Sunday, February 01, 2009

Bud, blogger in training

Bud's in a good school district, which means that the children have always been expected to do a lot of writing. Because Bud struggles with fine motor skills, he often dictates his compositions to an aide, who either writes or types his words for him. In the early grades, Bud used these exercises as an opportunity to script and he would often come home with pages and pages of dutifully transcribed episodes of Teletubbies, Sesame Street or Blues Clues.

As Bud got older and his echolalia became more sophisticated, he began mitigating scripts in his writing, swapping out details from the scripts with details from his life, so that the writing appeared to be original, but really wasn't. He got so good at it, in fact, that at this year's parent/teacher conference, his teacher proudly showed me a story he'd written about a trip that he and I had taken to a farm. Of course, we hadn't taken a trip to a farm. I recognized the framework of the essay as a direct lift from Elmo's World.

Some of the essays I saw at this year's parent/teacher conference, though, were not scripted. They were Bud's genuine attempts to tell a story - but they were not always true stories. They typically started with a germ of truth - he'd start with an event that had actually happened - but then he'd veer off into a story he seemed to find more interesting. Sometimes - I'm guessing when he'd had enough of the exercise - he defaulted to a script as the essay reached its end.

Last week, a stack of papers from last semester came home in Bud's backpack, and among them I found this essay:

I Went For A Ride With Mom

My mom and I went for a ride to return spoons that we used for a party. So we went to Kiki's cottage which is on Placid Lake, and we returned the spoons. Then we had to go to the gas station and fill up the tank.

On the way I listen to music on my ipod. My favorite singer is Dierks Bentley. He sings country music. Then we headed back home, but on the way mom hit a big mud puddle and the windows got all muddy.

I like to go for rides with mom in her car. I get all excited when mom says, "Lets go for a ride." I think mom's car looks like a red apple. I love to look out the windows and watch the other cars go by.

I was completely blown away.

The essay is well-written. It's well-organized. The language is sophisticated. And the story is told exactly as it happened. It's not a story his teacher would have known, so she could not have prompted him. It's got to be all Bud's.

I've re-read the essay a hundred times, and I'm still not sure which part of me is prouder: the writing instructor or the mom.

24 comments:

Quirky Mom said...

Wow, go Bud!!! :)

Tera said...

I love Bud's essay! I think my favorite part is that your car is like a big red apple.

Stephen King has said that his first writing was transcriptions of stories he'd read. Then his mom told him that if he wrote down his own stories, she'd give him a quarter for each one.

In middle school, I wrote a lot of things where I copied the language of whatever book I was reading at the time. It was a really important stage of trying out different voices so I could develop my own. I've heard of other writers who've done something similar.

Robin said...

Way to go Bud! GREAT job!!

Kitt said...

What a good story! It's good observation and reporting of details, and he puts himself into it, too.

Susan said...

No need to choose. Just be proud. That is such amazing work, and it is so lovely and gratifying to see Bud learning to express himself so skillfully. I just love getting a glimpse of how he sees the world.

Jenn said...

So happy for both of you! Great job, Bud!

Anonymous said...

I love your stories about Bud. I think Bud and my son, who is 6, are very similar types of kids My guy is a "scripter" too. I'm always so excited to read your blog to see what Bud is up to and how much progress he has made!!

Kajoli said...

Woo hooo what an amazning kid

Niksmom said...

Silly Mama! You don't have to choose; you get to be DOUBLY PROUD! Love, love, love this!

TimsMomMom said...

I would love to read more of Bud's stories! It's so interesting to see something from their perspective. I hope one day to have Timmy able to do the same. Thanks for sharing and you are both doing a great job!

KAL said...

I love it! Great essay :)

Anonymous said...

I love your blog; please keep blogging! And go Bud!

Betty and Boo's Mommy said...

So cool to read this post - just the other day (inspired by his guest post on my blog about the music he likes), Boo asked me for his own blog. I'm giving it some serious thought ....

Club 166 said...

Great story!

Our Buddy Boy (who is also 9 years old) lately has been channeling Pokemon as the basis of his stories.

Joe

Robin said...

Yeah Bud- he tells a great story and so do you!
I love the glimpse into your lives the blog gives.

Nicki said...

That is a GREAT story! You should definitely be proud of Bud! :) Thats so funny how he wrote a story straight from Elmo's World and managed to pass it off as his own to his teacher! That teacher needs to stay more current with her Elmo viewing!

mommy~dearest said...

Awesome job! I like the part about likening your car to an apple too. You've got a lot to be proud of there. :)

Daisy said...

Great writing! Does he type yet? The physical act of typing may help him put his own words into writing if it's easier than holding and using a pencil.

for what it's worth said...

How wonderful! How totally wonderful. I am in the midst of learning about my new buddy and all the things he is able to do. We had a discussion on the Gaza Strip the other day....and apparently my reputation has preceded me as I have a new young lady starting Grade 1 with me in March. Her parents are from South Africa and heard about me through Daughter's exchange parents. They bought a house in the neighbourhood so they could attend our school. In SA children with autism are still segregated into off-site schools or institutions. She has never been to school with a generalized population. The kids are soooooo excited to show her what school is like and to teach her English (she speaks Afrikans...Daughter will be helping me learn at a fevered pace) I am so happy to be back in a class versus the one on one supporting I was doing. I love being the coordinator and I feel as though I was able to support and advocate for a number of students, but the joy and challenges that having a class of my own brings back is awe inspiring and awe some. I am so thankful for your blog, your stories and your network. I can do what I do because of the strength I read about in you and the other amazing folks who visit you. I can't wait to meet my little birdie!

Drama Mama said...

So great. I'll say it again: Echolalia is a good sign. I used to hate it, be afraid of it. As we grew, the mitigation was fascinating to watch.

And look at that end product. Neat writing, kid.

kyra said...

i am SO proud of bud!!

Stimey said...

Amazing! Wonderful! Tremendous! Fabulous! That's a big deal. Way to go, Bud! And I agree with Niksmom: Be doubly proud!

brp said...

This is the next great American novel compared to a few applications I've read lately. He has mastered subject - verb - object which appears to challenge some of our soon to be high school grads - Go Bud!

Osh said...

Bud has talent!...but we knew this