My Sweet Girl doesn’t like talking on the phone. Clarifying: the boring land line which all you can do with is talk on it; the android, which you could speak into in order to have conversations except for the fact that she hates doing that. She doesn’t like pleasantries, conversations of a fun or serious nature, and doesn’t “get” what’s so great about the entire vocalizing conversations thing.
She much prefers my android and the fun things the phone actually does. Youtube, Kindle books, Angry Birds. She looks forward to having her own one day so that she can have Youtube, Kindle books, and Angry Birds and text all of the friends and family that she doesn’t want to speak with.
During the second PPT of the school year I asked her team to build into the social therapies “telephone speaking skills.” At 11 years old she doesn’t know, or care to know, how to make a phone call on the house phone or the android (or even her dad’s basic phone). She doesn’t know, or care to know, how to answer any of the phones. She does know how to view a text I’ve received. She knows how to open any app that interests her. She knows how to open up Chrome and do an internet search for My Little Ponies and Frozen and Angel Cat Sugar. She knows how to do all of these things on my Kindle too.
I wasn’t sure how the social therapy regarding the phone skills was working because she’s still resistant to using the phone, and although I encourage her to take calls that come in for her, I don’t force her to do more than listen to the other person and be polite. I also don’t force her to make a phone call, although I will have her listen to me make a phone call and watch what I do. Her response every time is,
“I do not like the phone. I do not… know.”
I get it. I do. She has nonverbal learning disorder, and she has some anxiety regarding phone usage because, I’m guessing, telephone conversations generally don’t have an easily identifiable script. There isn’t an expected beginning, middle, or end. People say and ask unexpected things and since it’s not face to face, responding more quickly (as opposed to taking some time to respond) feels more urgent and anxiety inducing.
It’s ok. But it’s still important that she knows how to do these things. I want her to know how in case she NEEDS to make a call or respond to a call. Emergencies could happen. She needs to know emergency contact numbers too, but that’s been a very long difficult lesson that worries her. We usually have a medical alert bracelet for her with ICE info on it, but the last one broke so it’s time to get a new one. It helped her feel secure.
So you can imagine my surprise when my youngest princess called me today (as requested) with a grocery list I asked her to help me with. I asked her if the Sweet Girl had helped make the list, offered suggestions, or anything. She said no and then forced her sister on the phone.
I fully expected Sweet Girl to drop the phone and walk away. She didn’t. She didn’t because with forceful determination, my youngest daughter told her to speak up and tell Mom what she wanted for groceries. I said “Hello” and asked her what she’d like when I went shopping after work.
“Ummm… yes. Tomato.”
“Ok. Tomato… sauce?”
“Yes. But red soup. Gramma calls it red soup. It is red.”
“Mmm hmmm, yes. Sauce. Your sauce is better. You need enough.”
“I need enough cans to make sauce AND soup?”
“Yes, you do.”
“Good idea. What’s next?”
“I need hummus chips. They are healthy. I do not like hummus. Hummus chips are good.”
“I need black bean chips. I do not like black beans. I do not like texture. Black bean hummus chips are good.”
“On the list. Thanks, honey.”
“Chocolate pretzels… uhhh… Special K. They have the chocolate pretzels I like.”
“Ok, thank you. Anything else?”
“Yes. Apples. Strawberries are good. I do not like bananas. Anna and Daddy like bananas, I do not like them. You should buy them.”
“Great, I almost forgot those on the list.”
“Mmm hmmm, yes. My pretzels, the ones I like.”
“Yes, mustard pretzels.”
“Well, should we get veggies? I think those would be healthy.”
“Yes, get veggies.”
I fully expected her to remind me that she doesn’t eat veggies or meat, only fruit and carbs and cheese, so this surprised me. 🙂
“Oh! Well what veggies would you like?”
“Rhubarb. I miss rhu…rhubarb. I like cauliflower. You have to get cheesy, um, the giant one.”
“Sure! We did run out of the cauliflower.”
“We ran out of rhubarb. Last summer.”
“That too, I hope I can find it.”
“Hmmm, yes. You should get my fruit bars. They are frozen. I like strawberry. I like lemon. I want coconut.”
“But the coconut has milk in it.”
“Yes, you say that. I like strawberry.”
“Do you miss yogurt?”
“I like yogurt. Get one with chocolate.”
“You’re such a big help on this list honey.”
“Yes. I need allergy medicine. And nut clust… clusters. I runned out of Lactaid. I need chocolate Chex.”
“We ran out of a lot. Are you hungry?”
“I don’t know.”
“Do you think the list is done?”
“Hi Mommy, Gracie just dropped the phone.”
Oh! My! Gosh! That girl kept me on the phone for 15 minutes! I complimented her when I got home from grocery shopping, and made sure she saw the healthy foods she added to the list. She may not eat the majority of the food she PUT on that list, but she created a grocery list! Over the phone! For 15 minutes!