Letters from Grandpa

I just got back to my office after seeing E, and I wanted to share what I thought was one of the most heartwarming, adorable inter-generational interactions I’ve been blessed to witness.

I’ve gotten to know this little 6-year-old girl and her family very well over the years, and I know that the grandparents on both sides of the family live a long distance away.  Both sets of grandparents are involved in the lives of their grandchildren.  One grandpa sends a letter in the mail, every week, to each of his grandchildren.  He always includes a small gift with the letter.

A letter arrived from Grandpa while I was there today, and at the end of our session E opened the letter.  She read it out loud, with minimal prompting from Daddy for top-to-bottom sequencing.  Below is a copy of the letter, which also contained a $1 bill.

Grandpa's letter to E

This letter was printed in plain, large font that makes it easier for E to read.  (Studies suggest that Comic Sans is the most easily read font for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders.)  This letter contained things that E enjoys or would be interested in (counting, ants, money, Grandpa).  This letter was black and white, with no major visual distractions.  Sentences were short and direct.

After E read the letter, Daddy questioned her on her comprehension.

E:  “Money!”

Daddy:  “E, who sent you that letter?”

E:  “Grandpa.”

Daddy:  “What animal did Grandpa have in his letter?”

E: “No more questions.”

Daddy:  “Grandpa sent you six….”

E: “Ants.”

Daddy:  “That’s right!  Time to go swimming!”

Wow!  What a beautiful inter-generational conversation they just had!  Grandpa communicated with E in a way that she could understand with minimal assistance.  Daddy supported Grandpa’s communication with his assistance and questions.  E replied correctly to Daddy’s comprehension questions regarding Grandpa’s communication, and was immediately rewarded with what she loves:  swimming!  And best of all, E knows that Grandpa loves her!

How cool is this entire family?!

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