When our son was four, he struggled with articulation. Luckily his creativity and problem-solving skills transcended his frustration.
Instead of struggling with the /tr/ sound in words like “fire truck” – he called it a “honk-honk”. He simply searched his brain for a synonym that was easier to say if the word involved a tricky blend of letters. In school, if the teacher requests a binder and dividers to keep classwork organized, he opts for a pocket portfolio instead because he knows what helps him succeed.
Last week he decided to tackle the skill of riding his unicycle backward. Knowing he needed some assistance to start, he used our trashcan on wheels to help him balance as he rode. Three days later he mastered the skill.
That’s just how he operates. He knows what doesn’t work for him but more importantly, he unearths what does.
So when he was training our unbelievably smart and nimble Border Collie/Australian Shepard, Lola, in the backyard today, he noticed our labrador/golden retriever, Sancha was eager to play (get treats) also.
He set up a course using a wooden box, formerly a “free library” Dexter and I built that looked more like a large manger for Jesus, so we turned it into a wood box/dog training tool. First, he taught Lola to jump onto it and receive a treat. She effortlessly lept up following Dexter’s commands after a few tries.
When it was Sancha’s turn, her arthritis kicked in and I could completely relate. Now when I run I’m constantly worried I’m going to trip and send my ankles into arthritic shock. But, like Sancha, I love the reward of the challenge.
Dexter immediately noticed Sancha needed something to make the jump more accessible. So he pulled out his homemade bike ramp, placed it in front of the box and fashioned a doggy ramp for Sancha to help her up. After a matter of minutes, Sancha had the skill mastered.
Yet another accommodation to foster success.
I love that Dexter embraces the fact that everyone – even sweet Sancha – learns differently. I love that when he starts wading through the treacherous swamps of learning he doesn’t give up, and I love that he knows sometimes it’s best to forge your own path, even if you need a little ramp to hoist you up.