Monday, October 22, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I've been working various RCR activities with Henry all weekend and this week. We averaged about 10 a day over the weekend, but probably just two or three per day during the week. they ranged from anything from throwing acorns together to putting the dog treats in the container together. I tried to do the non-verbal inviting thing with many of them to get started, but that didn't really work - henry mostly ignored me until i asked him to come participate.
he would try to participate and he especially likes it when i add in funny sound effects, like a big karate chop "high-ya" and then we throw something somewhere together. however, we're not really getting a rhythm with this at all. he doesn't seem to be able to self regulate so we throw at the same time, and i can't do all the repair work for him. oftentimes i have to revert back to a 1-2-3-throw a few times before he starts to get it, or i do hand over hand a few times. but most of our activities do not last longer than 3-5 minutes, so it seems like he's never really "getting" it. i will keep on plugging away though. any advice?
also, attended the parent webinar last night and Gutstein, as always, had some good advice and stuff to work on. Basically the majority of the hour talked about transfer of responsibility - one of the things i found interesting was Gutstein telling parents to be sure not to allow the kid to take a passive role in the activity (a good example he gave was carrying a bag together, where when the kid lets go, you pick up the slack instead of letting if fall. i do that for sure!) so i'm trying to be mindful of when i might be "scaffolding" too much and allowing henry to take a passive role in our interactions, whatever they may be.
Gutstein also talked about having a short, 1-3 word thought to describe the objective that you are working on and carrying it with you throughout the day, being mindful of incorporating it if you can into every interaction with your kid til it becomes second-nature. My thought for now is "don't talk-use non-verbal"
also, another little anecdote and then i'll wrap up here. henry has discovered where the books are locked up in the "activity room". yesterday he indicated that he wanted to "jump on the bed", which i was psyched about b/c that was an activity that we had done together the previous day with Rosie and had a really good time playing and laughing together. of course, i said, lets go upstairs and jump and he said "no, here"...he wanted to enter the activity room. so i suspected something was up, when i let him in he went straight for the books. then he says "i love books". i said "henry, you told mommy you wanted to jump on the bed" and he attempted one pathetic jump to try to please me and then stared over at the books. i went ahead and let him have his fix, the poor kid. Never let them tell you that an autistic kid can't manipulate or won't lie - he played that one just right!
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Since we have millions of acorns on our property at the moment, I'm going to try to incorporate them in an RCR activity tomorrow. I'll probably just hand him acorns and have him throw them somewhere... we'll see.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Mom and Henry continue to target Objective 5 use of non-verbals in a few different activities.
Mom - Give/Put
Various RCR activities with Mom and Henry in giver-puter roles.
Dad - Non-Verbal
Like I mentioned in the video, I'm not sure this was a good activity to target objective 5 after all because he's done this so many times and he knows his role pretty well. I just gotta get him to stop tasting the batter!
Dad - Give/Put
In these videos, I'm thought I was doing RCR until I started editing the video and remembered that I'm not supposed to talk for that - but still think this was a productive activity regardless. Another thing I observed was that even though I did all these videos last night in a span of about an hour and a half, I don't think it seemed forced to him. To me, it was a little rushed but the point I'm trying to make is that he seemed to go along with everything without a fight so I guess he was enjoying himself somewhat.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
We also went to the store after the class and he picked out a b-day cake for Poppy (his great grandpa). we went back to my mom's and had an early dinner and the cake for Pop - Hen helped put in the candles and then blow them out - he was a role-player in the whole process, which was great and really made him feel good about himself - he was just extra smiley today and in tune. I think he liked having that alone time with mom - i need to try to schedule that in on a weekly basis if i can - aaron has mentioned he could come home early one night a week - that might work well.
Proximity, patience, and limiting words was my mantra for this weekend and i think it worked well - hen seemed on a much more even keel. i watched the video you sent - actually i had already seen it from the site, but i think it was a great example of setting a welcoming environment - i'm going to have aaron watch it tomorrow.
