Last night as I was undressing KayTar to put her jammies on, I asked her a series of questions. Initially I was just trying to gauge her reflexive "yeah" answers, because she says "yeah" in response to most questions, unless it has to do with food, in which case "NO!" is the optimal answer.
I took her shoes off and said, "KayTar, are these feet?" thinking a silly, obvious question might get an accurate answer.
She said, "Yeah."
I gave her that, "Are you sure? I don't think so." look and asked again.
I asked a third time, this time I actively shook my head no, which she duplicated and then said, "Yeah."
Then I said, "Are these feet? NO!"
"Are these feet? NO!" she said.
So I asked again, "Are these feet?"
"No KayTar, these are shoes. Not feet. SHOES."
"Are these shoes?"
"Are these feet?"
"No, not feet. These are shoes."
Then I held up her jeans and tried again. "Are these legs?"
Asked again with the look.
"Yeah." she said.
"Are these legs?" while vigorously shaking my head no.
"Are these legs? NO!"
"Are these legs?"
"No. These are not legs. These are pants. Pants."
"Are these pants?"
"Are these legs?"
"No, not legs. These are pants."
And AGAIN with her shirt, because it is too fascinating at this point to stop.
"Is this a tummy?"
"Is this a tummy?" while giving the look.
"Is this a tummy?" shaking my head no.
"Is this a tummy? NO! It's a shirt."
"No. It's a shirt."
"Is it a tummy?"
"No, not a tummy. It's a shirt. Is it a shirt?"
"Is it a tummy?"
[insert witty verbal dissecting skills here, I think I'm out of them]
First of all, I chose to start the initial question because I thought the no answer would be obvious, but she answered incorrectly which at the same time surprised me and didn't surprise me because of her fondness for yeahs. Then I added a subtle nonverbal clue. She didn't pick up on it. Then I added an obvious nonverbal clue, which she copied, but still answered incorrectly. She parroted the correct answer, but then continued to give the wrong answer. She was focused on what we were talking about, and she wasn't being silly. (I know lots of typical kiddos who answer incorrectly to get a giggle, BubTar does it a lot) I'm slightly stumped as to whether she really does not understand the difference between pants and legs or if it was just the fact it was a question that confused her. When she gets hurt she does say "Owww, hurt-a my PANTS!" or "Owww! hurt-a my shirt!" but I've always thought she said that because that is what she can physically see. She fell down and hit her pants on the ground, so she says she hurt her pants. But maybe she thinks the terms are interchangeable? Or maybe she just thinks the answer to every question is yes? I said before that this is her go-to answer, but I really thought with aid of nonverbal clues or giving her the correct answer to parrot and following the same format for each line of questioning might help her clue in on the correct answer.
I'm not sure, but as I find more and more of these areas that we are unsure about her knowledge or comprehension it makes me wonder what else is being missed. How much of what we say to her or what she says to us in a day is really understood? As she gets older and more is expected of her by the outside world, this is really going to compound her problems. She has the ability of appearing advanced in most areas, in many areas she is advanced. But at the basis of it, language, she has so many gaps that cannot be readily seen. We discover them by happenstance and it makes me question everything I think I know about her; how much is a show and how much does she really know? How many important things do I say to her each day that don't register at all? I've talked about this before at length. I know she doesn't understand certain things, but finding another camouflaged spot is always a bit unsettling.
I think BubandPie nailed the crux of our sibling problem. I think BubTar, like most people who meet her, are overestimating what KayTar comprehends, because she appears to understand much more than she truly does. Even I am unsure where this line lies and I am with her 24 hours a day most of the time. It is something we will have to work through together and hope that even if they can't exactly understand each other, they can still learn to work within the other's boundaries.
My Best Shot Monday, from the series I took of her and Gee.