Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Posts Tagged ‘Early Intervention

Pinteresting

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I think I joined Pinterest when it first started, then immediately decided that I didn’t have time for it.  Last week, I was drawn back in, though I can’t say I wasn’t warned about what would happen:

@spectrummymummy you have now completed the “time suck” trifecta (fb, twitter and Pinterest)

Yay, time suck trifecta!  Well, I’m still not working yet, so at least it is only my time I’m wasting.  

Like Facebook and Twitter, I restrict my time on there to when I’m not needed.  Usually for me that is when I’m waiting for the kids to go to sleep in the evening- the prefect time to get pinning.  If you are interested, you can find me here: http://pinterest.com/spectrummymummy/

Just another piece of the internets that I’ve sprayed on, like a tom cat.  Sorry.  

Still, it isn’t all a complete waste of time.  I found this pin that I adapted into a game for my kids.  And they played. Like, together.  Taking turns and everything.  It was living the dream.  The only reason I didn’t disturb them to take photos was because I knew that would turn into a nightmare.  

Mosey over to the original poster:  Juggling With Kids to see how she created this game using a car to “park” in the spaces labeled with the sight words he is learning for school.

Image

We made our parking lot (which in my case looked more like a ouija board) using just the alphabet, and then we played a variety of games, like phonics (which letter makes the “vuh” sound?), spelling, (how do you spell cat?), and sequencing (what comes before “T”?).

The alphabet is very familiar to both kids, but they don’t always apply their knowledge so well.  This game also had them practice their listening skills, and taking turns.  Pudding used a doll to go and jump on the letters, while Cubby parked his ice cream van.

We got to work on the -an and -at words that Pudding is learning in her speech therapy, and Cubby got to practice his articulation that he works on in his speech therapy.  I think the big factor in our success was each child having their own toy to play with- a great way of bringing special interests into learning.  It definitely helped my two impulsive children to focus on letting each other take a turn.

It could, of course, be adapted for any child, and a variety of skill levels.  Just off the top of my head, I’m thinking of a toy rocket that could fly to the planets, or a plane that flew to different countries.  You could use colors or stickers to create your board, or maybe even use some PECS images if you are using that method with your child.  And how about using a straw to blow a ping-pong or cotton wool ball on to the letter to get in a little oral-motor therapy?

You could do a much better version, I’m sure.  Now that I know my kids like playing, I might make a more interesting version one of these days.  This one I deliberately kept as simple as possible, as I didn’t want to waste time.  After all, I do enough of that on Pinterest!

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Preschooler

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Just before Cubby started preschool, I mused about if we were ready for this next step.  Here is how it went…

The first day, he’d been as excited as can be.  He happily carried in his backpack, and ran to get to his class.  Pudding and I stayed with him for a few minutes as he discovered new toys.  Then he cried when we left.  And when I say, I mean CRY.  I could hear his screams as I put Pudding back in the car to get to her school. I collected him early, and he was still crying when I turned up.  He’d spent the whole morning in either the teacher’s or assistants’ arms. His dummy (pacifier) never left his mouth.  He didn’t speak to anyone.  He didn’t interact with anybody else.   He wouldn’t eat or drink.  He didn’t focus on a single thing apart from the gate, waiting for me to collect him. I felt awful.

On Tuesday, he woke up in a state.  He knew what was coming, and he didn’t want any part of it.  When we arrived at school, his teacher had to pry his arms away from around my neck.  I skulked away with the promise that I’d return in 2 hours.
The following day, he attached himself to a particular assistant.  As long as he was with her, he was okay.  He wasn’t crying as I collected him.
The day after, he cried as usual when we got to school, but he sobbed that he wanted his dummy and I left, still feeling guilty. When I collected him, he was happy.  He’d stayed by the assistant all day, and he’d made a racecar in baking.
Still crying on the fifth day, he entered the classroom and asked where his favourite assistant was.  I waited until noon to collect him.  It was circle time, and he was the only child not in the circle, sitting by himself on a bench.  He couldn’t wait to tell me about the book they’d read together.

Then came a busy weekend, complete with dislocated elbow, a friend’s birthday party at the fire station, and giant slide.

The next day was Monday again, and the tears were back.  But when I collected him he was playing in the ball pit near the other kids.

On Tuesday there were more tears.  But  when I collected him, he told me the name of the boy he was playing with.

Wednesday, there would have been no tears, but then I dropped his cup on his head as I got him out of the car, and it was just.too.much.  He needed the dummy and his assistant to get over it.  By the time I returned, he was eager to tell me about his painting.

Today.  No tears.  No dummy (though he did stash one in his pocket).  No guilt.  Just a preschooler going to preschool, and a Mummy finally convinced she is doing the right thing by her boy.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

September 29, 2011 at 10:13 am

Ready or Not (at Hopeful Parents)

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Hopeful Parents

This was originally published at Hopeful Parents.  You can read the post here.

I was out of sight during a game of hide-and-seek, and Cubby couldn’t find me.  Just a few months ago, this entire scenario would have been impossible.  Before we started Early Intervention, I couldn’t leave Cubby.  Ever.  I couldn’t go into another room.  He could only sleep next to me.  I couldn’t use the bathroom alone or take a shower.  His occupational therapist began introducing games of hide-and-seek for the three of us at the local playground, and slowly, slowly, he got better.  He learned to trust her, and eventually learned to trust that I would come back.

Mummy, where are you?  I miss you!

