As of Today 7

July 16

Robert returned home excited.  He went on  a field trip with his friends and teachers from his summer program.  They visited Quincy Market in Boston.  What made me excited, however, was that Robert could answer two questions. “Where did you go on your field trip?”


“What did you ride to get to Boston?”


Given how difficult it is for Robert to answer the simplest questions about his own life, and specially about what has already happened, I found this responses both gratifying and surprising .
Unfortunately, he was still confused by a differently worded question, “How did you get there?”  He understands what “how” means but still doesn’t know how to answer questions that begin with “How?”  It is as if he needed a one word cue pointing him in a right direction.Sadly, I don’t know that word myself.

During our evening study hour,  Robert was replacing lowercase letters with capital ones in all  proper nouns.  It was easy, almost mechanical exercise for him.  At the end of the page, however, he faced a task of writing a short paragraph about visiting his favorite place.  I was sure he would choose New York City or Disneyland.  That was what I always suggested to him when he was not able to  make choice by himself.  As Robert hesitated, I mentioned  New York City. Robert responded with a shrewd grin and said “Boston”.  I was not sure, if he REALLY meant it and thus I asked, “So what is your favorite place?”


The answer was clear and the smile clearly indicated that Robert knew not only what he said, but also what impression that answer would make on me.  It was,  after all, his proclamation of independence from…me.   He quickly  and bravely wrote the first sentence, “My favorite place is Boston.”  Then he looked at me as if he was  lost.  Oh well, sudden independence would do that to everybody.  So I helped him to steer  his words toward South Station and Quincy Market.

As I am writing this post I realize that providing Robert with new experiences , experiences out of ordinary routines, might evoke in him a need to use language to share them with others. That need can  lead him to finding  words helping him describing his own life and sharing his experiences with others.

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