I wrote out the “Plan” of what we had to accomplish during our session. He read it and asked, “What do you mean ‘think of questions and give answers’?”
“Good question,” I replied. “So, we will read the book for number 1. Then for number 2, we’re going to use the question words and think of questions about the story. Then we’ll have to figure out the answers to the questions.”
He scrunched up his face. “I don’t get it,” he said.
This is so big. Please tell me you get how big this is. Years ago, maybe even months ago, Joey wouldn’t have told me he didn’t get it. And I don’t know why – maybe because his neurons didn’t yet have the association that a direction + a swirly foggy sensation = I’m confused + need to say something to convey that. But he would’ve nodded and smiled, and halfway through I would’ve realized that he had no idea what we were doing. Or seemingly out of nowhere I would’ve seen seemingly random behaviors – all a way of his brain trying to convey the confusion. But today? He knew. He knew and he TOLD me! Self-awareness! Self-advocacy! Communicating! Wait, it gets better.
So I wrote it down for him, just like I did on the whiteboard. I silently wrote:
-Think of questions to ask about each page
He silently followed along. He clarified (he clarified!), “You’ll write the answers to the questions. That’s fair.” And I agreed. And then he looked up at me, again, nodded, and confirmed, “Oh. Okay. I get it now.”
He told me. Again!
And so, I did my try-not-to-get-teary thing and told him how awesome it was that he told me when he was confused, and told me when it made sense in his brain again, and he wasn’t really into the mushy-gushy and was really just ready to read the book, so we moved right on, but really I didn’t move on because I’m still sitting here thinking about how awesome he is.
And how some small things are not small. Some small things are huge. And how the skills are there, and they come, and how they come in their own way, in their own time. And how we need to – always – meet them and their neurology halfway. And how I just feel so blessed and privileged to be the one who gets to witness these incredible successes.