Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Posts Tagged ‘fine motor

Wordless Wednesday 22 Aug 12

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I have Hello Kitty at home. This might be the world’s biggest understatement.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

August 22, 2012 at 6:33 am

The End

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There is something pretty sinister about disappearing from my blog for a week, only to emerge with a post entitled “The End.”  Anyway, we’d been in the Drakensberg mountains for a week.  For some kids on the spectrum, a change in routine can be hard for them to handle, but Pudding was spectacular for the entire week, which of course meant that her brother had to be the one acting out.  A week without internet access was quite isolating for me, but obviously something about the area suited her well.

In fact, she was doing so well throughout the week, that I began to get concerned about how she might react to returning home.  I had a couple of talks with her about the fact that her holidays were coming to an end, but she didn’t seem too perturbed.  Finally we got to Saturday: the day we were driving home.  I’d already packed her toys away, so Pudding was busying herself by drawing pictures in the condensation on the windows.

Before long, she became frustrated.  What she sees in her mind’s eye never translates well enough to paper, or glass in this case.  She so loves art and drawing, that her fine motor difficulties are at odds with her perfectionist tendencies.  Several times she drew something on the window, only to rub it away moments later.

Pudding: Mummy, help me!

Normally I love that she will actually ask for help instead of getting angry about something that is challenging.  Normally.  But not when it comes to drawing.  If she finds it hard to translate an image, it is even harder for me to decipher.  I’m neither an artist nor a visual thinker, so my efforts rarely turn out the way she wants.  A week earlier she’d been trying to draw a shower, or a series of showers for different people (Hello Kitty’s shower, Cubby’s shower, Jimmy’s shower) and it had taken a while to produce something satisfactory.  n the end I’d drawn a very similar shower with different colours to denote the ownership.  I was glad that I got there in the end, but it took repeated efforts.

On the morning of our departure, I didn’t have sufficient time to devote to the craft.  I hoped against hope that she would ask for something simple that I could easily reproduce.

Me: Okay, quickly- what would you like for me to draw?

Pudding: The End.

Oh.

I racked my brains.  Was she referring to the end of her vacation, in which case some suitcases and a car might depict her commission.  Or, picking up on her inflection, does she really mean for me to draw The End?  And what in the universe would that look like?  Why is my five-year-old an existentialist?

After a few seconds of looking like a goldfish, I thought of a solution.  This wasn’t so different from Hello Kitty’s shower.

Me: Okay, but you have to tell me- what colour is The End?

Her turn to be the goldfish.  What was I doing talking about colours when we were drawing with our fingers?  In fact, she still hasn’t answered me, and she let me go about my business of getting our things together.  I’m not fool enough to think this is over yet, but I do have a reprieve.  At least until she comes up with a colour for me.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

February 7, 2012 at 9:00 am

iBelieve

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From before you could buy an iPad, I knew I wanted one for Pudding.  When Cubby was born, his father bought me an iPod Touch.  When I was nursing the newborn, Pudding latched on to the iPod.  I was amazed how well she could use it, how naturally the touch screen and visual layout came to her.  I downloaded some apps for her, and uploaded some cartoons.  It came so naturally to her, she learned so easily in this format.  I didn’t know at the time that she was a visual learner, like many other children on the spectrum.  Of course, I didn’t even know there was a spectrum back then.

I didn’t notice then that her fingers didn’t work quite as well as they should.  I remember during her initial OT evaluation remarking that there was no way she could have significant fine motor delays, as she was so very capable with my iPod.  I was wrong, and following the diagnosis, I observed how her little fingers would struggle and wished they made a bigger iPod that would be just the right size for her.

Months later, that was exactly what Apple did with the iPad.  By that time, however, the device was way out of our budget.  I told myself we’d save up for one for her for Christmas, but finances just became more and more difficult.  We couldn’t afford the therapy our doctor recommended, then we had to let go of her occupational therapist, and speech therapist.  We’d purposely remained in the US to provide the best treatment options for our girl, we’d never imagined how difficult that would be.

I started to read about how the autism community had discovered the same thing with this technology as I’d observed with Pudding.  The iPad tapped right into our kid’s strengths.  Developers created and marketed apps directly to those with communication challenges.  The iPod, and later the iPad, became a more affordable communication device.  Families discovered how it helped their loved one to remain organized, with visual schedules and social stories at the touch of a button.  Pudding’s teacher introduced them to the classroom, and is undergoing training to help Pudding and her classmates use them to their full potential.  Apple had created a revolution.  I told myself one day, perhaps after returning to work, we’d become part of that revolution too.

I didn’t have to wait.  Pudding is the very fortunate recipient of an iPad.  A gift of kindness so touching I can hardly find the words to express my gratitude.  We aren’t waiting for Christmas, she is using it right now.  Though she can use it to access entertainment, it isn’t a toy.  She uses it, she doesn’t play with it.  It is fostering her independence as she makes her own leisure choices.  It is teaching her how to write the letters of the alphabet, and the basics of reading.  It is a tool that works with the way her brain works, rather than struggling against her differences.  I’m busy learning about other apps to organize her day, and encourage appropriate behaviors in unfamiliar situations.  If anybody reading this can recommend apps, please do so in the comments.  We’ve got a lot to learn, but I’m already amazed.

And I believe.  I believe in kindness and goodwill.  I believe that this world is becoming more accommodating to those with differences like my girl.  I believe in my girl.  I believe in her future, with all the tools she needs to succeed in life.

I believe in Santa.

*****

If you have anything left over to give, please consider making a donation to the Autism Society of America, so that other families might benefit from this amazing technology.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

December 24, 2010 at 8:47 am