Sunday, October 7, 2007

What's in a name?

Learning the names of the kids in his class was a big challenge for MK last year. They don't take attendance at the beginning of each day in this school, so name learning is harder than it was at his old school. At last year's IEP meeting MK's aid suggested that this year, she take pictures of everyone in the class so that MK could work on learning their names.

She did that and then, at home, we printed the pictures out and made flash cards out of them. The actual memorization took quiet a while. MK is good at memorization (go ahead and ask him any fact contained in the Pokedex if you don't believe me) but he has an aversion of deliberately learning things. He considers it unnatural -- like a sort of violation of his head space. Apparently, it's one thing for knowledge to appear in your head in a natural manner, but another to try and force it in. I can kind of see where he is coming from, but this is one of those cases where I take the very nuanced parental approach of, "Oh, yeah. Tough." Actually, in this case, I bribed him. A couple of weeks later he learned the names that go with all 30 pictures and received his bribe.

This has been really good in terms of talking about what goes on at school. It is also our theory that it will: i) make it easier for him to think about his classmates as individuals, which hopefully will ii) make him more likely to treat them as individuals, which in turn would iii) predispose his classmates to treating MK like an individual.

It seems to be working out. The other day at MacDonald's we bumped into three people from his school. He greeted each of them by name, even though only two were in his class (so knowing the third kid's name was a bonus). Tonight, we met yet another classmate at the video store and, once again MK responded to "Hi, MK," with "Hi, XX." He then went even further by actually asking the kid what movie he was getting. The appropriateness of it blew me away. The other thing that really impressed me was that, while MK asked this question with his back turned to XX (as he is wont to do), XX not only answered, but didn't seem to mind having an exchange with the back of MK's head. Looks like we may be having some iii) going on already.


Niksmom said...

More wonderful things happening every day, it sounds like, with MK. I loved reading about the (brief) conversation with the classmate. :-)

Marla Fauchier Baltes said...

Ah, the joys and heartache of facilitating conversations. I like what you did with the cards. We did something similar when our daughter's anxiety was through the roof. We printed out pictures of her friends at school and places we go to, things she likes to play and wrote common phrases on the back of them for her to read and practice. We then laminated them, put them on a ring and took it everywhere we went. She liked looking at the pictures and soon she learned the sayings. This was when she was about five years old. We still have them and she gets a kick out of reading them and thinks it was weird that I made it for her. Granted, her conversational skills with children still needs a lot of work.

Mom of 3 boys said...

Mt son recognizes his class mates and says Hi, but can't remember there names..I guess that is a start.

Casdok said...

What progress! Well done!!