Wednesday, August 22, 2007

All About Archer

On his first day of first grade, Archer brought home a stapled booklet in which he had drawn pictures according to prompts written in by his teacher. The opus was entitled: "All About Me."

I think this is just a head-and-shoulders view. The red marker Archer was using to color in the big open grins he tends to draw sort of spilled over to color his whole head.

I can't tell who's who in this picture, but I'm charmed that he drew us with differently-shaped heads, various heights, and in a range of colors.

No idea what this is. It's not his usual smile shape, although the coloring gives a face-like illusion to the thing. It resembles a plate of grapes with a slice of cantaloupe.

Archer has drawn himself as a very happy stick figure playing basketball with a big orange backstop. Now Archer couldn't care less about basketball. When asked about himself, he tends to confabulate. He doesn't really have the internal resources to talk extensively about his internal processes or about his desires beyond the immediately present. So he appropriates some idea from the environment and asserts it as his own. It's something we often have to correct when someone asks him a quesiton about himself; he'll confidently say that he has a hamster or three sisters, and he's not trying to lie, boast, or even simply be a part of the larger conversation. He's just being pressed for an answer, and has no motivation to do the work necessary to connect memory with speech in order to formulate an accurate answer. As far as he's concerned, it's just conversation, and what you do in conversation is just make a response -- any response will do.

That said, his teachers seem to understand that when he does participate in a verbal exchange "normally" -- using memory and initiative to come up with an informative contribution -- he should be rewarded. Today he proudly told us that he got a "Good As Gold" sticker because "in P.E., I raised my hand and said to Ms. Miller, 'Three strikes and you're out.'" I'm assuming that he actually answered a question posed by the teacher, and I'm very happy that the teacher found this significant enough to praise him for it -- because it's truly a major accomplishment.

1 comment:

Justin Ray said...

Inventing responses just to respond seems to be a part of us all, as does inventing questions just to ask a question. The classic "How are you?" example demonstrates that. That is something about the service industry I am finding it hard to get used to. I'm expected to make smalltalk, but genuine interest is construed as nosy, rude, and awkward.