Can you have a talent if you have global apraxia?
That question in the subject line. Yes. I’ve asked it. Many times. To whom I am asking, I don’t really know, but my fear is that the answer to my rhetorical question is…..No.
I never told anyone this, though I was probably hinting when I would ask my husband, “what do you think Ashlynn will be when she grows up?”
It’s not that I don’t believe in Ashlynn. Oh the farthest things is from the truth. However, when I am forced to think about global motor planning issues, what on earth could you be truly “talented” at?
But then that got me thinking. What is talent? I was always taught our talents are God-given gifts. We are naturally inclined to be good at some skills than other people. I mean, who can doubt some people are simply better at singing than others, no matter how much they practice?
However, ,who can also deny that some people hone a skill, and become better at it simply because they practiced and worked harder than maybe someone who had the talent, but never utilized it.
Ok, true but when you have global motor planning issues, and NOTHING comes naturally or easily, does it still work the same way? Practice and work harder and you will be good at it?
I had a mentor who used to tell me to look for the strengths in every child, because every child has them. At the time I was young, and kinda absorbed her words and dismissed them at the same time. Oh of course. Every child is good at something.
Until I had Ashlynn. Then I started thinking about this a lot. What was Ashlynn naturally good at? She has trouble with everything that involves any sort of motor skill. Of course even Kermit would say:
I consoled myself with the fact that she is kind. The kindest child I know in fact. She is happy, she is social, and she can connect to people without words. She really is that good. Yes, I would think . That MUST be her talent. That is until I talked to an adult with her disorder, and he said that very quality in fact turns out NOT to be valued by society. That talent caused him to be used and taken advantage of. When he saw a person begging for money, he genuinely believed they must have needed it, until he got burned and taken for all of his bank account. “Some talent,” he had thought.
I’m on Winter Break this week, so I have more time to just “be” with my kids. My mother-in-law watches my children when I work, and she happens to be a very good baker and cook. Actually, she happens to be quite talented at basically everything crafty. I have never been crafty and really never had the desire. However, Ashlynn is very crafty despite all of her limitations. In addition, she absolutely loves cooking and baking. Fortunately she has a grandma with ample amounts of patience who loves cooking with her.
I came home from work one day to see Ashlynn and her Grandma covered in flour from an “accident” where Ashlynn turned on the blender before they got the lid on. I’m glad it was her grandma and not me, because sadly when I come home from work my patience is very thin and I’m not sure I could create a learning rich environment such as this moment.
On break though is a different story. As a said, I had Ashlynn bake muffins with me. She impressed me with her egg cracking that she did all by herself. She measured out the baking soda being careful to slide it along the top to make it “smooth” as she said. She carefully measured the water to line on the measuring cup that I asked her fill up, and methodically spooned out all the pumpkin from the can. My son tried to “help” too, but quickly became bored and would just pop in and out. Not Ashlynn though. She stayed with me to the very end. I started thinking about talent again, and I ran across this quote:
I’ve decided that talent may include your natural God-given gifts; however, true talent is born from passion and determination. Ashlynn has those in spades. Plus, the only thing Ashlynn has to overcome is motor planning. Once she masters the motor plan, she has mastered it. Plain and simple. Talent doesn’t seem to be so important anymore, and I know my husband’s right when he answers me,
“Ashlynn will be and do whatever she wants to do.” Just look at that smile!
Ashlynn not yet two years old making scrambled eggs with Grandma.