How did she know?

At the boys’ basketball game last weekend, a lady sat in front of us on the bleachers.  When she first sat down she looked around and greeted everyone who would make eye contact with her — a nice lady.

Chloe had been sitting on Paul’s lap, but after a while she got down and sat on the bench between us and the lady.

Nearly immediately the nice lady turned around and greeted Chloe who was playing with an electronic handheld game of some sort.  The lady asked her some question like, “What are you playing?”

If Chloe glanced up at all, it was a quick and unemotional one with no response.  It was like a busy kid playing a game and not acknowledging that they’re being spoken to.  Not very unusual, right?

Oftentimes at this point, I would help Chloe answer the question.  This particular day I did not.  I just smiled at the lady and looked back up to the basketball game.

But the lady proceeded then to chat with me.  She asked me where Chloe goes to school.  I answered.  Then the lady told me that she works with “kids like her” at a school in a nearby town, that she has been doing it for years, and that she is so impressed with how much “they” can learn.

I mostly just nodded and smiled.  I chose not to be offended by the use of “those kids” and “they” and the surprise that “they” can learn; instead, I recognized that she was just trying to connect and relate.  She had no intention to offend anyone.

But I wondered, too, how did she know??  How did she know that Chloe had any special needs or any developmental disorder?  All that had transpired was the ignored question which seemed pretty ordinary and typical to me.  So how did she know?  What had happened that clued her in so quickly that Chloe had special needs?  I was baffled.

It was then I realized that Chloe had been growling constantly since the woman had first sat down.  The game was quite noisy, and Chloe was growling to drown out the noise.  She gets overstimulated and upset at loud, unexpected noises, and the cheering at games is the worst!  She was playing her little game and growling her little growl the whole time.

Ok, so her growl gave her away. . . .


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Liesl on January 26, 2010 at 5:02 PM

    Kelly, you make me laugh with Chloe!


    • It is oftentimes comical! The quirky-Chloe things that we get used to/ignore/don’t notice . . . . that the rest of the world knows is not quite normal!


  2. I have found though, that when you have a child with a special need, you are more adept at picking up on kids that are similar to yours. Many parents do not see the tiny differences, but when you are around a child with a difference, you get use to it. My daughter doesn’t growl, but she puts her ipod in her ears very loudly! The buzzer during her brother’s wrestling match is probably high on her dislike list.


    • Yes, so true, Danette! And, yes, Chloe hates, hates, hates the buzzer at the boys’ basketball games. She watches the clock like crazy, and when it starts counting down the seconds close to the buzzer, she squeezes her ears tightly in preparation of the BUZZZZZZZ!!


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