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Telling other 孩子们 about disabilities—my conversation with a 6 year old

I had an unexpected opportunity to have a deep conversation with a 6 year old a few weeks ago. She came in while I was 喂食 埃维 lunch in a quiet room away from a party. The chatty girl first asked what 埃维 was watching, and then did a double take when 埃维 babbled something in response to the 雪 she was watching.

“Why doesn’t she talk,”she asked. I braced myself and answered that her mouth muscles are not very strong, and she is still learning how to move them to talk. 

“Oh. I’m sad that 埃维 can’t talk.”  My mama 心 felt grateful that she felt the same emotions as I do for 埃维 each day. I thanked her for wanting good things for 埃维, and assured her (and myself) that 一 day 埃维 will speak only a way that others can understand. 

I asked 埃维 something where she answered in the affirmative with 标志语言. I then told the girl that this is what 埃维 signed in order to say“yes.”  Our new little friend was ecstatic when 埃维 signed“yes”again and she informed me that 埃维 meant“yes,”as if she knew it all along. 

“I wish she could play with me,” she said.  I answered that 埃维 could play with her, and that she liked to play 厨房. She asked if she could bring out the 厨房 玩具 for 埃维, and I said sure!

She lugged a big plastic box of 厨房 玩具 over, and when she invited 埃维 to come play, 埃维 paused her show on her iPad, put it down, and went to play. They played cooperatively, mainly the girl 请讲 to me while I encouraged 埃维 to explore the 厨房 玩具. But it was great to see them side by side. 

The girl asked how other people know what 埃维 is saying, and I introduced her to the Touch Chat 应用程式 on the iPad. I told 埃维 to say something to her on the device, and 埃维 said“goodbye.”😂 But the girl was fascinated and announced,“I really like this! Why doesn’t 埃维 use it on Sundays in Sunday Scbool?”I told her that the other 孩子们 see it as a toy, and it doesn’t get used as much unless the teacher doesn’t understand what 埃维 is saying. She pondered this, and I could hear the wheels turning in her head.“Well, I think this is great,” she stated.

This conversation had me thinking. 埃维 deserves to have a 语音 in Sunday School too, but the device shouldn't be a distraction. We will need to help the teachers to describe the device to the other 孩子们 as something that helps 埃维 talk, and that there would be a no-hands policy. Inclusion means helping everyone to participate, and my job as a parent is to empower others to help 埃维 to be fully 在 the table, 语音 and all. I am so thankful for the teachers who volunteer their Sunday mornings, and especially 埃维’s 1:1 aide who does it out of 爱 for 埃维. She is our partner in helping 埃维 to participate, and I can’t wait to brainstorm with her. 

Leave it to a 6 year old to share some wisdom with me. I can't wait to see what she becomes when she grows up!

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