Collections (Capturing memories one square inch at a time.)

What a phenomenal visual memory Jonah has! He is able to remember the most minute details, colors, shapes, and other visual attributes of things he saw weeks, months, years ago. As his capacity to express grows and he adds nuance to his visual and verbal vocabularly, I am amazed daily at how much more of his world I can "see."

Lately, letters and words are becoming more and more alive to him, and observing him grapple with their meanings and uses has been a fascinating window into how Jonah's mind works.

I wonder often what it must be like for him, to be poised at the cusp of reading, at a point in his development where he is aware that letters strung together make words, that words strung together make thoughts, and that his thoughts can be expressed.

At the same time, he is unable to decode even the simplest words, even if they are repeated over and over again in a book.

I can see his frustration.

For me, observing the vast disparity between his struggle to make sense of written words vs. the ease with which he retains and vocalizes (in correct context!) words--like manifest, vibrations, friction, mise en place, transformation, fragile, camouflage--has been both fascinating and bewildering.

I have found that connecting and associating a visual to a written word--first in memory, then in drawing--helps Jonah focus on letters while simultaneously growing his confidence in making marks. While making marks and drawing, he is growing his dexterity and ability to create letters. He is acutely aware of whether his letters look "right," which is both an asset and a frustrating burden, since letters that look "wrong" discourage him. Drawing has been the perfect pathway to writing better.

Together, we have been using visual memory, visual perception, and narrative to capture memories of a place, a time, an object.

Each memory is captured on a one-inch by one-inch square.

Jonah's selections vary, from actual objects in front of him, to things he experienced and wants to remember. For me, it is most fun to watch as he considers visual details from something he experienced (but can no longer see in front of him), then carefully selects the shapes and colors he needs to best convey what is in his mind. Many of these are a collaboration--a mark by me, a shape by Jonah, on and on...

These are our little pieces of memory...(so far!)