When a Little Boy Asked What My Picture Cards Are For


“What are those?” I hear a little voice ask me.

I am sitting in a waiting room. “Those” are mini visual cue cards I use daily at work with kids who have differing abilities. I explain they’re cards that give instructions with pictures instead of words.

“Are the kids learning to read and is that why you need the cards?”

I explain that the kids have differing abilities and are learning and pictures help.

“What are differing abilities?”

I’m still amazed at how willing kids are to learn about the meaning of differing abilities. We just have to make it a priority to teach them. I told him that while people come in all shapes, colors, abilities and sizes, and while we may look, sound or do things differently, inside we’re all very much the same.

I always use myself as the first example. I point to my glasses. I cannot see without them. Everything is fuzzy. I tell him I need assistance to see. I rely on tools like glasses. Some kids I work with have helping tools also. Canes, wheelchairs, walkers, story cards, assistance dogs and other medical assistive devices. I see him taking this all in. He goes on to say he hopes they’ll learn but “I am glad you got those cards and I am glad you got those kids.”

He knows that school let out at 2:30 and it’s 3:15. He asks why I still have the cards on display. I explain that I want to be able to communicate with any kids, and if I happen to be out of school, now I can. I also like when people ask about the cards. It opens a door so I can talk about working with a great group of kids. This little boy smiles and says “cool.” He says he wants to get a set of cards like I have so he can communicate with anyone. I tell him he can always communicate with anyone without words or cards.

Then I feel like the Good Witch Glenda from “The Wizard of Oz” as I tell him he already has the power to do so within him. I lean over and say, “You look a person in the eye, give your biggest smile and wave hello.”

He looks at me in the eye and smiles. And so do I.

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