What does that mean?

img_0099Ben’s language has been exploding lately. It’s not that his vocabulary is growing. He’s always had LOTS of *words*, it’s putting the words together to fully express his intent that has been a challenge for Ben. But not only that. Beyond requesting things, naming things and answering questions there has been a void in Ben’s typical conversation repetoire. It’s actually one of the long-term “wishes” I’ve had for Ben and RDI. I’ve longed for Ben to develop CURIOSITY.

I didn’t notice it at first, but as Will got older and his play matured, it was easier to see the deficit. Ben’s play lacked the investigative nature of exploration. He didn’t experiment, or try new ways of using a toy. His pretend play was very very simple and would stall out after declaring who he was pretending to be (“I’m Dadda”, “I’m the worker”.)

But now. Wow. It started with some non-fiction picture books we have. They’re filled with photos of animals and lots of sidebar information about them. Ben would pour over each page when looking at books by himself, and would request the books be read aloud to him every chance he got. “Under the Sea” was a favorite and he loved to comment not only that there was a scuba diver, but that the diver “uses a face mask and snorkel” and that “divers can take pictures with an underwater camera”.

But then. Oh, then. Ben has seen photos of Mark and I when we used to scuba dive. They come up fairly often on our ‘photo slide show’ screen saver. Comparisons between the diver in the book and the “Mama was a diver” photos started happening. Not such a big deal in our neuro-typical world, but Capital B-I-G in Ben’s.

From there he’s progressed to *asking questions* about things. At first, it was “what’s that?” or “what’s that called?” But often, the answer *wasn’t enough* for Ben. He’s figured out he can get MORE information by asking the right questions. So now he follows up his initial query with more questions, usually “what’s that mean?”, to *clarify*! And to make sure of his understanding, he’ll repeat what I’ve said and sometimes, not often, but sometimes, will PARAPHRASE the definition by relating his new experience to a past one! It’s really really incredible. I’m loving every minute, even when the questions get tricky and I defer to the husband. “hmm, that’s a good question for Daddy!”

Here’s a sampling of what Ben’s been wondering about this month:

“What’s coal?” then, “what’s carbon mean?” (one for Daddy!)
“What’s sleigh mean?”
“What’s ‘rejoice’ mean?”
“What’s needle and thread?”
“What’s this called?” (garland) “What’s that mean?”
“What’s that mean–celebrate?”
“What’s manger?”
“What’s shepherd mean?”
And on and on and on…

But that’s not all. There have been wonderful developments physically with Ben’s balance, coordination, and strength. The desire to relate and connect with others expands every day. And he’s reading. Not memorizing, Reading. I’ll save these milestones for another post, however. For now we’re celebrating [“celebrate means I dance and sing and have a party.”] CURIOSITY!

Wishing you many Little Miracles!
Merry Christmas!

GigiMama

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2 Responses to What does that mean?

  1. I find that the development of genuine curiosity is one of the greatest things that I have the privilege to see develop through RDI. When kids begin to ask meaningful questions, it shows us that they are aware of what they know and what they don’t know, they recognize that they can access that knowledge through another person, and that they are internally motivated to find out about something new. Amazing, and definitely celebration-worthy!
    -Nicole

  2. Pingback: Birth of a Reader « PajamaMama

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