You are waiting on a platform for the train and it’s twenty minutes late.
You are anxious and need to get to your destination so you go to the nearest ticket guard and enquire as to WHY it’s late?
A beautiful piece of art sculpture catches your eye in an art gallery, it’s stunning and is made from an unfamiliar material. You are curious, and ask the guide HOW it was made?
A wonderful unfamiliar taste fills your mouth when you try a new dish in a restaurant and you ask the waiter WHAT the recipe is?
Your car breaks down so you pick up your phone, dial the garage number and ask CAN they come out to you?
The power of being able to inquire, to question and decipher is extremely important in reciprocated speech and interaction.
It allows us to find out what, where, how and why things happen. It allows us to question our fate and ask for help.
Today my daughter who is undiagnosed autistic asked her sister why she could not go into her bedroom. My older daughter was tidying her room and had told my little one to come back later, and little asked “ Why?”.
Now to most mothers I see in the supermarket walking around pushing a trolley the word ‘why’ can seem to provoke a myriad of emotion. I see a spectrum of responses in my minds eye that range from patient answers to the yelled pained “What? No!”.
To often I’ve seen the children reprimanded for questioning ‘WHY’.
Why can’t they run into the road?
Why can’t they eat sand and why can’t they have that toy?
‘Why’ allows children to make sense of their boundaries and often to push them.
To make informed judgments about their rights, to question the cycle of time to allow themselves to transition to the next activity.
Why do they have to finish playing now?
Why is it raining and is that why they have to wear a raincoat?
What will happen if they do not wear one?
Can they wear their new Wellington boots?
You get the picture.
For my daughter ‘why’ opens up a whole new world that while not completely free from frustration will at least make a little more sense.
People’s responses have been mixed on hearing that my little can now say why have been varied but most commonly has been “Oh she won’t stop now!”.
I hope she never does.
I hope she exercises the right she has to question why as often as possible.
Eventually she will ask ‘how?’
How does an aeroplane fly?
How do they do that?
How can we get there?!
I can’t wait to hear ‘What?’.
What is this?
What made that and what did you say?
My daughter is three years old next month, and until today has never questioned anything.
She has been frustrated and angered, saddened even in her limited vocabulary.
She now has a world of discovery and the power to demand answers.
And she will get them.
She can now ask why, and I can now answer.Share