The Truth about Yes” & “No”

A few weeks ago our little family ventured beyond the boundary of SWFL.  I know: it’s hard to believe.  We are trying to become more active as Riley becomes healthier and we have more energy and time to explore.  Our adventure took us to the Tampa Bay Aquarium where we met up with Miss Jessica, Riley’s 2013-14 ESE teacher, and met her beautiful one year old son for the first time.
Seeing her reminded me how one determined teacher with a mission can make a difference in the life of a child and their family.  This is especially true for children with learning disabilities.  Miss Jessica taught Riley to signal “yes” and “no!” Riley could communicate!

This event was one of the most amazing, humbling and even confusing moments John and I ever encountered as parents.  Were we sad because Riley had the ability all along and we failed to help him?  Were we happy because he could be reached? Were we sad because he had missed so much?  Why could only one person achieve this feat?  Why couldn’t earlier teachers have taken on this challenge?  How much did Riley truly understand about his situation?  How much sadder is your handicap when you have the wish to share your thoughts and needs?  How much lonelier?  How much more can Riley achieve and how do we keep this momentum going?
Lost in our own confusion, we continue to try to enjoy every little insight Riley will share.  Many days he is stingy with his hand gestures, reserving them primarily for his school teachers who continue to encourage his “yes’s” and “no’s.”  That’s enough! Enough dwelling on the woulda coulda shoulda… these two parents must move along and not be wrapped in mistakes but appreciate the achievements and possibilities.
I delight in the exchange below shared by Miss Jessica:
September 2014 (201)
From: Jessica
Sent: Sunday, May 5, 2013 10:18:56 AM
Subject: RE: Thursday

Has Riley been showing off his yes/no skills to you this weekend?  It was so funny, on Thursday he was giving me a hard time saying that we weren’t friends anymore because I scolded him about fibbing about his diaper being dry.

Me: Riley, is your diaper wet.
Riley: No.
Me: OK, you were dry this morning so let me peek and make sure you’re telling the truth.  (he was wet)
Me: Ok Riley, you’re fibbing. You’re diaper is wet! It’s important that you tell me the truth using your “yes” and “no”. Are you ready to get on the changing table?
Riley: Lips pursed, looking away, no response.
Me: Are you mad at me?
Riley: Yes.
Me: Ok, do you want Miss Amy to come and help you instead?
Riley: Yes.
I left and Amy came to help. When they came out they put Riley on the sidelyer for playtime.
Me: Ok, Riley are we friends still?
Riley: No.
At this point we made a big deal about him saying we weren’t friends.  He started cracking up laughing and every time I asked him he kept saying “no”.
Luckily, on Friday he said we are friends again!
Jessica
Another share  of the week from Riley’s favorite program:

Kim, the Music Therapist from Partners In Care, has adapted to Riley’s communication method as well.   She wrote to me a couple weeks back:

“Hi its music kim. I just wanted to share that riley had a great time with music yesterday. Singing along with some songs i did with the guitar. He really loved the song brave. When i asked if i should tell you he smiled them raised his yes hand!
Kim, MT”

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Champions for Children and Partners In Care Music Therapist Kim. Photo Courtesy of Hope Hospice.

 Last week Miss Kim brought special visitors to school from the Champions for Kids Program (C4C) along with Hope Hospice/Partners In Care Music Therapist Kim.  They are pairing with Hope to raise money for the kids programs and we did a visit at the school today.

 

Riley really seemed to enjoy having new people around (mostly men) and was even showing off again for some of the songs.  He was vocalizing to answer questions, smiling and just showing overall interest.  He again sang along with the song Brave and smiled as he was asked if it was his new favorite song. These men were in awe as he started to respond to the different music and express what he liked!!

One of the pictures shows the excitement on the visitors face and you can see Riley’s mouth open because he was singing.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/hopehcs/

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Photo Courtesy of Hope Hospice

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2 Responses to The Truth about Yes” & “No”

  1. heidi says:

    It’s great that he was able to enjoy the time with visitors.

  2. Lux Ganzon says:

    Riley’s got humor and still is a sweet sweet kid. I hope he keeps getting better and healthier. 🙂

    God bless you more!

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