Made of Gray

Multiplication & Spelling

Holly D Gray19 Comments
This weekend was one of interest beyond our wildest imaginations. We played outside, we went for long walks with friends and we rounded out Sunday with a visit to Caleigh's grandparents.
While at Mimi & Pop's, Caleigh was doing some addition and subtraction on the iPad. Up until that point we had left it at the fact that she knows addition and subtraction. I asked Caleigh if she knows what multiplication is. Then asked her 2x2. She got it right. I sat there, mouth open, while asking numerous multiplication questions. Hard ones. 7x4, 8x3, 6x5, 5x5....She got them all right the first time. I've never shown Caleigh a times table. I've never discussed the concept.

Here's the irony... I have to be the worst person in the world with math. I pretty much have a calculator hidden everywhere. I learned multiplication in 3rd grade by memorizing the times table visually. After that my career with math was over. Division is a joke and if probed for an answer I will tear up. I literally cried through high school algebra and barely passed. I have a documented mathematics learning disability that got me out of taking college algebra and statistics. When I say I'm terrible at math, I mean it. Words and Art are my thing. Math, not so much. So to have Caleigh answering math questions faster than I can count on my fingers is just the most ironic thing ever. My family and friends can ensue their laughing now.
This morning, in an effort to find out what else Caleigh knows, we sat down and started to ask her questions. I asked her if she knew how to spell her name. She said yes.

Guess what we found out?
Caleigh can spell. Not just spell a word here or there. Caleigh can really spell.

List of today's words for memory sake:
Caleigh, Mommy, Daddy, KoKo, cow, Kendall, Meme (Mimi), Pop, Heath, Elizabeth, nap time, ice cream

After all of that, I told Caleigh to just spell out any word she wanted to. She typed in b-a-b-y. I asked her if she wanted her baby doll and she said "yes." While Eric was trying to find the doll she typed it in again b-a-b-y. Apparently daddy wasn't moving quick enough. So we played with the baby for awhile and then I asked Caleigh if she knew what the baby's name was. She said "I'm not sure." I asked her if she wanted to name the baby and she said "yes." So we went to the letters section and she typed in b-a-b-y. I told her that yes, she is a baby, but what do you want to name her? Caleigh typed in a-m-y. Baby Amy. I asked her if that was what she wanted to name her and she said "yes," while smiling. We don't even know an Amy. I guess now we do.
This is how I have Proloquo2Go set up. Each page has three letters and then an arrow that leads to the next three letters. If Caleigh needs to go backwards for instance to spell her name then I take her back to this starting page. C-A-L are in order, but she needs to go back for E-I-G-H. So she did the CAL and then I took her back to the start page and she went to EIGH. This is a hurdle when she is wanting to spell a word without a prompt, but I'm going to do some thinking to find a way around it.

This afternoon, when our helper got here, I started bragging on the many things Caleigh did this weekend. We sat down to use the iPad and show off the new skills and Caleigh's dystonia was all over the place. I don't know if she was excited, nervous or maybe we worked on it too much that morning. She was hitting buttons she didn't want like crazy and ended up getting frustrated. I was frustrated for her and with her. This dystonia/cp monster really stinks sometimes. When she has moments like those I just need to reflect on all the things she can do and come back to the situation at a later time. Knowing her triggers and following her ques will make things easier for Caleigh in the long run.

Honestly, my head hurts trying to think about all of this. It's amazing. I haven't doubted Caleigh, but crazily enough I haven't assumed that my 3 year old knows math either. What else does she know? How do I find out? What can she spell? If she can spell these words, can she read? How on earth does she know multiplication? I haven't even asked her division questions yet. Should I call someone? Who? What in the world do we do about school? What would she say if she could just wake up one morning and talk with her own voice? What would her beautiful voice sound like? And so it happens again. Another tremendous milestone achieved, and my immediate second thought is the next step. Talking with her own voice and finding out what more she knows. Parents of children with special needs never get the savory moment of a milestone. There are always higher stars to be devoured. Always.

The term "gifted" has been thrown around here lately. I Googled some characteristics of a gifted child and found that Caleigh has most, if not more than, the traits listed except the physically involved ones. No, she cannot yet put a 20 piece puzzle together by herself. I'm not a professional, just a proud mom, but I do know that cognitively Caleigh is doing great. I'm not ready to toss out fancy terminology. I also know all to well children with brain injuries sometimes, for one reason or another, stop developing at a certain stage. I'm sure you have all heard the line "he is 14 years old and at a 3rd grade level." So I plan on taking what Caleigh knows now and running with it and building on it as long as possible. Maybe that will be all the way to college? Wouldn't that be fun?

Perhaps one day Caleigh will take over writing this blog?
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