Reading My Mind

October 26, 2016

No, I don’t believe it.  I know that Robert is not reading my mind.  I know I don’t send him telepathically correct (or wrong ) answers.  I know that. Still,  there is something deeply unsettling in the way my thinking (?) determines the answers Robert is giving.  When I think about correct answer, Robert answers correctly ALL the time.  When I purposefully think about the wrong answer, Robert answers incorrectly more than 50% of the time.  Moreover, when he gives the right answer, there is this short, not longer than fraction of a second, moment when he hesitates as if he were shaking off the first incorrect ( I assume) response that came to his mind.

Even more concerning is the fact that my presence seem to influence Robert’s quality of thinking.  When I sit next to him (well, at the corner of the table), he rushes through answers without a mistake and without much hesitation.  When I go to the kitchen, leaving Robert with the same page of tasks, Robert hesitates, stops working, reads without noticing those two or three words that are the essence of the question and writes nothing or writes wrong answers.

For the last few days, we have been working on questions from third grade Daily Geography. They seem easy.   First, we talk about the map, then I underline important words in the question.  It might be one word.  For instance “continent” or there might be a few  words, “island, east of Mexico”  Then I ask and Robert answers, but I don’t let him write down his correct replies.  Finally, I ask Robert to read the questions and answer them, while I go to the kitchen.  But he either doesn’t answer, or he reads mechanically and answers incorrectly. For instance, instead of writing names of the three largest countries in North America, he writes names of three oceans surrounding the continent.  He seems lost and helpless.

We do the same pages, the next day and the following day.  I ask Robert to point to the important (defining) words in the question.  I hope he remembers from the previous days not the answer but this part of the question which is supposed to direct him toward the answer.  Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn’t.

It is possible that too much of one to one work, too many hours of being thought that teachers or therapists are the sources of answers made Robert extremely sensitive to the slightest movements of cheeks, eyes, or mouth.  He reads those movements and provides responses. without them he is lost, as he still doesn’t rely on his knowledge.  It is also possible that he is so used to my presence that without me he feels lost and helpless.  I cannot understand that mechanism.  I know he should know.  I know he knows.  And yet,

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