Monday, June 29, 2009
I was expecting my son to immediately want to go home the moment he heard the loud drums. He is not fond of loud sounds. At home, when the blender goes on (to make his daily smoothie), he'd cover his ears & run around the dining table (its next to the blender) - it's his way of saying it's too loud for his liking. When he was at kindy (to get him familiarised with environment), there was a "music & movement" session where the Macarena song was blasted very loudly that he was very afraid & clung on very tightly.
So my purpose tonight was to try to desensitize him to loud sounds. Frankly speaking, I hate loud noises too. As a child, I was terrified during a lion dance - too loud & mask was scary - and never wanted to go near another performance again. So I would have understood if he'd wanted to go home.
As it turned out, we stayed an hour! When we were at the outdoor carpark, walking to the venue, he was afraid & clung on tight, because the drums were very audible. Surprisingly, he was ok once we got to the viewing area. When asked if he wanted to go home after 2 or 3 teams performed, he replied "more". He replied 'yes' when asked if he liked the dragon dance!
Was also pleasantly surprised that it was a "glow in the dark" version of the dragon dance! Is this a norm? I dont get out often enough these days! Dragon was luminous, with ambient lighting off & UV lights switched on & the team dressed in all black (except percussionists were in luminous outfits). Dragon was at times slow or graceful or playful or forming geometric patterns or fast & furious. What a bonus! Good visual stimulation! Everything in black & easy for his eyes to be focused on the dragon. No distraction from the team members prancing around or audience moving about.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
I know there's a hierarchy but the helper just started off with what seemed easier. If straw is positioned with slight incline (instead of perfectly vertical), then he's able to suck it up. But we're happy enough as it's a start. In the past, the tip of the straw would be in his mouth (ie past his teeth) but now, it's placed before his teeth so he has to exercise the muscles nearer the lips.
Better today. Increased distance to about 15cm. Couldnt blow them down initially. Had to ask him to take deep breath & give one long blow, then butterflies fell.
He still hates having his teeth brushed. Need distraction. Sometimes can't stimulate the inside his cheeks with the electric toothbrush. It's a cheap Tesco own-brand electric toothbrush.
Bubble tea straw:
It's cut in half to shorten it (less strength needed) to start off with. We get him to blow through it/suck in various activities. E.g. blowing off loose bit of cotton at opposite end; aim & blow a tiny rolled up piece of cotton ball that's on a "race track". The cut out cardboard in the photo is his "race track". He chose & stuck those stickers - allows him to feel good that he helped decorate it Stickers also help give a "target" for him to aim to- e.g. can you tickle "superman" by blowing your cotton ball to him.
- Spinning tops: noticeably better! He's got the sequence of limb movement & better with balance. Just need to help him get onto the first top & get off the last top as it's a bit too high for him.
- Rope bridge: taught him to walk across sideways like a crab instead (got the idea from another kid doing it). He's definitely not afraid of it anymore, but will need a few more practices with the new sideways walking.
- tunnel slides: still in the phase where he himself wants it. Need to help him get inside the slide. He cant get his legs in without slipping down the slide head first. Only short slides & with a slight twist. Not yet one storey high twisted tunnel slides.
- Weeble wobble: he rocked himself today!!! Better than previously. Showed him gently a few times, with my hands spread wide, placing my thumb at the back of his shoulder blades & little finger near the front of his pelvis. When rocking him, my palms would follow to give him some proprioceptive input.
- Chasing bikes, trikes: still loves to run after/beside them. If it's older kids going fast on their bikes, he'd give up quickly cos he cant run fast enough. With younger kids going slower, he'd run beside them.
Friday, June 26, 2009
2. Monkey Bar Slide
It's what I call a monkey bar slide. For the traditional monkey bar, you'd have to swing arm over arm to the next ring & onwards to the end. But for this one, you hang on to a triangle handle & propel yourself to the end. In the photo, you can 4 blue horizontal bars (but acutally there's 5) & you can just about make out several orange triangle shaped handles hanging from the blue bars.
3. Long Suspension Bridge
5. Rope BridgeYou'll need a good sense of balance, visual acuity, careful placement of feet for this obstacle - he's not ready for it yet. But glad that he's no longer afraid to try it. The past 2 times we were here, he readily wanted to go across it...to compare if the blue looking glass on the other side is the same as the one on this side! If I knew earlier that it'd be an incentive, I'd certainly try it from day one. LOL
He finds it funny how things look so bluish when viewed through this blue looking glass. Next time round, will introduce concept of colour combination. E.g. Something that's yellow viewed in natural light, but viewed through a blue filter = green.