Oh, so my three activities that i think Henry would enjoy are playing on the musical instruments, anything to do with the swingset and yard (maybe even a Dora the Explorer type scavenger hunt, we were having fun with things like that this weekend.) and building with this magnetic ball erector set. i think as time goes on i'll have more - eliminating the books (or at least limiting the time with them to about 15 min a day, as well as 15 min of computer) has opened up a lot of new options.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
tonight, i scored bigtime by starting up a quick game of hide and seek (really i was trying to get hank and rosie to hold off on wanting dinner til 5, so i had 1/2 hr to kill). The game was basic in that i would go hide while they counted to ten, then i would periodically say "where's mommy?" until they started to determine which room i was in and where i was. I really couldn't believe that henry played along like he did - i think i hid like 6-7 different times and there was a lot of great "anticipation" and emotion-sharing in the game - and of course big tickles when they found me. hen was even able to wait and count to ten to give me a chance to hide - i hate to say but i think he and rosie are about on the same level with this game. interestingly enough, the game ended when rosie found me before he did....he didn't like that one bit!
as i mentioned, i did a bit of taping this weekend working on objectives 5 and 6. tonight, after rosie went to bed (and b/c my throat is sore) i decided to do the mommy's lost her voice game. we didn't have a lot of activities that we HAD to do - just to brush teeth, put on pjs, click off the light, etc...but i was able to get a lot of non-verbal back and forth with henry to do them. he also read ME a story before bed...and would check in with me as the story progressed to occasionally see my response to something or an indication that he was on the right track....it's amazing when you shut up what happens! one interesting note on that though is how henry would be able to say some of the story verbatim and then other parts he would just fill in with blahblahblah...i wonder if that's what he's unable to process when i read the story to him??? weird.
we got the RCR stuff and i'll probably read through it tonight. yesterday i finally applied for that scholarship you gave us the info on, so we'll see where that goes. i'll let you know.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Saturday, we I don't recall doing any formal activities with Henry. We did throw the football a little which he usually hates doing, actually any back and forth, so that was pretty cool.
Today (sunday) we did a couple formal activities and some ran around town a bit. The first activity we did which was kinda cool was ripping off he wall paper in the hall bathroom. I was asking T if she could think of any activities I could do with Henry and she suggested that since it was something I wanted to get done today. Anyway, the wallpaper was really old and coming off the wall on the edges. I showed Henry that he could rip it off the wall and he continued to do so. Then we stuffed it in a trash bag. We would trade off holding the bag while the other would stuff the paper in. We followed this pattern until most of the paper was off the well. Later, we emptied the dishwasher. While he was looking at books throughout the day, I tried to spend some time by his side, not disrupting him but just showing him that I was there. I guess I did poke and tickle him here and there - can't help it. Later in the day, we went to the pet store and home depot. Even though he said he didn't want to go (but I drug him out anyway) he enjoyed the pet store and had no qualms running to home depot. I guess he's used to it by now.
The thing I'm taking from activity 4 is that in whatever we do, I make sure to keep things positive and make it known to Henry that he's doing a good job whether it's by complimenting him, smiling, or focusing on what he's doing right as opposed to what he's doing wrong.
in terms of activities, this weekend wasn't so bad. Sat. morning i took Henry to get some paint for the bathroom renovation. i thought he would like to see how they blend the colors and mix the can...unfortunately it wasn't as visible as i'd hoped it'd be. however, we did use the outing for a lot of RDI-like activities - experience sharing, he helped me carry the paint can (we did it together) etc. And I involved him in all the regular weekend activities like laundry and dishes etc. We even played in the pool a bit outside in the front yard and did a game with pouring.
