Presume Competence

Last night I participated in Lily’s occupational therapy session with the amazing Katherine.  Katherine tends to have a difficult time with Lily as she doesn’t come until the end of the day (sometimes not arriving until 8pm) and Lily is tired, and done with therapy (she likely had at least 4 hours of it earlier in the day).  So I help when I can.  Sometimes I’m too distracting.  But last night wasn’t one of those evenings.

We worked the entire session around reading two of Lily’s favorite books – ‘Pete the Cat’ and ‘Don’t let the pigeon drive the bus’.  Yes, she still loves the pigeon book.

When I read to her, I try to make it as interactive as possible – asking her to turn the page, point to the pigeon, say ‘bye’, or ‘no’ at the appropriate times, etc…  So I do push her.  A bit.  Well, last night with Katherine, I was completely blown away.  Katherine helped me ‘push’ Lily a bit further and the things Lily was able to do was incredible.

Not only was she able to correctly point to the pigeon (who she desperately wants to drive the bus, by the way), but the bus driver AND the bus.  She knew ALL of them.  Whereas previously I was only asking her to pinpoint one object, I learned that she can easily differentiate among the three objects on the page.

Also, Katherine was able to get Lily to do some fantastically complicated physical feats by motivating her to turn the page.  She seamlessly and independently went from laying on her back, to sitting up, leaning forward, crawling to the book on all 4s and then reaching her hand out to turn the page (while balancing on her hand and knees).

I presume she understands more than we think and can do a lot.  But I realize that even I have been underestimating her abilities.  No longer kid.  No longer!


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