Many times, we’ve been asked, “does she remember me?”
Why is it that when people realize Jess isn’t verbal, they assume she has a memory problem too? (They also presume she doesn’t understand but I’m not going to go into that now.)
Over the weekend, Jess tapped “Grand Daddy” on her Talker.
I asked, “can you find me his photo?”
Immediately, she got up, went to another room, returned with his picture.
I can’t remember the last time Jess asked about my father. He passed twelve years ago, seven years before she got her AAC voice. Though I think of him often, I rarely talk about him. With so many years in between, it makes me wonder what else she thinks about?
I don’t know what sparked her memory. Often when people ask about others, it’s because they want to know more. It makes me realize that I need to share family lore. I’ve been shortchanging her by keeping it to myself.
Jess will be home soon. I’m going to tell her that her Grand Daddy grew up during the Great Depression. Will then have to explain to her what the Depression was.
I’ll tell her when I was a pre-teen, he took me to the 1000 islands on a fishing trip. (I’d better get a map out). After spending the day on a small outboard motorboat, our guide took us to a tiny island, built a fire, and cooked bacon, eggs, and the fresh Bass we caught.
Even though these stories may interest her, she will probably want to hear about the times she spent with him. Photos will help tell the stories.
And, of course, Jess needs to know that her Grand Daddy never stopped researching why she was unable to talk. His generation went to the library and Google hadn’t been invented yet. We didn’t find out Jess’s Angelman Diagnosis till two-months after he passed.
While reminiscing, we will be modeling language and reinforcing motor-planning memory.
Jess may not share all the details that she holds in her memory, but I assure you, when she sets her mind to something, it’s a steel trap.
I’d better go, Jess and I have a lot to talk about.