Sunday, September 12, 2010

Girl, Interrupted

Steve, Maggie and I went to a wedding on Saturday. Both bride and groom are Latinos and the ceremony was entirely in Spanish. In fact, we were some of the few people in attendance who spoke English.  It was a beautiful wedding and a lovely reception. We did not stay long, though because Maggie’s schedule was completely out of whack. We planned to be there for just a few hours and would do her needed procedures when we got home.  The wedding started much later than planned so we did not have much time after the ceremony. We had to get her out of there shortly after eating. (Yup, we ate and ran.)  We sat at a long table for 12 along with a couple of other people we knew.  Our tablemates were friendly and interesting, so the evening was lovely.

 Maggie sat next to me off the end of the table. I watched as the children running around became a little braver about approaching her.  The bride has a son in a wheelchair, so the kids might have been a little more acclimated than most. One little girl about 4 years old finally came up to Maggie while Blanca, the brides’ mother was talking to us. She asked Blanca  what the dynavox was and Blanca explained it (in Spanish) and I chimed in a little in my rudimentary Spanish. Blanca explained the buttons on the tray and how Maggie uses those to make the computer talk for her.

Maggie has two buttons, which we call the “mover” and the “chooser”. One scrolls through the pages and icons until Maggie gets to something she wants to say. Then she hits the “chooser” to select and “say” what she wants.  

This little girl was dressed like a princess. She was one of the flower girls and she was wearing a beautiful white dress and a tiara. She looked shyly at Maggie and then pressed one of the buttons. She pressed the chooser and the sentence Maggie was working on played. The little girl was very pleased.
Maggie was not.

The girl ran off to play with the other kids and Maggie sat scowling in her chair. I looked at her and said, “Maggie, did that girl make you mad?”  Maggie smiled wanly as if to say, "it’s ok, she’s just a kid."

The little girl came back and more deliberately  hit the button and ran off again. Maggie scowled again.  This time it was more like, “Ok, kid, I know you’re only 4 but BACK THE HELL OFF”

If an adult tried to do that, I would stop them. That is Maggie’s space. But a little girl … c’mon, you have to roll with it. I said Maggie, don’t you wish you had a little sister? She did not answer. She was too busy guarding her buttons in case the little princess should return.

We left before it got ugly.

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