As I played and spoke with the children in our front hall one day, I kept hearing my name, as if someone was calling me from another room, or maybe the stairs. My attention was presumptively focused on the children who communicate (loudly and happily and continuously) and so it took time to realize that it was Tania, standing right in front of me, who was calling my name.
Thania came to us from a home that closed down last year. She at first seemed as she had been described, completely non communicative, and autistic. But bit by bit she has surprised us with her awareness and interaction. She loves flower print dresses, and will watch one’s mouth and mimic the words when we sing songs. She enjoys giving hugs and loves to be thrown up into the air.
But that day, she was saying my name…well, what the kids call me. Collectively and individually shout “Papa Steve!!” when I arrive. With a far away voice, but a good mimic of the exuberant inflection of the other kid’s greetings, she was looking right at me, saying “Papa Peeve!” There is something special about the steps of development we have seen with her, and I hope we can move to better levels of communication with her. Incidentally she started structured learning times in our home with Ana, a special ed teacher, and Ana said she will do what she is asked to do, but only when the teacher looks away. Pray for Thania! This is her, with Katerin and their teacher, Ana.