Posted by Pweshes Mama on August 28, 2009
Finally, Raiyan is starting to be able to tell us what he does in the school day. All this time, it was soooo difficult to elicit any type of response whenever I asked him simply "what did you do in school today Raiyan?". I soon realised that my question was too big, too vague and Raiyan just did not know how to answer it and not so much he did not know what the answer was. This was similar to us always asking him who he played with in school. At first, we just could not understand what was so hard for him to give us the names of the children he played with because we know for a fact (from Jo who sits in with him in school) that he does play with other children. What we discovered we had to do was to specifically ask something and to do it on a step by step basis.
So first we ask: Did you play with friends today? [Yes]
Next: How many friends did you play with? [Stuck - because he still thinks this is too big and it will take time for him to count all the friends he had played with]
Try again: Did you play with friends during breaktime today? [Yes]
Next try: How many friends did you play with during breaktime? 
Next and finally ask: Who are the friends you played with during breaktime? [ "him" and "him"!]
We can then also further ask if he played with other friends in the classroom or during any other time during the day and he would answer different friend. All of these just goes to show how important it is to ask "leading questions" whenever necessary to get him to what we expect him to answer and then once he's in that place, it's then easier to ask him other related questions!
So when it comes to what he did in school, we are using this similar pattern of questioning too by starting with something simple like asking the "subjects" he had sat in which he can do as they are more or less the same subjects he sat in Year 1 so he is already familiar with them. So I would ask him my favourite question of the day and he would just list the class timetable of the day in the order he sat through them - literacy, snacktime, numeracy, ICT, music and swimming. After that, I could be more specific and ask him what he did in ICT and he'd say he clicked on the computer to open a folder and he did some colouring etc But now he can even volunteer to say more like just now, he told me how he clicked his folder and then it was empty and Mr. Want was telling him something he didn't understand!
We are also really happy to hear that Mrs R, his class teacher has been nothing less than great. She seems to be really interested to know and learn the ways to communicate with Raiyan and to get him to follow her instructions. I've also witnessed myself her communicating something with Raiyan in a systematic way just on the second day of school! When Raiyan was checking with her if there is ICT today, I saw her tell Raiyan "Yes, but we have assembly, then numeracy and then snacktime and then library and then we have ICT" :D
Looking forward to hearing more about Raiyan's days in schools from now on!