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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Conversations with Princess Ellie

Ellie has a definite sense of herself as a person. I don't think everyone does. I learn about her perceptions all the time. I look forward to the day when we can have even more conversations and that day is coming with her Dynavox Maestro that is on order though it is taking a long time.

Ellie comes home from school (I or one of her PCA's drive her) and she lays down on the bed to stretch (sitting when you can't do so on your own all day is really hard on her back) and plays with her favorite toy the Vtech Sing and Learn Globe. Often, once I have schlepped her and all her stuff in the house, I sit down beside her and ask her about her day. Typically she is in full on conversation with her "globee". I know I am interrupting. They talk or Ellie talks to globee. A lot. It's funny and cute and I wonder if I could understand her singular, Princess Ellie language, what she is talking about.

Many of the things I find out about her are from me asking things like: what's your favorite place on the globe?, what's your favorite flavor?, color? did you like this or that? I realize this form of communication is imperfect and sometimes the question leads the questioned. But it's what we've got right now so I will take it.

On one of these days after schlepping I came in and said, "Hey Ellie belly, Boogalu, Little Boo, Princess Ellie I am so happy to see you!" Ellie has a lot of nicknames. She looked at me and laughed. Sometimes when she looks lines of conversation form in my mind. It's hard to describe but body language is 75% or more of conversation. And Ellie communicates just like anyone else in this way. So it occurred to me from her look to ask her, "Ellie, what do you like me to call you?" And I held out my fist and as I extended a finger each one represented a choice. This is our weird multiple choice style communication that I hope ascends one day into a true dialog. So first finger out was "Ellie-luv" Second was "Boogalu", Third was "Princess", Fourth was "Beautiful" and Thumb was "Ellie belly". Ellie listened silently and then quickly picked "Princess".

I said, "You like me to call you Princess? You like that the best?" She signed "YES" with great enthusiasm throwing her yes sign up high over her head.

Princess it is. ;-)