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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Line up your ducks Old MacDonald

Sometimes you’re too close to it to notice.

The patently obvious is ignored by my radar.

The reports from school tell me important information that fill in some of the gaps, but I fail to note the duplication at home.

Habituation has set in, not particularly for them, but for us, the parents. We’re so used to the squalking, bleating and rooster noises that we hardly hear them any more. Ear plugs are unnecessary as we just tune out the ‘white noise’ of his mouth, as well as all the clicks, clucks, sucky and blowy noises.

They used to be irritants, now they are more of a semi musical accompaniment, a back drop or wall paper to our daily existence. I imagine, that if you were unfortunate enough to a secure the desk next to him in the classroom, you would have little chance of concentration. We need to address this.

Answer comes to me like a flash of lightening, because I am an American. The quickest solution is probably the best one. The strategic placement of a six inch strip of duct tape. Unfortunately we have to fall back on less immediate methods of assistance.

To understand just how all pervasive this noise machine is, I can give you a little snippet, as examples sometimes help. The noises take precedence over words. They’re easier to produce and require no thought. It’s usually a far more accurate response than searching around the word bank, identifying the right one and then verbalizing it, all of which is terribly time consuming. It is also very hard work. Even if you go to all the effort of finding a word or two and speaking them aloud, attempt articulation, the dim witted adult that you’re talking to, doesn’t get it. How frustrating is that? If adults fail to respond appropriately, or if you the child are under pressure, it’s much easier to just make noises. Part of the benefit of making those noises, a by product as it were, is that you actually feel better just by using them, like a little steam release valve of pent up emotion. The judicial use of squalking can actually aid word production, once the excess pressure is dissippated. Almost a win win position.

I need to remember, that when the rooster crows and nods his head towards the cereal box, although I know he wants me to open it, instead of obeying, I need to prompt or wait for him to find his words. This might seem unkind, but people in the general public are not going to make the same connections that I am able to make, especially if it’s not a box of Kellog’s cornflakes.

I think it’s difficult to understand this fizzling down to the lowest common denominator. If you can spell, write and know the meaning of ‘compromise,’ why would someone like that find it so difficult to ask a simple question like, ‘please can you pour some cereal into my bowl,’ or alternatively if that’s too difficult, skip the words and actually do the pouring yourself?

The answer to that question differs slightly for each of my sons, involves several different steps and theories, all of which would take far to long to explain here.

It’s enough to know that this is the nub of the problem from their perspective ‘too difficult but if I squalk I get results.’ This isn’t so very different from any other child's response in my humble opinion. The key for me, is to remember correct my own behavioural response. This old dog, must learn a new trick. I must not react like Pavlov’s dog.

And less of the 'old' thank you.

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