Seeing Language in Colour

Adel was in the back yard just now, and Peter looked out and saw a skunk on the deck right by the back door! Adel was lying there, relaxing, as the skunk approached her!

Peter freaked out and yelled really wildly, in a panicked and shouting frenzy, opening the door and frantically calling Adel inside, hoping to avoid her being sprayed!!! Adel got up, briefly sniffed at the skunk, then came inside. Whew!

The skunk scurried off. No spraying at all. Yay!

And then, the most interesting part happened. Tommy said to Peter “Dad, was your voice red?”

Tommy truly sees language. He literally sees the words being said. There was a time when he used to spell words aloud that he could not say. And sometimes, when he could not say a word, or spell it aloud, he would say, in frustration “I can’t read it!” Without seeing the visual image of a word in his mind, he could not say it at all.

Later, when his reading, and therefore his speech, improved, there was a phase where he used to say the punctuation aloud, as part of his sentence. For example, he would say “Look (exclamation mark)”. In another phase, he used to say everything as though he were reading a story aloud as it was happening. For example, he would said ” ‘I’m going to school.’ said Tommy.” Yes, he said the “said Tommy” part. 

Tommy loved punctuation and learned it readily, along with other nuances of the written word- like the fact that block capitals means shouting, etc.

Social stories and visual schedules always were, and still are, an incredible support to Tommy. He is just so much more able to take in information visually, and in the written form.

Some day, with Tommy’s help, I hope to write more about his language development. Luckily, we have lots of diaries in the form of communication books, home videos, etc.

If you are a reader who has known Tommy a long time, it would be great to hear below in the comments something interesting that you remember about his language development!

It would also be great to hear interesting things about others who, like Tommy, see language so visually, no matter where you are on the spectrum 

Go! (said MaryAnn) 

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