One of my developmentally delayed sweethearts is a little boy who knows all the letters, and a lot of sounds. He knows numbers, colors, shapes, and that sort of thing. It’s obvious that he has difficulty with verbal communication — he will repeat what you say, or repeat one phrase over and over, and he doesn’t always know how to answer a question or tell you what happened — but it didn’t seem like he was that behind in other ways.
But this week, I started watching him in blocks. He doesn’t know what to do with them! They hold a real fascination for him — he picks blocks almost daily. But he doesn’t know how to build anything. He can’t make a plan (“I’m going to build a bridge!”), he can’t copy what I do when I build something, and he can’t clean up — he doesn’t know how to find where particular block shapes go, or put them in place with the correct orientation. He seems to be lacking creativity, planning skills, problem solving skills, and spatial relations.
So now my jobs are to help him learn in the block corner, and to have a diplomatic conversation with his mother about the importance of play. She does a lot of drill with him, is proud of what he knows, and thinks that he will be “caught up” by kindergarten or first grade. ( I’m thinking he might start to crash and burn in kindergarten.) Apparently there is no playing and no mess at his daycare, and I need to find out what he is doing at home.