Sunday, April 25, 2010

Finding the Answer....

Last summer I was standing at my sliding glass
door looking out into my backyard when I spotted
a lemon yellow, very out of the ordinary bird
at the top of my plum tree.

I stood in awe gazing from inside my house at the
beautiful birds (there was actually a pair of them).

I was torn to run and get my camera yet did not
want to miss one second of seeing them with my

Do I run?

What if I run to get the camera and the birds
fly off?

Gazing at the birds sitting on branches in the
plum tree, primping...then moving to other
branches was amazing.

And I was alone with nobody to tell or say...

'Hey look at those YELLOW birds in the plum tree.

'Have you ever seen a bird like it?'

Ohhhh, I needed a picture.

So off I RAN to the other room to grab my camera
out of the drawer...............

running back to my perch at the sliding glass door.

Ahhh, there they were.

Two yellow birds complete with red heads and
black wings.


I had time to snap about three quick pictures
through the glass door (not daring to open the
door lest I scare the birds off).

Then like butterflies in flight...the pair of
lemon beauties floated off through the sky out
of my sight.

I wondered for days what kind of birds they were.

I was on a mission.

I searched the internet.

I talked about the birds and told my family all
about them.

Unfortunately, I could not figure out what kind
of birds they were.

Eventually I stopped trying and no longer thought
about it.

That was a year ago.

Last week my sister came over for a visit and she
gave me a surprise gift certificate to a favorite
store of ours.

I was really looking forward to using the gift
certificate and wondered what I could buy with it.

So later that night I went online and looked
up the store.

The store website came up but before I could
browse through more than a few clicks I saw a
picture of a yellow bird SO SIMILAR to the pair
of birds in my plum tree last year.

The excitement began!!

I just had to explore it more so I clicked on the
picture of the bird. Upon a closer view it looked
nearly the same but it didn't have a red head.

I kept clicking on the other pictures of yellow
birds.....because now that I had gotten so close
I was determined to find out what kind of bird
was in my backyard.

Then there it was!

I found it!!

The lucky lemon yellow beauty appeared before my
eyes and finally

(after one year)

I had an answer:

The bird was a Western Tanager:

Now you may wonder why I am posting this story on
the ACC blog but I assure you there is a message

After having finally found the name of the exquisite,
unusual yellow birds that I was privileged to see in
my own backyard, I realized how similar it is to
finding ways to teach my child, Matthew, who has ACC.

There are times when I have tried and tried to figure
out how to teach Matthew something but no matter
how much I try the answer doesn't come.

But after I put the goal on the backburner and
move on to other things, when I least expect it,
(often months or more later) and much to my surprise
I realize that he learned the very thing that I
had been trying to teach him earlier.

We had simply stumbled upon the teaching method
without even trying while doing other things.

It just appeared as easily as can be and flowed like
a river.

Of course we parents of kids who have Agenesis of
the Corpus Callosum realize that there is a big
variety of scenarios for how to teach our kids the
MANY things that they are working on learning.

I am convinced though that sometimes there are
those times when we simply put it on the backburner,
move on to the next thing and let the natural flow
of life and learning take place.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A to Z Talking Mouth video

My child, Matthew, who has complete Agenesis
of the Corpus Callosum has always been mesmerized
by watching my mouth move very slowly to form a
sound and simple word. Matthew is non-verbal.

Equally as fascinating for him is his own
reflection in a mirror while watching his
mouth move and make sounds.

For Matthew, this particular approach to
learning verbal sounds and words is what works
and what he is highly motivated by.

In fact, his very first word he ever said
(at 7 years of age) was learned by watching
his reflection in the window of our car when
I would pick him up every day from school.

Each day we would walk out to the car and stand
in front of his window while he watched my
reflection in the car window slowly saying the
word "bye bye" and also watching his own
reflection while trying to say the word.

This ritual took him one year of trying and
practicing but one day it clicked and he actually
SAID "buh bye" all by himself.

The other night I stumbled upon a children's
online educational video about Nature Alphabet
with a talking mouth.

I was thrilled!! I couldn't wait to show it to

I showed it to him last night. He sat in front
of the computer completely mesmerized watching
the talking mouth make sounds and words.

He was fascinated!

When the A to Z Alphabet talking mouth movie ended
Matthew signed "more" and watched it a second time.
It didn't stop there though. He actually watched
this video THREE times in a row.

I interacted with him throughout the video helping
to encourage sounds and I was astonished at the
incredible accomplishments that Matthew made.

He said "Ahh" twice for Apple. Then he signed "Apple".

He said the "Sssss" sound for the first time ever!

He also said the "huhhh" sound for H for the first

I was just watching and was blown away seeing this
take place right before my eyes. I called his dad
in the room to have a look.

Then Matthew SAID "Mmmmmm" "oooooouuu" for Moon
and made the sign for "Moon" It was the first time
ever he actually put the mmmm and ooouu sounds
together. He has always only said "mmmmm" for moon.

He tried making so many sounds and did a lot of
blowing in an attempt to make the different sounds.

You could just watch him intently thinking, then
trying to make a sound.

He attempted to say the word "Yellow" with a
short "uh" then a faster "ya ya ya ya"

He also made an "Sssss" like sound while
listening to the "Zeee" sound for Zebra.

I even heard what sounded like a "tuh" sound
for "T".

It's truly magical when you find a learning
tool that speaks to your child on a motivational
level and matches their learning style as well.

On a sidenote, yes there are some words in the
video that are not typical of beginning alphabet
pictures or words. However, the video is based
on nature and the words chosen reflect this

The talking mouth is a huge hit in our house and
I can't wait for Matthew to watch this video again.