Putting It Together

One of the major gaps in the Monster’s expressive language skill-set is his ability to tell something in a narrative fashion.

Give the kid an object, and most of the time, he’ll give you a fairly good description of the physical or factual qualities of the item with a little bit of prompting.  Ask him about his day, on the other hand… and you get a blank look.

This has been a point of some stress in our lives – I know that while I would love for him to be able to give me a few strung-together sentences, my wife is more upset when faced with children his age (or even a bit younger) who are veritable chatterboxes about what they did at school or the like.  And while I do work with some people who are absolutely terse at the office about some matters… well, they’re also (supposedly) normal adults, as normal as software developers ever get.

The item is, of course, called out on his IEP, but that doesn’t mean that we necessarily should be leaving this to the school to work on.

It’s kind of hard to think of how to help a child with a developmental disability figure out how best to ‘build’ a story, when it comes to us untrained parents.  (Maybe we’re just not asking our SLPs the right questions, to be honest.)  I’ve found myself trying to build them with him while we’re waiting for the bus, starting with the sense of what today is (“Today is…T.. T…” “Tuesday.”  “We’re waiting for the.. ” “Bus.”  “And then you’re going…” “To school.”)  and trying to model enough that he might pick up the example and run with it himself.

He certainly demonstrates that he understands relationships between time and place – if I pick him up at school, he can figure out easily enough that we’re on our way to gymnastics, for example.  It’s just figuring out how to get him to express that understanding aloud that’s eluding us.

Granted, on the grand scheme of things, there are a lot of things like this that we have to work on, and it’s hard to pick just one to start with…

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