however, i just get so frustrated sometimes. it seems like we're working so hard with him and just making these baby steps. at times, aaron and i just want to box up all his books and unplug the computer and eliminate all his ability to stim and avoid us. but i know that's not only cruel b/c he needs these things to feel ok (for now) but also, he would probably just find some other more inappropriate thing to get lost in. every time i go down this track i feel bad, b/c as hard as it is for us, it's probably about 10x harder for Henry. i mean, it took the poor kid about 15 minutes to try to tell me he wanted to go to the library on friday...and he was so happy when i finally understood him - it literally made his day.
so, sunday i spent most of the day painting, which i couldn't really involve Henry in, so Aaron took the lead for most of the day. we did a few small things together, like walk down to grandmas and drive to aunt shanons together - but not much for formal activities, i was just not into it. anyway, i'm sure tomorrow will bring a new day and a better attitude....and i hope that soon we will see those changes in Henry that will help us (and him) stay motivated to work hard and know that we are doing the right thing here.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
In other news, had a nice evening with Henry tonight. For our lab time, we did an activity around the laundry...something really simple and short.....where he helps me put the wash in the washing machine, and we pour the detergent together - he holds the cup, i pour in the cup, and then he pours in the machine...and then he helps me put the clothes in - i hand him the clothes and he dumps em in. he seems to really like this, but i'm going to have to get creative with inserting productive uncertainty.
also, we all had a dance 1/2 hour before bed tonight, where we play music and jump and dance on the bed together...me, hank and rose. it's really fun and henry even made a request for a song he likes. i haven't really incorporated any RDI into that activity yet, but i bet i could - maybe Obj 3...i didn't even think of it! ok, signing off for now.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
Friday, August 17, 2007
Henry likes to look at books and usually bounces or rolls around on the couch or bed, visually stemming, turning the took to the side, upside down. So the question is, am I supposed to take the book away and try to get him to calm down, like, physically restrain him, or do I just sit by him and watch him tweak out? He rarely just sits down and chills out unless he's watching tv or doing a puzzle or something... so do I just try to sit with him when he's calm?
This objective is proving to be more difficult that I thought.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
yesterday, we had dinner at my mom's, so that was something a little off schedule. Henry adapted to the change very well, and we did a bit of "walking activity" as we walked to her house. One thing i've been trying to do a lot lately is give indirect prompts. he probably gets them about 20% of the time, which is frustrating, probably for both of us. i try to scaffold them by long pauses and then giving him the direct prompt after a few tries. i really don't think he is "thinking" about what i'm saying most of the time. maybe that's my fault for using too much talking a lot of the time. but i try to incorporate them into for instance the walking activity...when i say "boy, you're walking too fast for me."...Henry, we can't walk that quick...finally, Henry, wait for us.
tonight, our planned activity was making brownies again...this time for his last day of school to give to the teachers. i taped it, and he did pretty well. we had a lot of emotion-sharing and he seemed really into it - knew just what to do - and even stayed with me all the way through his role in part of the "clean-up". he even grabbed the spoon to stir without my prompt! we stirred together for a bit too. we had a few unexpected challenges, like when he accidentally dropped the small bowl into the big one on one of the dumps. I tried very hard to make sure he didn't feel like this was a "mistake" and then want to withdraw from the activity, so i just laughed and said "boy, that was sure heavy." he picked it up and out and we continued on - i felt like it was a good example of some serious "productive uncertainty" that he was able to weather. we'll see how it looks on video, but i was impressed and i think it helped his confidence.
After unloading the dishwasher, we went upstairs to get him ready for bed. He was really tweaking out once he got to his bedroom. Really stemming hard, bouncing, flapping, squealing. I tried to use objective 4 in this situation but now after I read the objective again, maybe not. He undressed and put his PJs on and I tried to read him a book but he wasn't really into it. When he was really stemming hard I would grab him and have him sit beside me. He tried his best to get away, and he did but I would grab him again. We went back and forth on this for about 5 minutes before lights-out.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
This evening Henry was spazzing a bit, I tried objective 4 for the first time after our home visit. I've done this type of thing many times before but not usually for more than a minute or so. It wasn't much of a challenge but I have some questions...
