Ever since we’ve been in Buffalo, Philip has ridden on the bus to and from school. There has been only one girl on this busload of boys. Her name is Kaylie. I wonder what a bus ride is like for Philip. I remember when I was little how the bus was like its own world run by kids. The cool kids ruled from the back and it was usually noisy as kids could finally let loose after a day listening to teachers. I imagine the bus ride to and from Philip’s school is a lot quieter, but I wonder if the kids think about each other and imagine what they might say to one another if they could talk.
Today Philip had a playdate with Kaylie. Kaylie’s mom Lisa has become a good friend of mine from our support group. She and Kaylie also took part in the Soma-RPM workshop in Buffalo last May. Lisa and her husband Tim have worked with Kaylie regularly and she has just started to answer some open-ended questions. We wanted to get the kids together to have the experience of using their letterboards to communicate with one another and perhaps motivate each other to keep getting better.
Philip was looking forward to his day with Kaylie. Before she arrived, I told Philip to be thinking of a question he wanted to ask Kaylie as well as some advice for communicating. Philip has been doing RPM 7 months longer than Kaylie. When Lisa and Kaylie arrived, Kaylie was all smiles. I was reminded of the beginnings of puberty. Kaylie was almost a head taller than Philip though they are the same age. We all sat at my dining room table where I do most of my communicating with Philip. Each child had their black letterboard stencil with their mom, each named Lisa, to their side. I started :
LR(me): How do you know Kaylie?
P: AT SCHOOL
LR: Is there a question you’ve wanted to ask Kaylie?
LR: What is it?
P: (haltingly) ARE YOU ATTRACTED TO ME?
Lisa and I tried to suppress our giggles. I double checked to make sure that’s what he wanted to ask and felt slightly flushed at my son’s boldness.
LR: That’s good. You’re too young for that stuff anyway!
LC (Kaylie’s Mom): Do you like Philip as a friend?
LR: Philip, do you have any advice for Kaylie to help her get better with spelling and communicating?
P: EACH DAY ATTEND TO EDOCATION
LC: Kaylie is having a birthday this weekend.
LR: How old will you be?
LC: How old are you Philip?
P: (on number stencil) 10
LR: Kaylie, what do you want for your birthday?
K: HAPPY BIRTHDAY
Kaylie spelled quickly with hardly a pause between each letter.
LC: Philip, who is your teacher this year?
LR: Kaylie, who is your teacher?
By now the kids were getting a bit restless. They had moments when both were acting silly and laughing, but now Philip was escaping his chair and Kaylie was reaching for her iPad to play a video. It was our cue that the playdate was over.
I did want to show Lisa and Kaylie one more thing before they left. I am teaching Philip reading (actually I didn’t teach him, he picked it up on his own), answering on his stencilboard, and then shadowing to typing on a bluetooth keyboard on the table synched to an iPad.
After bringing Philip back to the table, I wrote down, “What is your friend’s name?” I showed it to Philip without reading it out loud. He then alternately pointed to the letters and typed them:
As we said our goodbyes, I wondered about Philip’s crush with a smile.
I asked Philip later about his day with Kaylie. “AN EXELENT IDEA.” “What do you think of Kaylie? “SHE IS NICE.” “Do you think she is cute?” “Y” “Do you want to have another playdate?” “Y” “When?” “AS SOON AS WE CAN.”