Learning Robert

The question I posed had many answers.  The first was that Robert must have memorized the order in which the program presented the pictures.  According to this theory Robert responded to the complex pattern of visual stimuli.  He was still not given credit for ability to discriminate aurally between labels.  It has to be said that as long as I remember Robert always had an ability to discriminate aurally between specific sounds.  What he didn’t have was to understand sounds as communication tools. So Evelyn, one of the teachers, spent some time on the computer program trying to figure out the pattern of presentation.  She didn’t discover any. The second theory was that Robert’s ability to discriminate among sounds was much sharper than in typically developing children and thus he couldn’t generalize into one “word”  differently sounding utterances.  Whenever someone said a word, the same word, for Robert, according to that theory, it presented itself as different sound.  Different in pitch, length, volume, accent, and whatever else can be different.  That faulty, human pronunciation was contrasted with a consistent computer voice that was providing directions in exactly the same manner.  That theory was consistent with my observation of Robert’s ability to discriminate among sounds.  For instance he knew (without looking) which car passing outside his apartment belonged to his mother.

As you might have noticed, both theory would opt for Robert having and applying some special skills not observed typically in children. One being ability to memorize complex pattern and second having a hearing too sharp for his own good. I don’t negate a notion that Robert possesses some special skills. Unfortunately, I encounter them often and blame them for most of my difficulties in teaching my son. Still  a few months later, when Robert finally gain some minimal grasp of language as a tool of communication a simpler explanation presented itself.

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