- am I supposed to grab him to come back to the couch (or wherever we are) or am I supposed to follow him around but never leave his side? I noticed myself trying to show him that I was happy when I grabbed him to come back. I ask because I was taping a bit and I wasn't able to set up the camera and follow him around because I'd be out of the camera's angle.
- Also, when I taped, he was reading a book and I was reading it with him or more like reading it to him... at times we were reading it together. We read together all the time so I was wondering if that counts as part of the objective or am I supposed to just be with him when he's doing whatever he does?
- I also tried to be observant as to make sure he wasn't using me as a tool so when he was leaning against me which could be a minor stem for Henry, I would sit up and make sure were were sitting next each other instead of him in front or to the side leaning. Should I be worrying about minor things like that for this objective?
Monday, August 13, 2007
For objective one, i've been trying to be sure we have at least 1 "lab activity" a day. yesterday, we baked brownies, so similar to the activity we did during the home visit, we used a little red bowl and henry knew his role right away. however, the challenge did come in keeping his interest. actually, i think i presented a challenge that was too great - i had us stirring with the spoon with our hands together and i was going to change up speeds, etc. but henry wanted no part of it, so i just let him leave and thanked him for helping me...basically b/c i really needed to get the brownies cooked before we went to a bbq. i know, i know....rushing is the worst thing for rdi, but that's life sometimes. so much for objective 2 this time.
today's lab exercise was to water the flowers (heck we could do it everyday, given how hot it's been) . henry did ok, but was really just going through the motions, so it was hard for me to add a lot of variation. i think we should probably let this activity rest for awhile and maybe do it just once a week or so. anyway, one challenge was that mid-activity, rosie had stepped in mud and i asked him to spray her feet off. well, let's just say she got doused and was not in the mood! so crying ensued, and the activity ended pretty soon after that - though we did get through all the plants, the mood was definitely dampened (no pun intended ;)
objective four has been the easiest for me so far. spending time with Hank just hangin is not hard at all....though what happens is that he inevitably attempts to get me to do something...like read him a book. am i just being a tool for his wants? i don't know if that is really making a "connection" or even if i should be responding to him, though my gut says yes. so we ended up reading a book one time. another time he just ignored me the whole time and then left. but sitting around in his room doing and saying nothing has been fine. i will wait for a moment of "henry freak-out" and see if i can video the outcome on that.
one activity that i am going to add to the repertoire is henry helping me carry the laundry basket - upstairs, downstairs, whatever...i could use the help and i think it helps us with coordination. i'm also trying to get something framed related to putting his clothes away...like i put piles on his bed and then eye reference him for the one to pick up...then i open the drawer...then he drops the clothes in...then i close the drawer...then back to the next pile. hey - i hate to do all the "chore" things, but they've got to get done and that's the type of stuff that takes me away from spending time with Henry, especially in the evenings after work. i'm just trying to get a whole lot more patient and deliberate about all the things i do and including him in them.
ok, that's it for today...that was probably a little more than 5 min, no?
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Unloading laundry from the washer to the dryer - he has done this many time and it's apparent that he's quite confident in his role. I tried just about everything I could think of to create productive uncertainty... I dropped the item in front of him, I put it on his head, I wouldn't let go. He really seemed to go with the flow.
8-7-07 - We unloaded laundry again but this time Henry got the laundry out of the washer and handed it to me to put in the dryer. I threw kinks by not putting the item in the dryer, he would just wait or look at me but he never got upset or appeared uneasy.
Watering the flowers - we typically start from the back, but this time, we started in the front and it didn't phase him. Also, I wanted to see how he would react when I didn't hang the previous basket and he was fine with it. The last time we did the exercise, he wouldn't start watering the next basket until the previous basket was hung.