He walked across all by himself. Doesn't seem that hard cos there are 2 beams. But he would not have been able to do it by himself, say, 8 months ago.
Now this is balance beam is more of a challenge - single beam, sways sideways and forwards/backwards! Definitely need to hold his hand for this!
It was only about 3-4 months ago that he could climb up a ladder by himself. He's not done it for several weeks, so was a bit tentative on it today. Also because the gaps between the rungs are quite large for him. There are many ladders in this playground but most have too many rungs (too high) & the rungs are set too wide, for me to safely support him.
This is short bridge is a lot more shaky (wooden planks are supported by rope beneath) than the long bridge (wooden planks are bolted to iron frame). He can do it by himself & didn't want my help from perhaps 2-3 months ago.
11. Inclined ramp
He's able to climb up & down these stairs, with both hands on both railings for support. The height of the gaps between the steps & the width of the steps & degree of inclination are more suitable for him. This isn't the case at some other playgrounds.
He didnt climb this today but he could in the past as it's not too high. There are several variations of this at the playground. One goes up to a height that higher than I am. Another is like a junior version rock climbing, with an anchored rope to help you get up & grooves to place your feet. He cant do these by himself yet.
Love the variety, the space & the equipment are relatively still new. You've got the usual swings (for older kids & babies), slides, twin slides, tunnel slides, steering wheels, tunnels, see saw etc. What he played with today was just a fraction of it. Love that it's very colourful too.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Felt pretty tired when woke up today, so didn’t go for our morning walk. The tiredness stayed with me throughout the day so didn’t accomplish as much as I wanted to do with him. I had to also attend to other matters that took more than an hour to sort out. I’m so blessed to have a good helper who’s been trained up to do some of the activities with him. Each day lost not doing activities with my son is another day added to the developmental gap between him & his peers.
Activities with my son: 24 June 2009
1. Magnetic Alphabets
I wanted to do some phonic work & reading with him but he wanted to play it differently. So I went with the flow & look for opportunities to teach him other things.
He decided to sort by colour, which is fine.
Then I directed the play to get him to put the capital letters & small letters side by side. This not only reinforces recognition of alphabets but it helps develop skills for reading. I guided him to search for the letter to be matched, by looking from left to right, line by line. This skill is needed for reading – you read left to right & line by line. I also mention the phonic sound of the alphabet.
I involve him in tidying up, which I see as teaching him to be independent. Other benefits gained while tidying up - a lot of squat to sit movement in picking up the pieces off the floor & also movements that cross the midline. I also did phonics again, but this time, giving him examples of words that begin with the letter he’s picking up.
2. Wooden Workbench
Mainly to get his wrist to move, by using the screwdriver to unscrew the screws. Very hard for him so had to hold his hand to get the movement. It got a bit easier for the last screw. Good that he can now at least place the tip of the screwdriver into the groove at the top of the screw. Shows better control of hand eye coordination.
He decided to use the hammer when placing back the screws. But had to show him he should use the end which is wider rather than the end used to yank out nails. Also had to guide him to holding the hammer towards the lower end of the handle instead of the end near the head.
Showed him that the ruler is used for measuring things & how to measure (i.e align object parallel to ruler & to the zero reading). Then he happily went around measuring things at random. He couldn’t do it properly but that’s ok as it’s the first time I’m showing it to him.
4. Cranial Sacral Therapy
5. Sand play (with the helper)
Scoop & pour motion for wrist movement; squatting & squat to stand
For snack, he used his own fingers to feed himself a piece of keropok. Didn’t have to help him estimate how far back to place the kerepok. Very happy!
7. Sucking with straw
8. Wooden train with stacking pieces of blocks
9. Three little men song
He “sang” most of the words of the song. It was out of tune & miss out some words, but I didn’t care. Previously he’d only fill in the last word of a line. So I’m very happy that he’s able to say more words in a single breath…and that he remembered the words.
Here’s the lyrics:
3 little men in a flying saucer,
flew round the earth one day.
