Research/Care Blog

Caregiver Corner: 'Koko on the Ball' by Lucas Slavik

Koko has always been

Date Added: 2006-01-26
I enter Koko's kitchen to visit. Usually I ask her if I can close her into one of her rooms and clean the vacant one, but today as soon as I entered her kitchen she greeted me with:

 

 Koko: Purr #

Koko points to the control panel that is used to close off one of her rooms for cleaning. Lights-off was originally used to communicate flipping a light switch on or off, but Koko has expanded its use to other contexts. She often uses lights-off to tell us to turn the TV on and off, open or close a window, and in this case, operate the switches that control a gate within her enclosure.

After closing off her room and cleaning, I return to her kitchen at 12:02 pm, two minutes after she normally gets her noon drink and supplements.

  Koko: Kiss#. Drink.
  Lucas: Time drink?
  Koko: Drink, drink, purr#.

Both Koko and Ndume are highly aware of the timing of specific activities scheduled in their day, down to the minute when it involves something going into their mouths!


# Note: In Koko's responses above, the pound symbol (#) after a word indicates that it is a vocalization by Koko; otherwise the word or phrase represents her response in American Sign Language.


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