Unloading the dishwasher - here he handed me dishes and I would put them away. He would space out here and there but when he did, I would clear my throat and if that didn't do it, I'd say "I need a plate" or something to that affect. When we got to the silverware, he didn't want to do it anymore. Not sure if it was because he was bored of the activity or that he didn't feel comfortable doing the silverware after the dishes because he always does the silverware exclusively (OCD issue).
Our morning routing - it's changed up a little since he has been in summer school. We really don't have time to do a whole lot but I do usually pick out his clothes and make sure he gets dressed. He seems to be understanding when he needs to take off his bed clothes when I say "it's time to get dressed" but with the putting on clothes part, he gets very distracted. I guess it's because he likes being naked but unfortunately, they won't let him into school that way. I try not to use too much speech when directing him to put on his clothes and now that I think about it, lately, have been using almost none. I'll hand him his underwear and if he's spacing out and twirling them around like he does, I'll take them from him and lay them out again. Sometimes I'll have to grab his arm and lead him to the floor where the clothes are laid out. If I don't lay out the clothes all at once, at times I'll hand him his shirt before his underwear (which he usually puts on first, who doesn't?) and see how he reacts. He used to always try to put the shirt on his feet but lately, I've noticed that he's putting it over his head so it seems like he's paying better attention as far as that goes. That's progress, right?
8-8-07 - Well... I gave him is shirt first today and he tried put it on his legs. I said 'this is a shirt' and that still didn't register. I guess I should have given him some non-verbal prompts or a more straight-forward verbal prompt because I eventually had to put it over his head.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Once we got into it, everything went smooth. He knows the drill at this point. For a kink, after the 3rd or 4th basket, I did the same thing T tried in the video. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 5, 5, 5... It didn't bother him too bad but he definitely didn't think it was funny. The next thing I did was try to go the next basket without putting the previous basket back up on the hook. He took my hand and guided me back to the other basket. I put it up (maybe I shouldn't have???).
There's a pot on a stand that we did at the end. Henry wanted it down on the ground like the baskets so I put it down on the ground (maybe I shouldn't have???). After he watered it, I asked him to put it back up on the stand. He thought it was too heavy so I asked him to help me and he did, then he let go toward the end, then I acted like it was too heavy and asked for his help to get it the rest of the way. It was a nice way to end the activity.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Thursday, June 07, 2007
While waiting for the bus we sat on the tailgate of my truck like we do every morning but this morning we practiced "coordination" by swinging our legs and then keeping our legs outstreatched for a second or two, then back to swinging. He did pretty well and seemed to enjoy it.
I also want to note that a lot of people who are around Henry regularly have been noticing big changes. It's nice to hear.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Henry's referencing during our planned "activities" has been great - as you saw in the video. However, I've been trying to incorporate referencing into more of our day-to-day - like, instead of asking him to pick up his clothes or turn the light off, I will simply say his name to get his attention and then glance at the item he needs to act on. He is doing this pretty well too. The one thing we are not seeing though is "general referencing" us for information when we do not initiate, e.g. when he is doing something on his own and gets perplexed about something, he will either lose interest in the item or maybe present it to us, but he is not referencing with eye contact for information until we say his name. (i hope you're able to understand what i mean) Is this something that we will see develop over time?
Henry's spontaneous commentary is increasing little by little. I'm going to try to write down everything spontaneous he says this week just for my own little "happy" list - and so i know i'm not crazy because when i try to remember specific instances i always seem to forget (must be pregnancy brain!) Tonight, Henry came over to me after dinner and looked at me and said questioningly "build a mountain?" so we went in and all built a mountain together, Henry, Rosie, and me. Rosie loved it because we threw the bean bags on her and it was kinda cool making it a group activity, even if it was just for fun and games. I really hope to see their relationship grow over time and as we make strides with RDI.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
meaningful this weekend. In the activity of putting away the dishes,
when I showed Henry that a big spoon went in a different place, the
second time I handed him a big spoon, he put it in the right place and
looked right up at me to make sure it was right and when I said "yes,
great"...he gave me the biggest smile. That sort of interaction is a
huge change. It's so wonderful to see his beautiful smile showing he
was pleased with what he did!!! I could see how happy he was.
