Adrian reported yesterday that Martin has been giving substantive answers to questions. That’s not a skill I know Martin to have. Martin can repeat questions. He can respond yes or no to a yes-or-no inquiry. (That’s a recent development; Martin added “yes” to his vocabulary only this year.) He can express a preference when presented with two alternatives, such as, “Do you want to watch Ernie, or Big Bird?” And he can provide a concrete, expected response when presented with a known scenario—What song is this? Which instrument is this? But he cannot yet answer an open-ended question with various possible responses.
At least, I didn’t think he can. I was suspicious when Adrian said otherwise. According to Adrian, he had asked Martin, “What’s the name of a teacher at school who plays the guitar?” and got a name. He also had asked Martin, “What did you do today with Miss Jenny [a babysitter]?” and got a response that involved the playground and a merry-go-round.
Lucky shots, I thought.
Still, I decided to test the claims. Samara was sick today, so I picked Martin up from school and took him for a walk. After suitable time had passed, I knelt to catch his attention.
“Martin! What did you do in school?”
Martin made eye contact and responded, “What did you do in school?”
“That’s right. Can you tell me what you did?”
“Gym? You had gym? You went to the gym?” Gym. That’s a real answer. I was giddy.
Thus egged on, Martin expanded his answer: “Class—gym class.”
Gym class! Although I had no idea whether in fact Martin did have gym class today, those two words provided sufficient proof for my standards. Martin can answer questions. I wonder how long this has been going on.
I’m going to keep pushing the skill. Martin had better get himself ready for plenty of open-ended questions.
Heck, maybe by Christmas we can achieve something as advanced as nodding his head for yes.