They looked at the light
but they didn’t like the sight
so one man flew away….whooooshhh
(then you’d ask how many men left & you’d repeat the song with 2 men & then down to 1 & zero)
There are several kiddy songs/nursery rhymes that I like which introduce numbers & counting. For e.g. “two little ducks that I once knew” or “three little monkeys jumping on the bed”. I’m always looking for different ways to teach maths.
10. Scissors (with helper)
Thanks to my friend who bought the Crayola Beginnings scissors from UK (fully plastic, no metal cutting edge), it’s safe for him to play with it without fear of nicking or cutting himself. I cant find them here.
11. Sticker (with helper)
She added onto this activity by getting him to write “HEART” within the heart shape. She showed wrote stroke by stroke by the side of the paper & got him to follow. This is the 3rd time she got him to do it, so I’m no longer surprised. I’m still very happy though that he can do it.
12. Worksheet for preschoolers (with helper)
I get a lot of his preschool worksheets for free from this great website: http://www.learningpages.com/
15. Golf tees
16. Pushing fusili pasta
Sunday, June 21, 2009
1. Chase the birds
- He loves to chase birds (& cats), so used this interest of his to sneak in some of my objectives. Brought him along to the local mamak while hubby & I had roti telur for breakfast. Maid supervised him while we ate & vice versa.
- Why? to run/exercise & maintain his level of stamina; to increase his speech volume (we told him he has to shout out loud "Shooo birds!" or else the birds wont fly away)
- Noted: his running has gone a bit funny again. Left arm in a more pronounced "bat wing" position. Perhaps it's because I've not taken him to the playground for 2 weeks (car's in workshop) when it used to be twice a day, on an almost daily basis.
- To work on more: Must think of ways to use other muscles....playing in baby pool perhaps
2. Help with household chores
- How? Got him to say "push" a few times whenI was pushing the old mattresses away for storage.
- Why? to use oral muscles to pucker up in order to improve articulation of the "o" and "u" sound
- To work on more: puckering
- Noted: misses out the first phenome "p" in "push", which also happens with other words especially words beginning with "m"
3. Learn to shower (self care skills)
- How? Squeezed out some shower gel unto his palm. Placed my hands over his & helped him soap his legs by moving his arms up & down his legs.
- Why? To practise this movement to help not just in learning to shower himself, but also in learning to pull down his shorts when he needs to go to toilet
- Improvement noted: No longer afraid of standing under the large fixed shower head. Also slightly easier for him to bend down & move up.
4. Pre writing skills
- How? Draw a few capital letters on the back of sand paper, cut it out & paste it on cardboard. I chose a few of the easier alphabets used in his name to start off with. Easier in the sense of straight lines, like "A" and "N" & not curved lines, like "G". Wrote the alphabet by holding his pointer & middle finger together and moving it on the sandpaper.
- Why? That's the way it's being taught in his kindergarten & it was also suggested by one of his therapists. I had also read about this method somewhere in the internet. I think it's to do with engaging his tactile sense (apart from just visual). Experts say learning happens faster when more than one sense is involved (or something like that).
- Improvement noted: A little better in keeping his two fingers together when tracing. Remembers sequence of strokes in writing "A"
- To work on more: sequence of strokes for "H"
5. Reading his "Move It! Builders" Book
- What's this book? Bought this board book when he was 2 years old to get him to use his fine motor. He loves anything to do with cars, dump trucks, diggers etc. Each page of this book features a machine with one part that is moveable e.g. wheels of the dump truck can be spun around, steering wheel can be turned left or right. Very well illustrated & designed, which helps in maintaining his interest. Bought it from Border's but also available at http://www.mytoysandbooks.com/
- Purpose & method (i): fine motor exercise by making parts of the machines move in his book e.g. pushing the bulldozer's bucket up & down; swinging the demolition ball forward & backward; sliding the crane's heavy load left & right.
- Purpose & method (ii): Introduce simple "sight" words, specifically the word "it" because it appears on every page. There are only 2 words on each page.
- Purpose & method (iii): introduce maths concept of addition/doubling. E.g. 2 wheels on this side of the dumpster, so must be another 2 wheels on other side, so 2+2 = 4
- To work on more: to use left hand more instead of just right hand
- Noted: he could not turn the very thick board page by himself, which is a bit strange because he used to be able to do it. Perhaps it's because he hasn't read this book in a long time.