Monday, May 14, 2007
One of the things that stood out was that when my mother started emptying the dishwasher, Henry walked over and started helping her (!!!) this is amazing, since the kid usually just hides out in his toy room until there is some meal to be eaten and then he makes haste back to his hermit existence. Mom said that she would hand him a utensil and he would put it away in the right spot and then return to her. This was great in so many ways because 1. this was an activity that Henry has done in the past with Aaron and so he felt confident in his abilities 2. he actually approached my mom to do this. when we started doing this activity at home, it was more like a "task" and something that daddy was making him do. I really believe that because this was something that he knew he could do, he felt confident in making the approach to my mom. 3. he knew his role right away 4. he impressed my mom :)
We've also been getting a lot of great feedback from Henry's teacher, Megan, who has been wonderful about incorporating RDI into Henry's daily activities at school. I'll send you her email, but he's been making some spontaneous comments and referencing her a whole lot more than he ever used to.
Today was my first try at the video taping. I set the video up to tape us during dinner and i tried to implement a few of the suggestions and activities you suggested. I think our first "video review" will probably contain both lifestyle activities and some specific things in the "activity room." More on the video later when i post it up.
Friday, May 11, 2007
He was already about half done when I decided to give it a shot. We didn’t have much time, or cereal left in the box so I had maybe 4 or 5 spoons full in my bowl. First I tried to get his attention just through some eye contact but that didn’t work. At one point, he went to take a bite and I make a noise, something like “ah, ah, ahhh” and he paused just as the spoon was entering his mouth. I put the spoon to my mouth and when I closed my mouth, he closed his… first try! We continued, 4 or 5 bits until my bowl was about empty. Each time I had to do the “ah, ah, ahhh” to prevent him from taking the bit but we’ll work on it. I also really tried to ham it up with the “yummy” and “wow, I love raisin bran!”. Not sure if he was really paying attention to that but who knows.
I feel like this was a fairly significant moment. You gotta understand, when we’re at home or our at a fast food joint, the kid does does everything he can to avoid others at the table when he is eating. He will literally turn it body completely around to the opposite side of the person next to him. The maybe one time a week we all have dinner as a family, it’s like pulling teeth to get him to sit at the dinner table with us for more than a couple of minutes so I was really surprised that he was willing to participate in the activity, even if it was only a couple of minutes.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
- Q: Can I get some suggestions on how to mix up our breakfast routine? Like I said in the previous post, I'll not give him what he asks for all the time and watch how he reacts... that's working but his responses seem like they're becoming rote. A: Switch around tasks (breakfast w/ getting dressed) and throw in surprises along the way.
- Q: I'd also like to get some suggestions on small activities to do with him while he's eating breakfast or if there are a few minutes between the time he finishes breakfast and when he starts getting dressed... something very quick that might be he may find hard to recognize as a formal activity. I get such little time that I want to make the most of it. A: eat cereal with him and try to scoop together, say "yummm".
- Q: Is it okay to ask one-word questions or should I try to avoid them all-together? A: Yes, it's fine but also ask him something that he won't like... to get his reaction.
- Q: He seems to be doing okay getting dressed in his room but do you think the time would be better spent if we did it in the activity room? A: As long as he's not too distracted, it's okay.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
The getting dressed part of the morning is always rushed so there hasn't been time for "I'll wait". I think he'd be fine with walking around naked all day so there's absolutely no motivation for him to put on his clothes. If it were freezing, he'd rather find a blanket than put on clothes. He has no concept of embarassment, especially when it comes to being naked. I guess we need to work with him on that. He likes in the "No David!" book where David is walking down the street without his pants but I don't think that translates. He does sometimes want privacy when he's using the bathroom, so I guess that's a good sign, but then again, he's almost always wants privacy.
