I'm going to be honest and admit that I have my doubts sometimes concerning Ben's cognitive awareness and his understanding of language. Given his lack of motor skills I often question his ability to respond to us in a way that absolutely proves he isn't significantly challenged mentally. It is usually during one of those solemn moments that Ben does something equivalent of one of his peers hitting a grand slam in the little league championship game. Today has been one of those days.
Because the little guy slept through most of Jane Robelot's visit last week Michael Geer, the camera man for WYFF, wanted to schedule an appointment to come back and film Ben painting. He returned this morning and Ben once again had no intention of cooperating with the camera.
Nurse Lisa and I had a back-up plan though which essentially involves pissing Ben off enough to stay awake. Evidently my son is a typical 7-year-old and the threat of a bath (mainly washing his face) is always terrific motivation. Sure enough and reluctantly he started to paint.
Ben has several bird feeders outside his window but his favorite at the moment is a thistle sack. A couple of bright yellow finches have been visiting recently and so we encouraged him to "paint the birds." We started with the yellow paint that you can see in the picture. Michael started filming and Ben ran his hands through the paint a few times before he stopped. This usually indicates he's wanting a new color so I added blue. I pushed his hands around in the new color which obviously made the yellow paint turn a greenish olive. The switch was thrown in his brain.
He became very animated and began "Ben talk" which is mostly gibberish. Lisa and I asked him what he was painting expecting him to say "bird." Instead he distinctly said "goose" and continued pushing the new color around the canvas. Now Ben has only been around geese once that we are aware of which was about two months ago while we were in Macon, GA for an art show. Several ducks were also on hand and so I speculated that he probably thought they were also geese.
I sat and watched for a few minutes while Lisa added a few more colors. Michael indicated he had enough to complete the story so he began to pack up. Ben finally paused and I grabbed the canvas and began looking for a bird. I turned it 90 degrees and sure enough a very distinct image of a long-necked bird appeared! I showed it to Michael and he immediately unpacked his gear so he could film Ben's "finished" piece. It was so cool to see someone's jaw drop who was unfamiliar with this process.
Take a very close look at the image again. Here's a hint: follow the outline of the olive paint and you'll see what we saw. I think Picasso would be proud!
Wednesday, July 11, 2007