We’ve had a six week break from RDI as daughter No. 2’s engagement with GCSE exams proved to be rather hostile for all involved – never mind learning how to modify your speech for an autistic child, there needs to be a communication guide for parents of an exam-stressed teenager. In short – if you must engage in conversation – put a flak jacket on first!
Thankfully, a cease-fire having been declared (exams finally finishing), it was time to dust off the video camera and the imagination and plan a new activity around our current objective. Perspective taking.
Ellen has shown many times her own individual perspective; at the weekend I was involved in the Circus-themed village fete and had manned my stall dressed as Marcel Marceau – however to Ellen I was a Zebra pure and simple. She even made me a bracelet saying Zebra!
However, we are trying to test whether or not Ellen realises that different people may have a different view of the same thing, and that these views are equally valid. She seems to have a burgeoning realisation of this; she will turn a book to show me if I say I can’t see something, and we had fun with blotto painting a few weeks ago. We both, however needed to get back into the swing of planned engagements and so I picked what I thought would be a fairly simple task – to make animal faces out of coloured dough.
Unfortunately the dough was rock hard and even I struggled to mould it into shape. Mindful that the actual making of the faces wasn’t the main focus of the engagement, I did help Ellen roll and shape her pieces of dough. Mine was going to be a zebra but Ellen nicked all the stripes off it telling me as she did so that it was going to be a panda. I’m not sure she’s quite grasped the idea that my perspective is ‘equally valid’!
What surprised me the most about the activity was not how easily we both slipped back into our familiar roles, but that on a couple of occasions Ellen used language in a more imaginative than purely functional way. I had a go at guessing that the squashed black and yellow face at the top of the picture was a fish and rather than just saying ‘no it’s a lion’, Ellen to my astonishment said ‘it’s much better than that’ 🙂 .
Perhaps that’s how she felt about Marcel and the Zebra….can’t say I disagree!