The Idea of an Essay, Volume 4

168 The Idea of an Essay: Volume 4 The Test that Changed His Life Joshua Perez Introduction A boy is born with severe cerebral palsy and cannot speak. Many around him, like those surrounding so many other non-vocal children, have initial assumptions that non-vocalism is synonymous with non-literacy. As he grows older it becomes apparent although he is non-vocal, he is far from non-literate. His teachers notice strengths and weaknesses in his literacy, and wish to understand the factors playing into such things, though the published literature regarding this subject only increases their confusion. Phonological tests show his strengths and weaknesses, but find no patterns between said weaknesses and gender, age, education type, years in school, or virtually anything else. It is in this situation, when answers could decide the flourishing (or lack thereof) of this child’s literacy, that his teachers see the pathetic lack of specific tests designed for him. To have a more specifically designed test for people like him could exponentially increase the progress of his literacy, and those like him. Phonological awareness tests specifically designed for non-vocal