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I know it is the educators' and therapists jobs to help my child, but I still thank them every chance I get. I thank the teachers, the social workers, the principals. I make sure that SensiGirl and Random Guy say thank you too. I know that when you are trying to pull any sort of speech out of your child, thank you may not be the one you think to start to teach. It is important.
I really want SensiGirl to be polite, even if she may not say much. So we started working on saying thank you. When I couldn't get her to just say thank you on cue as in "What do you say?" after someone gives you something, we started to work on other ways to get her to say it. Signing wasn't working; the ASL sign for thank you didn't register to her.
Then I remembered that SensiGirl was all about the alphabet! She started reading when she was two and a half or so. I started finger spelling the things I wanted her to say. We made up our own sign for thank you combining the T and the H and holding it sideways. It was a subtle little sign that I could show her when the bakery ladies gave SensiGirl a cookie at Big Box store. I could show it to her when she was opening her birthday and Christmas gifts. It worked, and still works. We have now moved on the the "What do you say?' cue, but I am glad we made the effort to have some of her first words be thank you. From teaching her those words I was able to teach her a whole lot more words, and to get her attention when sometimes it was sensory overload time. The alphabet, the visuals of signing and written words had meaning for her. It was a way to connect to her even though the spoken words didn't register for her at the time.
Thank you are some of the most important words you can say and are the best ones to hear when you are trying your hardest. I will never forget the note SensiGirl's preschool teacher gave me at the end of the school year last spring and we were transitioning to kindergarten. She thanked ME for the privilege and honor of being SensiGirl's teacher. Thanking me for letting her teach my child, wow, it made me cry a little bit. She also was one of the first people to call me an advocate for my child. It made me see a little bit of which way I was going to have to go. Thank you everyone who is on this journey with me, as I couldn't get there without all the love and support.
Remember, the smallest thank you can have a huge effect.