I mentioned I have a new tutoring student. She is in kindergarten and has developmental delays, both physical and otherwise. A petite little thing, I need to hold her hand to climb the stairs to the tutoring room where I work. She doesn’t often look me in the eyes unless I’ve told her she made a mistake or has a wrong answer, when she looks at me with eyebrow cocked, as if annoyed with me for not complying with her view of the way things are. She often repeats nursery rhymes and facts she’s heard about random things, word-for-word, in that way I know so well from my own son.
She has a tube of some sort – I haven’t asked – and doesn’t take much food orally, so I brought stickers today for working hard for me. She is whip smart, knows all of her letters, and their sounds, as well as many, many numbers. We’ve been working a bit on adding (up to 5), and clapping syllables. At some point today, she chose a sticker of a rhinoceros. “The rhinoceros, ‘rhino’ for short, has a horn on his nose,” she recites. “Rhinoceros!” I say, “How many syllables?”
“Rhi-no-cer-os!” she says with a clap for each syllable, as I toss a foam block onto the table for each clap. She smiles broadly as she sees the blocks splay out in front of her. She taps each block as she repeats each syllable, “Rhi-no-cer-os!” she says, victorious. “How many?” I ask. “One-two-three-four!” she replies, tapping each block again. “Four!” she exclaims, triumphant.
I am just as excited, happy that I am able to help her make a connection, giving her something concrete to hold on to while she tackles these abstract concepts. She makes my day. 🙂