Friday, May 27, 2011
How Kids See Things
The other day, when Janey and I were walking to our car after school, a little girl who used to be in Janey's class before Janey got held back stopped to talk to us. She said "I didn't know Janey was seven!" I replied that Janey wasn't actually seven yet, she was six. As is often the case wiht kids, that didn't deter her, and she said "I didn't know Janey was six!". Then a boy that also used to be in Janey's class said "If she's six, why is she sucking her thumb?" I noticed Janey was in fact sucking her thumb, which is not a common habit of hers. I didn't have time to think about an answer, and said "Sometimes Janey does things that younger kids do". That was the whole conversation, but it really got me thinking. I've wondered how the kids saw Janey---how they process her behavior. They aren't old enough to get autism, but they must notice that she is different---she can't do what they do, she cries a lot, she isn't too with the program. And I realized what they were saying is a clue---they probably assume she is younger than they are. Although they might know on some level she isn't, they might just see her as a younger kid. Kids don't always question odd things like that---they might just think for whatever reason the school put a two-year-old in their class. It's a thought I liked. It's something I've been thinking about lately---how many of Janey's behaviors would be quite typical for a two year old. And it's something kids can understand---they have younger siblings, or know younger kids, and that's a way they could easily frame her behavior. It might be a good way for adults to see it sometimes, too.