Tuesday, October 26, 2010
What are your kid's special strengths?
Last night, as I was getting Max ready for bed, he said "Nooooooooo."
I had all of the necessary bedtime accoutrements in place (see above), so I was puzzled. "What's wrong, Max?" I asked.
"Noooooooo," Max said, again, only this time he was pointing to something on the side of the bed. I leaned over. It's a fire-engine bed he's had for years; I had never noticed the "No. 7" on the side.
But Max did. And he was reading the word "No." Yes, R-E-A-D-I-N-G.
When I sit with Max and go over the school reading words of the week, he knows them—he's got "the" and "and" and "I" down pat, among several others. But other than noticing his name when we go out (it's everywhere, given all the "max height" type of wording on signs), Max had never before spontaneously read a word to me.
"That's right! It says 'no!'" I told Max, who had the biggest grin on his face.
I spend a lot of time trying to help Max move past (and move around) his challenges. I don't give his strengths nearly enough due, which I'm guessing isn't uncommon among parents of kids with disabilities. We are so focused on their special needs, we forget to celebrate their special strengths. And Max has an amazing one: He has an exceptional visual memory. It's why he can point out every single Toyota Sienna on the road (even ones in the distance or in the dark), and remember how to get back to a car wash we haven't been to in forever, and recognize faces of people he's only met once. It's a strength that is obviously going to come in handy for reading, among many other things. And it's really kicking in.
Max has plenty of other strengths: His spirit and determination, his curiosity, his ability to focus (not something he did well when he was very young), his speed at picking up new ideas, his sense of humor, his social-butterfly tendencies (he is practically the mayor of his class), his uncanny knack for knowing just how to get under his sister's skin.
What are your child's special strengths?