Thursday, October 15, 2009

What to say

Elizabeth's Resource Consultant met with us to discuss Elizabeth's progress in the JK program. Elizabeth is doing great; she is initiating play with some of the children, she is sitting her in new chair and completes her seat work independantly and is answering all the teachers questions correctly (even if it is not her turn). Elizabeth has decided to call herself Eliz and now signs her schoolwork with Eliz which I think is pretty smart as Elizabeth is such a long name to print.
One thing her RC mentioned was other children are noticing Elizabeth's differences and asking questions and how would we like her to respond. What do you say to other children without labeling Elizabeth and having her stigmatized? Do we talk about how she was tiny when she was born and needs more time to get stronger or do we say she is wobbly and needs extra help? Do we have this discussion with Elizabeth present and include her? I thought we had a couple years before these questions would begin.


Sherry C said...

Sounds like she is doing so great. Lots of kids ask about Ashley difference how come she can't walk or why can't she talk? i've been saying it's taking her more time and that she is working on walking or talking. The kids seem satisfied with that answer but I'm talking for her so it's pretty different they Elizabeth answering for herself. I hope you get better advice.

Tasha said...

I don't comment often, but read regularly. My preemie is only a year old so I do not have personal experience, only an idea of how I think I would approach it. I don't think little kids will make the connection of she was little when she was born and now needs help. I think that you can say Eliz (so cute that she shortened it) is just a little wobbly so she uses her special leg braces to help her, and she needs a little more time and help. Then follow up to say it would be great if everyone would be ready to help her if she needs any help because we are all friends, and that is what friends do: they help each other.

I am not an expert by any means, I did teach sunday school for a few years and have an idea of kids and how their little minds work. I hope that helps!

Anonymous said...

Because she can speak for herself, seems reasonable to include her. I recently linked a post on this topic -

This reminds of the whole question of where to babies come from - often young children are satisfied with a small amount of information, increasing with age.

I also like the idea of stating the positive vs the negative. I would try not to use the wobbly word and talk about how the braces help her walk better. If that satisfies then no more is needed.

Another common question, once children are given the concept of germs, is whether others can 'catch' her condition. Reassurance that no, her differences cannot be passed person-to-person. I can't in this moment make a good suggestion for answering how she 'got that way' (imitation of a child), but I will come back if anything comes to mind.

I stopped by tonight to specifically ask you if you have ever explored TheraTogs? I just read this post (blogger in Australia) and it sparked me to think of BizzyLizzy, er, Eliz.