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Monday, April 19, 2010

T -- For Talk

Bow has been spelling out words since he was five years old, but because he is so much faster than we are, he takes our hands and points to the letters, to make sure we can see what he has spelled. In the past, many attempts by Bow to communicate with us via lexigrams were unsuccessful, not because we weren't paying attention so much as because we are constitutionally incapable of keeping up with his rate of speed. Only after we watched a video of the exchange and slowed it down could we see what he had said.

However this has opened up a whole can of worms: accusations that we were the ones spelling and not him, that there was cuing, that it wasn't real. And, really, he is capable of slowing down and pointing at one letter at a time. We've seen him do it. But he has no confidence that he will be understood, and so he often stops with one letter.

Lawrence was sitting for me with Bow this morning while I went grocery shopping. Bow can communicate with Lawrence by pressing letters on a touchscreen computer by means of a chopstick, or he can just point to letters on the glass. Lawrence has been trying to encourage Bow to spell to him in English without holding Lawrence's hand. So far, he has managed to get Bow to spell when Lawrence is only touching him lightly, for reassurance. But when there is no touch between them, Bow will go up to the glass and point at one letter and then stop and wait patiently for Lawrence to join him at the glass. For weeks now, the one letter Bow has been pointing at time and time again, all by himself, has been "T".

This morning, Lawrence asked him: "Bow, how come you always point at T?"

Bow spelled back: "For talk."


  1. I hope that Bow would not get to the point of pointing at the first letter of every word in a sentence, like "T t m L". I am sure he is fast enough to be able to do that! :)

  2. June, we are trying to get him to slow down for us and not need to have physical contact with us when he points. The touchscreen computer was supposed to achieve that result, but Bow says it's too hard. He's right. It's hard for me, too! Sometimes I try to spell something on the screen, but it only registers some of the letters I touched.