Lessons

In speech therapy today, Patrick’s therapist started by asking him to climb up onto his chair. The chairs in the therapy room are not particularly large and they aren’t particularly stable. Patrick’s only just learned to climb onto furniture at all. Like, literally, within the past two weeks.

I wasn’t sure what he’d do. At first, he was pretty confident. He walked right up to the chair, got a good hold, and climbed on. He ended up kneeling on the chair, though, and didn’t know how to fix it. In trying, he ended up on the table instead.

The therapist was persistent, though. She just kept asking him to get up on the chair and luring him over to show him the fun puzzle she had picked for him to play with.

To his credit, Patrick didn’t give up. He’d come over and rethink the problem. He tried to find ways to get her to let him play without climbing up. And when that failed, he tried to get her to let him choose another toy.

The point of the exercise was NOT for Patrick to learn to climb onto his chair. The point was to get him to use his language to ask for help.

Finally, he went up to her and told her “stuck.” That was enough of a request for help. She told asked him to say “help” and then they practiced that word and the correct form of the sign. And then, she helped him to climb into the chair and they had a great session playing with puzzles and pirates.

I think I’m a lot like that sometimes. It’s not that I don’t want help. It’s that sometimes I don’t even understand the problem well enough to know what to ask for.

I guess I’ll only learn by continuing to try.

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