Page 51

unprompted—that I would never have gleaned from him. It amazed me that it was possible to have a back and forth conversation with a three-year-old. Was this something other parents experienced on a daily basis? Did they realize how lucky they were? It was about a year ago, when Angus was four, that his Behaviour Intervention workers began the “Talks about Day” program with Angus. It started with a sheet of visuals: cartoons with labels like spent time with mom, spent time with dad, ate breakfast, played with friends. Angus’s initial goal was to be able to point to the pictures that were true, and provide a single detail for each. What did you do with dad? What did you eat for breakfast? Progress was slow. Coming up with details was excruciatingly difficult for Angus. When he managed one, and received praise, he would repeat it the next session, whether or not it was accurate. Sometimes he would claim that he had not engaged in a single item on the sheet. I started to provide the intervention workers with an outline of the day’s schedule, so that I didn’t have to call from upstairs: “Yes, I did feed you lunch, Angus!” or “No, you did not go swimming!” Angus has evolved from the visuals. Now, his job is to engage in conversation. Provide details without prompting. The goal is for this to translate into real life so that when kids at school talk to Angus, he’ll talk back rather than walk away. So that when I want to know how he is and what he did when I wasn’t present, he’ll tell me. Yesterday’s conversation in the car, when Angus told me about his day, wasn’t without assistance. I had read the detailed write-up from Angus’s assistant in his communication book, and knew what questions to ask and what hints to give when he lost his train of thought. But this support was minimal. My hope is that soon it won’t be needed, that a typical experience for most parents—a conversation with their kid about school—will be a typical experience for me as well. Because as amazing as Pippi Longstocking is, she doesn’t hold a candle to the fascinating child I live with in the real world.

Laura Trunkey is the mother of the amazing Angus, and the author of the story collection Double Dutch (House of Anansi, 2016). Find her at lauratrunkey.com. IslandParent.ca

Enter Our Online Contests Every month at IslandParent.ca you can enter to win great prizes! Prizes include:

• Family Getaways • Gift Certificates • IMAX Passes • Books, CDs & More One entry per family per week. Check out the prizes and enter the contests by visiting

IslandParent.ca Advertisers Directory Alliance Francaise.............. 16 Arbutus Grove.................. IFC Baggins..............................37 Ballet Victoria..................... 19 BC Transit............................ 11 BCRMTA...............................6 Blue Bridge Repartory Theatre......................... 20 Brookes Shawnigan Lake.............................. 53 Butchart Gardens.................8 Camp Barnard....................42 Chemainus Theatre...........47 Christ Church Cathedral....38 Citizen Engagement........ IBC City Centre Park.................24 Cover Photographer..........47 CRD.................................. IBC Dr. Joslin, Dr. Morin & Associates................ IFC Emmanuel Preschool.........43 First Met.............................37

Four Seasons.....................45 Gordon Head Recreation..................... 16 Horne Lake Caves.............27 IMAX.................................. 23 Investors Group.................38 Island Catholic Schools.... 52 Island Montessori................9 Island Savings.................... 13 Kaleidoscope.......................9 Kate Rubin Theatre............. 11 Kool & Child...................... IFC Leap Forward Childcare...................... 52 Lexie’s Little Bears............ 22 Lifestyles........................... 50 Maxine Fisher....................46 Momease......................... IFC Moss St. Market...................4 Mothering Touch..................7 Nanaimo Theatre.............. 39 Oak & Orca.................... 5, 50

Oaklands Dental................47 Orca Books........................33 Oyaco................................. 41 Pacific Coast Swimming.... 18 Pacific Rim College........... 28 Patricia Lane......................27 Port Theatre........................17 Pumpkin Pie Kids...............43 Punctuation Tips..................8 READ Society.................... 35 Royal BC Museum...............17 Royal LePage..................... 12 Saanich Dental.............18, 30 Saanich Recreation..............3 Salvation Army.................. 36 School House Teaching Supplies.........45 Scouts Canada.................. 39 Selkirk Montessori.............54 Serious Coffee.................. 30 St. Margaret’s School........ BC

St Michaels University School........................... 39 Stages................................ 31 Sylvan Learning.................45 TheatreOne........................ 12 Thrifty Foods................21, 29 TJ’s The Kiddie Store......... 31 Tom Lee Music...................38 UVic Farquar...................... 19 Victoria Academy of Ballet......................... 10 Victoria Bug Zoo............... 36 Victoria Conservatory of Music........................ 32 Victoria Pediatric Dental....37 Victoria School for Ideal Education..............47 VIHA.................................. 40 Welcome Wagon............... 20 Westmont Montessori....... 36 Westcoast Fertility............. 10 William Murphy-Dyson.......43

December 2016  51

Island Parent December 2016  

Gift & Book Recommendations

Advertisement