So, I signed myself up to blog everyday for the month of November and rather conveniently I found a very good excuse not to do it yesterday. I did jot a few notes for yesterday including that I was feeling slightly embarrassed to share the enhanced writing life on a daily basis with Facebook. If the feeling continues I could disengage the Facebook feed or I can grit my teeth and just admit to the world that I write a lot of crap much too often.
Part of the excuse for not writing yesterday is driving to Chicago and a full day which included a long eye doc visit and a trip to the american girl doll store. The high point of the day was late and delicious Chinese dinner with good conversation. After which, sleep was the only thing I was interested in.
The eye doc visit was once again interesting and she picked up on or rather zeroed in on what I’m doing with Julia in other realms. Doc Z asked about changes and I told her about Julia’s growing awareness — this year for Halloween, she was a Hogwarts’ student, rather than Harry Potter. (Same costume. It is always very nice to reuse a costume). Julia knows the days of the week upon waking. This is an exercise we’ve engaged in for at least three years. She done calendar work with therapists and teachers for years and years during her days, but this is a simple question right after the alarm goes off each morning. Some might consider this impossible, and Julia is not a morning person. Frankly, after a number of years of doing it, I wondered is she just was never going to wake up enough to do it, but during the last three weeks she has been right every day. At first, I thought it was lucky guessing — we’ve had small runs of lucky guessing — but she has been consistent for a few weeks now. Julia is also remembering what could be counted as very tangential things. Trick or treating on Friday night, Julia remembered the house up the street where a guy usually sits and scares kids who come up and another house where the grownups usually dress up. These are just current examples. I have the all over perception that she is connecting places with some memory.
When I explained all this to the doctor, she said that my observations were in line with Julia’s improved peripheral vision. The glasses, and some exercises, have boosted peripheral vision and the result is more peripheral thinking. She actually told me about the peripheral vision improvement before I told her about perceptions, although I didn’t make the connection between what she told me and what I perceived.
She talked a lot of about Julia’s comfort zone — when she is incredibly cooperative and fun to interact with — her tolerance zone — when she begins to be whinny and complains that she cannot do what is being asked of her — and beyond her tolerance zone — where she breaks down and behaves badly. Doc Z believed that stretching what her eyes can do has expanded the comfort zone. Now, she wants to work on visual perception to expand, among other things, Julia’s reading comprehension. She believes that Julia prefers reading out loud because when Julia reads out loud she gets the information input two ways which boosts her quite faulty understanding. Doc Z had Julia read three sentences to herself (some that Julia balked at doing to begin with) and then draw a picture about the sentences. Julia who was willing to draw and who drew well, drew something totally unconnected with the reading. Then, Doc Z had Julia read the same thing out loud and draw. This time Julia drew something that seemed connected with one of the words but did not reflect in any way the complete reading. It was, as if, Julia attached to one word and then created another story inside her head and drew that. This was almost instantaneous. There was no pondering over meaning at all. This very short experiment seemed to exemplify Julia’s challenges with comprehension that I see all the time when she tries to write book reports and also as we work through our latest story in therapy with Marilyn.
Our assignment for the next month, to have Julia read to herself very simple sentences and draw what she reads. Doc Z suggested very easy kid books although I think I will just write sentences and eventually a very easy story for her to work on. We have a skype appointment in a month to see what happens.