- How? We installed a "circular" swing in his room - able to spin, not just pendular movement. Swing bought from Ikea.
- Why? To improve his vestibular & proprioception sense, balance & coordination
- Improvement noted: in the last few weeks, he's been more confident & able to climb up on the swing & played on it in different ways
7. Little Yoga book
– what is it? A book illustrating simple yoga postures (imitating animals) which toddlers can follow (on loan from Fe, thanks)
i) Getting into those physical postures helps him to be more aware of his body; stretches muscles
ii) reinforce alphabet recognition- he likes to count the number of times certain alphabets appear on a page e.g. 3 letter "o" here
iii) reinforce simple sight words like “book”
iv) introducing simple maths concept & vocab - on one of the pages, there's a series of letter "z" which starts of small in size but gradually gets bigger. So he learns sequencing, & the words bigger & biggest
- To work on more: he cant do the cat posture
- a storm was approaching, so took it as a teaching opportunity to introduce the following:
i) the concept that when noise is far away, it's soft & gets louder as it gets nearer
ii) introduce vocab: wind starts off gentle, gets stronger, and is strongest
- Noted: He hasn't picked up the new vocab as he's using small, bigger, bigger, biggest to describe the wind speed. But was pleasantly surprised that he did the action to go along with small wind, medium wind & big wind (I had shown it to him many months ago)
9. Sticker activity
– apart from what's already mentioned in earlier post about this activity, today I also introduced maths concept of subtraction. For e.g. "ok, there were 8 more stickers to stick & you’ve just stuck another sticker, so how many more to go?" "7 more. Right!"
10. Mega Bloks & Pop Upz
i) use both hands to work together (e.g. when dismantling a structure)
ii) to get him to open up his palm more (e.g. when pushing down a piece of brick instead of just using pointer)
iii) to use left hand more e.g. to put a piece into place (instead of always using just right hand)
iv) to develop creativity (e.g. building a house for the kangaroo)
– done through out the day. Still misses out first syllable or first phenome. Certain words better like yellow. Communicates with you, e.g. kangaroo sleeping... dark outside (ie. night time)
12. Wearing shirt (self care skill)
– just started to teach this self care skill. One small step at a time...Just at the stage of using both hands to hold a shirt at the collar & pulling over the head. Can achieve it sometimes. Then shown how to put arms through sleeve & to pull down shirt
13. Toilet training
– still cant get him to sit on WC to poo poo. Too afraid? Fear of falling off WC? Painful stools?
14. Gastroc muscle/achilles
– He seems to be doing a bit more tip toe walking which is not good. Will need to get splint on more often & also passively stretch it for him...& weather permitting, climb steep hills again
15. Butterflies on a paper stand
– there's slight progress cos I could increase the distance a bit more, maybe 3 inches now
Saturday, June 20, 2009
I do not know where this project will take me. I mostly just want to document the activities I do with my son & hopefully, give ideas to other parents on things they can do to develop their child's oral motor, gross motor, fine motor, social skills, creativity & self care. In the process, it'll also document my son's progress over time & perhaps give hope to other parents of kids who have special needs.
That friend said, the first step is always the hardest. So Pearly, here's my first step!
What did I do with my son today?
Not much today (that's bcos I went for my high school reunion, which by the way, was unpretentious, comfortable & I went away feeling energised).
1. Water play
1a) Scooping & pouring water from beakers of various sizes
- Purpose: for wrist movement; for getting both left & right hands to work together when pouring from one beaker to another; for squat to stand movement; for stretching his arms to reach toys on the other side; to understand that water gets emptied out when there are holes at the bottom & the larger the hole, the faster it empties
- To work on more: using both hands to work together
- Improvement noted: using wrist movement to scoop up water
1b) Painting with water on the side walk- How? Those concrete slabs double up as his "canvas" for his painting with water activity. You then just need paint brushes, a container of water & creativity! Cheap & fun. Absolutely mess free!
- Purpose: for hand eye coordination; to practice the matured pencil grasp
- To work on more: the tripod grasp
- Improvement noted: painted a rectangle for the first time (circles/ovals previously)
2a) Freestyle drawing
- Purpose: for hand eye coordination; to practice the matured pencil grasp; to work on his grip by uncapping the marker pen
- To work on more: the tripod grasp
- Improvement noted: he erased all the scribbles but it didn't trigger the gag reflex this time round; erasing was done using the left hand instead of right; better control of left hand
- Unusual: noticed that he uses his right hand to tap at the targetted spot before erasing that area with his left hand, as though pointing the area out to his left hand.
