Sophie is a toddler with physical and cognitive delays. Anton Jones is a teaching artist in the Toddler Room. On Sophie’s first day last fall, Anton met a child who did not speak or make eye contact but loved musical instruments. She especially loved percussion like maracas. But whenever Sophie’s turn with an instrument was over, she cried.
Eventually Anton developed a drumming exercise that showed Sophie, through repetition, how other children shared, and she began to share too. She even started making eye contact and drumming with different parts of her body.
One day, Sophie held the drum up to her mouth. Anton, seeing an opportunity, held the drum up to his own mouth and spoke into it. — Ha! Sophie smiled. A week later, they mirrored the same behaviors. After another week, she seemed close to speaking.
After one month, Sophie held the drum up to her mouth and said, “Mama!” Anton repeated, “Mama!”
“Hi!” Sophie said and waved back to him.
Anton and Sophie can’t wait to find out what happens next.
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photo of Anton and Sophie by Kelsye A. Gould, 2012