When M. was over on Saturday I made use of an having an artist-in-residence to create a manipulative that would help R. to learn to draw a face. I envisioned a laminated (of course) game along the lines of Mr. Potato Head with eyes, nose, and mouth that could be moved and placed on a face shape. My thinking was that if we removed the pencil skills part and focused on identifying facial parts, both having R. identify her own and identifying others, both other people's and in photographs, we could build her mental image of "face."
Here is what M. created for me. (Sorry about the photo quality... I was taking them quickly because K. has an ortho. appointment in a half an hour.)
Here is the blank face with the various parts.
An example of the some of the parts on the face.
Well, R. was highly interested in what M. was doing, and M. was great and took time to explain each thing and have R. show M. where each part was on her own face. M. also discovered that earrings were the clue to catching R.'s interest. (Thus the ears, with earrings on the game.) Sometimes you just have to figure out what is going to give a child a reason to learn something. Remember K. not learning his colors until J. thought to tie the colors to the Cars characters?
After the face parts were all made, R. went to get a notebook and pen and sat down at the kitchen table. Until this point, I had had no success in getting R. to even try to do any representational drawing; she had remained fixated on trying to draw letters and numbers, though this was extremely hit or miss and there was no real meaning in them for her. I cannot tell you how thrilled I was when she was willing to try to draw a flower. Then M. sat down next to her and went part by part showing her how to draw a person. R. then attempted to draw one herself. Here it is...
M.'s is on the right and R.'s is on the left. (Notice the ears on R.'s person have earrings.) This is huge. Huge. Huge. Huge. She then went on to do other faces and people. She even tried to draw a dinosaur because that is G.'s particular drawing fancy at the moment.
The transition had been difficult for R. While she was happy enough on the surface, we also knew that because of her language and intellectual issues that it was also completely baffling. I think it was a huge shock and as a result we saw a lot of regression in many areas. This weekend seems to have been a turning point. There was the beginning drawing, plus she is also now a little willing to try using English. We have a long way to go, but it seems as though at least now, we are facing in the right direction. It's a start. It doesn't take much hope to keep people going.
And my children do have hope. They are in a family who loves and cares for them through good times and bad; a family who will stick by them even during the really yucky parts of life. Right now my heart is breaking for a boy who is coming very, very close to never having a loving family in his life. Do you remember me advocating so hard for Peter? Well, while I am thrilled that Peter has a family so very close to bringing him home (to Chicago!!), there is another boy, a friend of Peter's, who through no fault of his own, is still waiting. At the time I was advocating for Peter, he had a friend, Jimmy, also blind and a pianist, who was waiting for his family to arrive. Sadly, the family who was going to adopt Jimmy could not complete the adoption, and Jimmy now is without a family coming for him. He turns 14 in July, fourteen weeks away. There is precious little time for a family to complete the adoption. In order to squeak in under the wire, a family would really need to be starting right away. Can you imagine turning 14 and knowing you will never know the love of a mother and father? TM and H. both turn 14 this year, just a few months after Jimmy. Can you imagine? Jimmy needs a family. He needs a family who is willing to commit to him right now. I have no idea if an adoption can be started from scratch and be done in time. Ideally, a family would be able to add Jimmy onto a current adoption... or if a family recently returned home and had a current I800 on file, it could perhaps cut enough time off to get it done. Please pray for Jimmy. Please pray that his family find him in time.
Jimmy (in red)
You can also read about him on the Twenty Less advocacy site.
Or listen to him play the piano.
How could you not want this child to be a part of your family?