Thursday, August 5, 2010

How old you is?

Here's another post from my journal on communication with one of the 'clients' at the site:

Here's an example of a conversation I had with one of the younger members of SWM today:

Me: Hi, (child's name), how old are you?
J: I'm four. How old you is?
Me: Four is awesome! You can say "How old ARE YOU?"
J: I'm four! How old you is?
Me: (trying not to laugh) Well, I'm a lot older than you. So, let's say together "How old are you?"
J: I just said that. I'm four.

Eventually, I got her to understand that her English was incorrect and the correct structure is "how old are you?" however, she said she did not want to correct her English. If this were my child/niece/nephew, etc. this would be an issue but I understood she was purposely being difficult so I left it alone and praised her for being an incredible four years old. I did not want to beat a dead horse over her grammar when she has bigger problems but the situation irritated me slightly because when she realized I was correcting her English she immediately stiffened and withdrew. This alarmed me because when I correct the English of my niece and nephew they embrace it. This child's reaction was...different. It made me curious as to how she is treated in the home when she does something incorrectly. I realized that I just needed a different approach and maybe, in some instances, no approach at all.

I observed that the children communicate very aggressively with each other. While playing games, I was constantly parenting on how to 'play fair,' or 'play nice' or 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you' and 'judge not lest ye be judged.' I'm being slightly fecetious but the children use strong, negative language that is incongruent with their age. They see nothing wrong with talking to each other in this manner. "you're stupid," "I can do it better," "You can't do it," "You don't know anything" and so forth flowed freely and regularly between the children. I was very surprised. Interestingly, I don't see (yet) why they are behavior disordered children. For the most part they played better than I expected for children with this label. They were not so aggressive that I would label them as 'behavior disordered' but aggressive enough for me to notice.

(What would an OT do at this facility?)

As for the younger foster children--I think an OT would focus on developing relationships between the kids and their parents. According to [names removed] the foster parents don't do much with the children. They drop them off at camp and then they leave, only to return a few hours later to pick up the kids. They feed and clothe the children but they don't spend time with them or teach them life skills--they don't 'parent' effectively. I definitely see an opportunity for an OT here in that regard.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kimberly! I recently came upon your website when I just typing about occupational therapy. I love your blog I just got accepted into graduate school for occupational therapy and will be starting this month. Its very refreshing to come upon a blog that explains what occupational therapy students have to encounter through their journey as an occupational therapy student. Love the blog and good luck!