. You'd pick the book, dad or I begin reading it, and you would be off quietly organizing something or preparing your "little people" toys to banish in the morning. Even though you would be sitting far away, we would continue to read aloud because we knew you were listening.
In the weeks that followed, you would work your way closer until you were fully engaged and laying next to me on the bed. I started asking questions like "what's that?" pointing to a dragonfly. Without skipping a beat you would say "Blue Dragonfly." I soon discovered that you knew much more detail from the book than I did! One day you shocked us, came downstairs and called out the number of spots on Lucy's dress. 11 spots! Sure enough I went upstairs to check and it was true, Lucy had 11 spots on her dress.
Where did you pick up that detail!? Your visual thinking was processing every little thing, and taking a snapshot to memory.
We've soon discovered that asking you verbal questions like "where is the green bug" or " how many spots are on the ladybug" were becoming a piece of cake (although, I'd never say that to you, because you'd actually be looking to find a real piece of cake, or trying to figure out who's birthday it is!)
Now my dear, you are able to answer just about all of my questions, and even spell words, which makes me think reading isn't to far off. Great job baby!
You are smart Addie, very smart indeed. I will never judge a fish by how well it climbs a tree, so keep working hard and taking it all in. You're doing an amazing job!
I love you.