There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t marvel at this boy’s language skills.  His ease at expressing himself and his emotions, so strikingly different from his older sister.  I let myself exhale a little.  It won’t be so hard for this one.  He can communicate, he can tell someone else what is wrong.  He doesn’t rely on me to decode every situation, every adverse sensory reaction.

He made other kids of progress too under Early Intervention.  He strengthened his muscles, both fine and gross.  He can hold a crayon correctly, he can jump from one place to another.  He learned to tolerate being touched, and ask what was making the noise.

But there were some goals we didn’t achieve before we moved.  He still struggles with waiting and turn-taking.  He is still an anxious little boy whose attention span is very short.  Most of all, though, he is still a child that can’t always play well with others.  He gets too overwhelmed.  He prefers to sit on the sidelines, observing.  For all the great strides he has made, I still worry.  Of course I worry- I’m his mother, and he will always be my baby.

As his mother I can do so much for him.  I can give him a sensory diet, to lessen his need to spin himself in circles.  I can distract him when he repeats things over and over- echoing his sister’s echolalia.  I can explain things, prepare him, help him understand this at times confusing world.  But I can only do so much.  What I can’t do is be a typically developing peer and playmate.

So today he starts preschool.  He is excited.  He is ready, but I’m not.  I’m afraid that this sensitive little soul will become overwhelmed and will withdraw just as Pudding did when she started school.  Recently we’ve spent a lot of time together, just the two of us.  Over a cup or two of rooibos tea, we’ve talked about school, and how Mummy can’t stay, and the teacher and new friends will be there to play, until I collect him before lunch.  Every day he asks to go to school.  He is ready.  I can’t hide from it, not when he is seeking something more.

So I stepped out of my hiding place.

I miss you too!

I gave him a hug, and he giggled.  Ready or not, here we come.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

September 19, 2011 at 10:52 am

Wordless Wednesday 24 Aug 11

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Two incredibly tall creatures size each other up.

All that early intervention paid off, and Cubby touches the giraffe!

Aah, spoke too soon!

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

August 24, 2011 at 2:20 am

Wordless Wednesday 22 Jun 11

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Cubby’s last ever session with his Early Intervention OT.

He has come such a long way.

Happy Wordless Wednesday everyone!

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

June 22, 2011 at 6:42 am

Echo Echolalia

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Pudding has a new script as we drive in the car.  She looks out of the window at the buildings.  When she sees a house, she repeats:

That’s a house, and you remember this house.

And then we pass another house, and she’ll say it again:

That’s a house, and you remember this house.

Every time we pass a house.  Every time.  Sometimes we pass buildings that aren’t houses, and she demands to know what they are.  It doesn’t matter if I’m driving in rush hour traffic with idiots on their phones who don’t look when they change lanes (calm down, Spectrummy Mummy); if we pass a building and she doesn’t know what it is, that must be rectified.  Luckily she has that awesome memory on her, and a near GPS-like mapping skill, so once she has been told it is a hotel, or a mall, and then checked on the veracity of that a subsequent time, she is cool.

That’s a house, and you remember this house.  That’s a house.  That’s a house.  That’s a hotel.  That’s a coffee shop.

As I imagine it, she is talking through adding it to her mental map.  Then each time, checking that map hasn’t changed, and adding a little more.  It is pretty cool that she finds ways to make her world more ordered, so I don’t get too irritated by it, even though we spent a lot of time working on my motor skills.

Until Cubby does it too.

At first he would just immediately repeat everything she said, to Pudding’s great delight.

That’s a house.  (That’s a house).  That’s a house, and you remember this house.  (That’s a house and you remember this house).

The two of them were greatly amused by this game of Driving Mama Crazy.  But then Cubby started doing it when Pudding wasn’t around too.  Using the exact same words as his sister.  Echolalia of echolalia.  I can generally distract him, but left to his own devices, he repeats the script at length throughout the journey.  He repeats at other times too, but not consistently.

Does he have echolalia?  Does his brain work in the same tape recorder way?  Cubby has advanced language skills for his age, but he doesn’t always use his words socially or flexibly.  Does echolalia fill a gap when he doesn’t have the skills to communicate effectively?  At times echolalia seems to perform the same function as it does for Pudding.

Or is is something else?  Is echolalia normal to him because that is what he has heard all his life from his big sister?  Is it reinforced by her laughter and encouragement?  If Pudding was no longer echolaic, would it die away with him too?

All these things pass through my mind whenever we’re in the car together.  Is history repeating itself, or is is just my boy repeating my girl’s words?  Echo echolalia.  And can I tell myself that he is merely copying all those spectrummy behaviors that we see in him now?  She spins in circles, flaps her hands, and has meltdowns, so why shouldn’t he?  But what about the spinning wheels, his difficulty with transitions, the way he gets overwhelmed when there are more than a couple of kids around?  These are things that Pudding doesn’t do.  It is so hard to tell what actions are *his* and what are a result of being a younger sibling in our home.

Certainly this afternoon I’ll be thinking about these things some more, as I drive my grey-area kid to his IEP eligibility meeting.  And yes, it is crazy that we’re going through this Incredibly Enervating Process again weeks before we move to another continent.  But if we’re going to have a repetition of what happened last time we moved, I’m going to be prepared for it.

 

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

June 9, 2011 at 7:23 am

Wordless Wednesday 11 May 11

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Funprint book + washable ink

Pudding provides the thumbprints

I add the details

And write the word next to it.

Pudding learns to spell the word.

We see if she can write the word the next time.

Look at all these lovely feelings!

Using Pudding’s love of art (and a visual/tactile/proprioceptive method) to help her to learn.

Happy Wordless Wednesday everybody!