Sunday, May 25, 2014
Thank you, Anonymous. I'd love to talk with you on the phone or at least email you. My email link is in my profile. I'll pray for your family for sure.
I think you are correct in that there does seem to be a window of learning. I know that neurologically, a child between 3-6 years old has the best chance of recovery after any type of brain injury. Infants usually do poorly and for older children it depends on the nature and location of the injury. That said, I'm amazed to see the development of my 2.5 yr. old compared to my older girls. She has already passed them up in so many ways. By the time she's 5, she's going to be light-years ahead.
She imitates with purpose everything from her body position to her actions. Today at church, she took her toy baby bottle and shook it and looked at the bottom of it, shook it and looked at it several times before feeding her doll. I do this with her bottles. I shake them to mix the formula and look at the bottom to make sure all the formula chunks are mixed in.
She always comes over to watch me tend Henry. She squats down like I do, pets him very, very, very gently (even with her casts!), watching him getting his medicine, watches him go to his litter box. When he's finished, she's finished.
Her timing with human interactions is impeccable. She's like an old soul in a young body and I know she'll be highly capable and responsible. Her non-verbal cues and responses to people is just perfect. It's hard to describe but even when I brush her teeth, she opens her mouth and tilts her head correctly to cooperate in the most efficient way. I had to teach my two oldest how to position their head, mouth and tongue so that I could brush their teeth.
The book Parenting the Hurt Child describes it best, I think. As babies, our children never had interaction. They didn't learn that crying led to care, that crying for food would bring food and a full tummy, they didn't learn about soft things because their cribs had plywood for a mattress, they didn't learn to look around their world because their world was a plain ceiling. As a result, they didn't form normal neuro pathways, or "learning hooks" to "hook" other bits of knowledge onto. Now, when knowledge comes into their brains, it doesn't have a "hook" so it floats around, never finding relevance, and if often then forgotten. An example is a baby who cries due to hunger and gets milk. Later, being hungry leads to milk and puree, then soft chewable foods. Soon, the child I chewing all kinds of things, developing preferences, starts to help dish out and prepare the food, learns where it comes from, etc... By the time a child is 7-8 yrs. old they have a ton of information about the hunger-food relationship, cold vs. frozen food, meat, veggies, fruits, etc... My 15 yr. old thought that meat was a vegetable. It's not just the language, though that's part of it, it's mostly her perception of the context in which I use the word "vegetables."
How can I teach Blossom to use a microwave when she can't learn plastic from metal?
How do I teach her and Sissy to look around their world with awareness. They seem to see in tunnel vision. How do I get it across to them that most of what an individual learns is from watching others or other means of vicarious exposure, but basically comes from experiences of some kind of another. They believe my mom and teachers taught me every single thing I know. I've told them that I learn from reading books, from all the people I see in my life, even if I don't speak with them, I learn from movies, from prayer, trial and error, experimenting with ideas of my own, etc... They miss so much. It's so sad.