That word stuck with me. Teachable. It was used as an adjective to describe Jay. I can’t remember if it was said by Jay’s amazing teacher of the past 3 years or if it was one of his therapists in school. Time kind of blends together for me but I know it was said about 2 years ago in one of his IEP meetings. I also know that when it was said I made a face that said very loudly “I don’t know where you’re getting your information from but that’s not at all a word I would use to describe Jay“. Upon seeing my expression, 2 or 3 other people immediately concurred that yes, he was very teachable. They all saw something that I had yet to see. At the time, I was seeing how hard everything was and how much he didn’t know that he should know. I was seeing all the things we said to him that he didn’t understand. I was seeing that he couldn’t write anything. Him ever being able to read seemed as likely as me climbing Mt Everest. He didn’t even know his alphabet. He wasn’t counting. He didn’t know his colours or shapes. He was still in diapers and wasn’t following any verbal instructions. The not knowing was one thing but what was worse is that he didn’t seem (to me) to even care about learning anything at all. He was happy to just play with his toys and sit back while we did everything for him. He didn’t want to do any work at all.
Yet, here were people who spend 6 hours a day with him telling me that he can learn and does learn and will learn and wants to learn. They told me that he is eager to please and that he has a desire to do well.
Again I made a face of disbelief and again there was a chorus from everyone in the room telling me that it was real and that in time I would see.
Fast forward 2 years and they were right ya’ll. I see it.
My son is very teachable. Granted, he has to be taught E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. but that’s alright. It’s easy to put in the work when you see such fast results. He can be taught. On top of that, once he’s learned something he becomes Mr. Independent with it and will no longer accept help. He WANTS to do things; he just needs to be shown how.
It’s usually CC’s job to make sure the kids lunch is packed in the morning and that their lunch boxes are in their school bags. One morning we were running late and CC asked the kids to put their own lunch boxes in their own bags. Ace did his with no problem but Jay stood there lost. CC asked Ace to show Jay what to do. The next morning Cc asked them again to put their own lunch boxes in their own bags. Again Ace did his and then went over and helped Jay with his. But this time, Jay was more of an active participant than the previous day. By the third day, Jay was doing it on his own. That’s all it took. Him hearing the command 2 times and getting help with it twice. Neither CC nor Ace has helped him with his lunch box since.
In the evening, the kids put away their socks and shoes. They change out of their school uniforms and they wait for dinner while Ace does his homework. Ace can change his own clothes but we always helped Jay with his. He struggled with the fine motor skills needed to undo the buttons on the front of his shirt before trying to pull it over his head and he would get confused with the back vs front of his home clothes. It just all seemed to take too much coordination. A while back, instead of just doing it for him, CC sat on the couch while Jay stood, so they were face to face. He said, “Come, let me show you what to do.” Then he went through each step slowly making sure that Jay was paying attention. He helped him to change out of his school clothes and into his pajamas. The following day, Jay tried to do it all by himself and HE DID. His pants were twisted at the waist area but everything was on and facing the right direction.
It took me a while to get to this point of not under-estimating my sons abilities but I’m glad that the teachers that Jay has in his life don’t make things easy for him. I’m glad they see his potential (have always seen his potential) and have the patience to push him to learn. It’s a lesson that I needed to learn. Even though, it’s quicker and easier for me to do things for him, I’m not doing him any favours in the long run by not showing him how to do things himself. Taking the delayed language skills out of the equation – He can do just about any age appropriate thing … If he’s taught.