He Is Not Ready Yet

Nothing sounded more rational, convincing, and more depressing than  the opinion, “He is not ready yet”, expressed  many times by specialists on teaching, on cognitive development, and on language. Many times, my suggestions  that a topic, a skill, or a concept be introduced to Robert must have sounded insane because  they were immediately rejected by listeners, as the skills, I wanted  Robert to learn,  seemed much above his performance level.  The truth is, they appeared  unreachable to me as well.

The alternative I was facing, however, was not pleasant. I had to choose between teaching Robert what ‘he was not ready for’ or not teaching him at all.  Of course, I was familiar with so-called “prerequisite skills”.  But the conundrum was, that teaching prerequisite skills seemed as impossible and /or as difficult as teaching the skill itself.

Only after I jumped, head first, into teaching something new, I was able to  learn how to teach and how to address in the process the prerequisite skills.  Some of those prerequisite skills (or rather parallel skills since they were taught simultaneously) clarified themselves to Robert when they were connected to more advanced concepts.

Unfortunately, the specialists didn’t feel willing to do the same.  I remember asking two speech pathologist to work with Robert on gathering some information about his peers (or one peer) by filling a worksheet from Sabrina Freedman book “Teach Me Language”.  It would be a great opportunity  for Robert to practice asking  questions and initiating contacts with peers.  The answer I received was, “He is not ready yet.” And so, he has not become ready for the next four or five years.

When I started practicing with Robert conditional phrases which started with “ifs”, I didn’t share information about this  activity with Robert’s speech pathologist.  I knew what she would say and I knew that her words  would have discouraged me from trying.

Instead, I approached the conditional statements without any preparation and by trail and error I chose one method as the most promising.   When I  assessed the skill as “emerging”,  I sent the workbook to school.  As far as I know the speech therapist never continued and the book disappeared.

Whenever I hear someone telling me about my son, “He is not ready yet”,  Icecome sad as I know that  I have encountered one more person not ready to teach Robert.