Damian's week (in pictures)
15 April 2001
We bought a digital camera last weekend. If you'd talked to me a month ago, I'd tell you I'd be the last person around to get one. I was a staunch "Only Film For Me, Thanks" snob. No more. I'm impressed as hell with the output from this thing, and I'm delighted with the features -- shutter priority, aperture priority, whatever your heart desires. We didn't buy it to feed my inner shutterbug, though. We bought it as a therapeutic tool. We take photographs of Damian going about his daily business. Every night after his bath I help him into his PJs and the three of us sit down on the bed for a slideshow presentation of Damian's Day, with commentary.

I don't know exactly why it clicked for me that this would be a good idea. It was a combination of things, I think. Dr. Red saying that Damian is a visual learner. Seeing him watch a video of himself from a year ago and copy his video self's actions. Knowing that it's important to work on teaching sequencing (first I do this, then I do that). Seeing Damian's delight in looking at old photographs. Knowing that it would be easier to help him think about the future if he started processing the past. Imagining that he might burst forth with "playground" or "pasta" if he saw it in a photo. Knowing that we can catch him at moments of high emotion and then talk about it later, showing him what that emotion looks like and therefore helping him recognize it in others. Hoping that some day he can tell the story himself of what happened that day as he looks at the photographs.

We're already seeing some results: Thursday morning as I dressed him, I told Damian the plan for the day -- first we'll go shopping at Whole Foods, then we'll come home and have lunch, then we'll go to the playground. Later, as I was unloading groceries into the fridge, Damian came up to me. In his now-usual whisper, he said, "going to playground." Time to go, Mom. Let's get on the road. That's a first, believe it or not.

Most of the pictures we take aren't very good, nor are they meant to be. They're just recordings of moments in a day. But Dan and I are taking the equivalent of a roll of film a day, and some are worth saving. These are my favorites from this first week.


Dan's been teaching Damian to pedal his trike. Last Saturday it clicked.

One of Damian's daily chores: feed the cat. Here he's scooping
the food pellets from the tin. He takes the job very seriously.

Mission accomplished. Cat's happy question mark tail says it all.

Patty cake turns out to be a useful form of occupational therapy. Damian is still trying to figure out how to clap his hands together on the in-between beats, but he loves to clap Daddy's hands.

Damian had his first occupational therapy session on Wednesday. I was amazed at how immediately comfortable he was with Heidi. She took his shoes off and he didn't panic; she put him on a big exercise ball and he got over his fear. He didn't turn to me for help, not even once. She's pushy in a gentle, "of course you can" way I wish I could import into my own brain. He responds almost without realizing he's done anything unusual.

(check out my favorite shots)

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copyright 2001 Tamar