Working on language opportunities with Danny is a constant challenge. We try – boy, do we try – but with an almost-4 year old that
likes desires needs to be the center of attention, it seems like more often than not I try to engage Danny in some play therapy and end up with Eric in my face and Danny wandered off to some other activity on his own.
So when I found myself and Danny in my bedroom, alone, Eric downstairs watching TV, I jumped on it. There was no therapy set up. There were no beginning language sounds or lings or books. It was me, Danny, and the cell phone that had fallen out of my pocket.
So, when he picked up my phone and started to open and close it, I ran with it. I held it closed until he said open. I held it closed and modeled “close” for him a few times before finally letting him close it. I held it up to my ear and pretended to talk, then offered it to him. I said “phone” and “open” and “close” and “push” about 50 times each before finally giving him the phone, then I made him give it back to me and we handed it back and forth a few times. “Do you want the phone?” “Oooh!” “OK, Danny! Here’s the phone!”
I think a lot of people hear “therapy,” before they’re introduced to it, and see strict sessions, exact activities, even lesson plans…and don’t get me wrong, there’s a place for that too! But nothing delights me more than the rare times I can catch Danny and hold his interest in something totally spur of the moment and day to day.
Like sitting on the floor playing with my cell phone. I think he tried to call China at one point; maybe he’ll speak that language since he doesn’t seem too interested in English?
10 minutes later, I felt like I’d accomplished so much with Danny, and we’d had a bunch of fun in the process. It’s the little opportunities that are, sometimes, the best ones we can get.