2b) Maze/Road map
- How to play? Draw a simple maze/road map on the whiteboard, with landmarks familiar to him e.g. Tesco, Jusco, Twin Towers, home, Shell. Then showed him how play it by pretending to go by car from home, following the road to Tesco then stopping by Shell to pump petrol etc.
- Purpose: for hand eye coordination (he has to try to stay within the path/road even when the road turns left or right etc); to practice the matured pencil grasp; problem solving (to find the path to his chosen destination)
- To work on more: staying within the path
- Improvement noted: getting better with pretend play - his pretend car clocked in a lot of mileage!
3. "Reading" the newspaper (Weekender section of Star)
- introduced him to different hobbies highlighted in the write ups e.g. fishing, travelling, watching movies, reading comics
- reinforced pre-maths skills of size e.g. small, medium, big using photos of pet dogs & fish caught
- improve his general knowledge by talking about the photos shown (e.g. what's found in a swamp)
4. Gross motor
4a) Walking up & down the stairs
- Purpose: to work on bilateral movement, balance, strength
- Target: to walk up one foot on one step rather than needing both feet on a step before moving up to next step, while holding on to wall or banister for support
4b) Pushing his "Little Tikes" car- To my son, it's his Toyota Vios!! Btw, would you believe someone would throw this away? It was discarded at the local playground & I picked it up... Old, tatty & dirty but still useable & was given a good scrub down. He has so much fun with it.
- Purpose: coordination of arms & leg muscles in turning corners & manouvering a large object through tight spaces
- To work on more: he hasn't learnt to lift up the car, when the car tyre gets stuck in a gap
- Improvement noted: good control in turning corners; good control in trying to avoid knocking into dad's car when zooming around it (still need to follow closely & save him from scratching dad's car)
4c) Balance beam
- Photo above is the little obstacle course I created for him. The balance beam is the dark brown structure at the top far left. It's on loan from his therapist, as are a few other items...many thanks to his CST therapist!
- Purpose: balance, coordination, to reduce the broadness of his stride
- To work on more: still unable to walk on the beam unaided
5. Sticker fun- How to play? Create own activity page by downloading suitable photos from internet which has circles/spots/polka dots (e.g. ladybird, cheetah), into a powerpoint document then drawing dotted line circles on those spots for him to paste circle shaped stickers. Plain neon coloured circle shaped stickers are easily & cheaply bought. I got mine in a pack of 10 sheets from Tesco.
- Purpose: hand eye coordination in pasting it within the desired circle; using both hands in peeling off the sticker; pincer grip
- To work on more: peeling off the sticker - hard for him to bend the backing paper in a manner to expose an edge of the cut out sticker
- Improvement noted: a bit better in placing the sticker within the desired spot
- How to play? You'll need a different type of bubble solution. It's the type that doesn't burst when it touches a surface. Available at Toys R Us. Best played outdoors as it's very sticky. Not a good idea to play on a windy day. It's the little pink tube in the top middle of the photo above. (Will have a separate post on the other bubble wands/bubble play objects)
- Purpose: to exercise his oral motor by blowing bubbles; for hand eye coordination by using his finger to pop the bubble; to develop his catching skills by using both hands to pop the bubble in a clapping action.
- To work on more: using both hands to pop
- Improvement noted: able to catch a bubble on the tip of his pointer finger without bursting it
7. Butterflies on a paper stand
- How to play? Download suitable photos or illustrations of butterflies/insects (or whatever object that interests him). Cut them out & paste on a cardboard/empty cereal box. Make a tiny stand out of cardboard & stick it on the back of butterfly. Place several of it on floor. Get child to lie on tummy & see if he blow the butterfly down. As he progresses, you can increase the distance between child & butterfly and/or challenge him to blow as many as he can within a time limit.
- Purpose: to strengthen his oral motor; to increase the strength & length of his breath stream
- To work on more: increase the distance (it was about 2 inches distance today)
- Improvement noted: - (first time doing this activity)
- Vomitted when fed bimbim bab, perhaps veg was a bit too long/stringy
- Loved nasi lemak rice with fried chicken. Wanted to try sambal despite warning it's hot.