Saturday, 10 October 2015

Phoenix and memory or "The Day Phoenix shook Wren out of her clothes"

Phoenix has a significant language delay for a child her age. While Phoenix can talk along with and repeat the phrases of Frozen, tell us about her wants and needs and describe what is happening around her, her ability to have a conversation is quite weak. We can't ask her what she did that day in school. Well, we can ask, but she doesn't have the skills yet o tell us .

So it can be difficult to ascertain what Phoenix remembers, how far back her memories go back, and how much information is retained.

One thing I do know is that Phoenix has a phenomenal memory for language and sight words. She knows all 200 Dolche sight words as well as about 200 more from her daily life. I use sets of sight words as well as words I make myself on foam sheets. The idea originally came from using foam letter and numbers in the bath. Phoenix loved them, and I tried to find bathtub sight words on the internet to no avail. So I decided to make them myself, and it was a huge it.

Another more annoying interesting area of memory is of things that used to be hers. Clothes that have been packed away for 2 years and finally brought back out to hand down to her sisters elicit fits of indignation.

How dare Ash and Wren wear her clothes.

Sadly, we can't even use the "look, these clothes don't fit you anymore" logic, because Phoenix can actually squeeze into them. Her waist size hasn't changed in years, she just keeps on growing up.

An incident a few weeks ago illustrates this nicely. Mike was taking a bathroom break and had left Phoenix and her sisters in the safety of the family room. Mike hears Phoenix crying, Wren shrieking
and comes out to find Phoenix holding her sister by the legs, attempting to shake her out of her jeans.
Jeans which used to be Phoenix's and which Phoenix wasndemanding back. The top is also objectionable having once  been hers too. As you see in the below picture, Wren managed to keep her top but lose the jeans.

They all survived, non the worse for wear, so to speak. But oh boy, does Phoenix's sense of entitlement and justice to rival my own.

The same seems to go for Phoenix's toys. Of course we let Ash and Wren take a turn with most toys except a precious few of the favorites. It's absolutely adorable to see them have their turn then bring the toy to their big sister to have back. "Here Feesix" they both say. She fiercely guards and protects her things and the little girls are finally learning that the easiest thing to do is to just give Phoenix what she wants.

Another interesting memory for Phoenix is seeing a cat sitting by the canal by our house. I'll bet that Phoenix was only 3 when she saw that cat, yet from time to time she still walks by the canal and asks "Where's the cat?"

One thing that stands out in the research on kids with DS is that they are strong visual learners and weak verbal learners. This is why visual schedules, flash cards, phonics videos and iPad apps are great for her learning and are primarily responsible for her wide range of knowledge.

I continue to look forward to seeing how much of the regular curriculum that Phoenix is able to access both with her aide and with my enrichment. 

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