This week, I met with Janneke's SLP (speech/language pathologist). Janneke is nonverbal, meaning she doesn't use spoken word (or sign), but as we watch her grow and develop, we catch glimpses of how she is interacting with her world. At school, they are offering her choices with picture cards; as she studies the pictures, they observe her eye gaze to determine her preference. The hope is that her eyes will rest longer on the card she prefers. This method isn't always successful, but it's one idea we are trying. 

Our consultation time revolved around the idea of building Janneke's receptive vocabulary. Receptive vocabulary refers to the words that Janneke can internalize and understand. This is not to be confused with her expressive vocabulary - which is difficult to determine since she is nonverbal and not signing. Expressive vocabulary refers to the output, the word spoken or communicated. These words might not actually be understood by the speaker, but they are the ones that can be expressed.

It's possible that one might express a word without fully comprehending its meaning. 

Sometimes I use big words I don’t always fully understand
in an effort to make myself sound more photosynthesis.
— the Internet (which is a very expressive space and difficult to cite) @itsWillyFerrell

I remember as a child reading big words from the dictionary in my dad's office and then trying them out on my aunts and uncles at Oma's house. Judging from the laughter in my memory, I'm pretty sure I didn't get the word right. 

It's not as funny when grown ups use words without understanding their meaning or the implications of expressing. S. Covey writes, "Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply." 

Though there are a few moments when I'm pretty sure Rachel would offer a sassy comeback if she could, there are more moments when I can only guess at what both girls are taking in as everyone talks, shouts, and laughs around them. What are they hearing? 

When I watch Janneke and Rachel quietly take in their world each day, I wonder how big their receptive vocabulary is.  There's nothing to suggest that it's as limited as their physical capabilities.  So we talk with Rachel and Janneke - and tell others the same - as if they could respond, hoping to build their receptive intelligence. And then we (try to) patiently wait for their expressive response. 

Always learning.

peace, spot

Back to this blog idea.

The look and location has changed; instead of finding us @thepotfamilyblogspot, we are now @ sara-pot.squarespace.com. This change has come for several reasons, one being that Blogger was getting more frustrating to use, and the other that I am cautiously but deliberating seeking ways to share our story. 

It's intimidating changing our location from the family name to my own name. It seems a bit, well, self-absorbed.  

Yet, given my work with writing and speaking, we needed a spot (ha!) to send inquiries. 

So, this is the new look.