Monday, May 07, 2007
Theresa suggested that I implement the walking activity into the activities in his gymnastics class so I did that that went really well. There's one thing they do where they have a multi-colored mat and they're supposed to hop onto each color. We did this together, holding hands, like the walking activity and he totally looked at me for guidance... it was like a video right off the RDI website. He would look, I would nod, we would jump... it was VERY cool. The same thing happened when we emptied the dishwasher later that day. He was a little unsure whether what I handed him to put away was a big fork or small fork and he would look to me to make sure he was putting it in the right place, I would nod or shake my head no. He may have been doing this with his mother so he might have had some practice, but whether he had practice or not, it was still great watching him look to me for guidance.
We also built a mountain with bean bags, I think that was on Saturday. He was actually very excited about doing it this time. I didn't want to push my luck so we did it twice and moved on. I've been doing that activity pretty much the same each time, slowing down the swinging of the bean bag, pausing after the "here we....". I need to think of some ways to change it up.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
I've tried a few variations on the mountain-building game too. When we run and jump in the mountain together (henry's favorite part of course) i vary it using different speeds - sometimes we run fast and sometimes in slow-mo. When moving slowly, he has to keep pace with me so we can jump in the pile together. I tried this again tonight (Wed) but had a hard time getting him to regulate with me...he was just too excited to jump in that pile.
I also tried to make a game with emptying the dishwasher, though since most stuff is breakable i had his role be handing me the item, and i would put it away. I don't know if it was too late in the evening, maybe i didn't structure it well, or maybe he just didn't like it, but after we finished the top rack he was like, "all done, no more!" yeah kid, i feel the same way sometimes.
anyhow, i keep trying to vary up the activities and thinking of new ones b/c we both get bored pretty quick. I echo Aaron's sentiments about the activity room starting to be associated with "work" for Henry. Henry begrudgingly follows me in there, but i wish there was some way to make it more inviting. I guess once he gets better at dealing with distractions, we won't have to use that room as much anymore.
Otherwise, I've also been trying to incorporate some of the RDI basics into our routine, like slowing down speech, indirect prompts, and declarative statements. I think the statements are really paying off b/c Henry has had quite a bit more spontaneous speech than before (caveat that with before there was none!) So he will occasionally make a very short comment on something, though often this might be a spin-off of a comment i've made (hmm...does this count for spontaneous??) for example, he got a toy elephant from his Nana in the mail today and I made a few comments about its features. A few minutes later i hear him say "elephant has big tusks" hey, it wasn't exactly what i said and at least it didn't come from "Dora the Explorer", I'm taking it as a positive sign. Good to know he's actually listening to me. I'll try to write more later...unfortunately Rose and I will be out of town this weekend for a funeral, so looks like Daddy will be doing most of the activities for the next few days.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Now, I know that I'm supposed to get him to participate, even if he doesn't necessarily want to - but that's easier said than done when it comes to the noodle boy. Even if he's not wanting to do something, I've been working on grabbing his hand or wrist, not taking "no" for an answer. I'm really working hard to take his hand in a nice way... and not being too forceful. I think it's working. So... I have a question - I realize that he will eventually become more and more confident in performing these activities with us and because of that, he will be more motivated to participate -- but what if he is confident performing a particular activity but that activity is just not that interesting to him and that's the reason he's not participating? I guess what I'm trying to get at is, how do we tell the difference? Sometimes that's what I feel is happening though maybe I'm just being impatient.
We did a pretty cool activity outside on Sunday. He helped me pick up the sticks that had fallen off the trees over the winter. We would hold hands, I would motion to a stick on the ground, he would pick up a few sticks, I would pick up a few sticks, then we would walk over to the wheelbarrow, I would say 1, 2, 3, throw and we would throw the sticks in. I would make irregular pauses before the "throw", he would look up at me... it was great. There were a few large branches that we picked up together, walked it over to the wheelbarrow, etc. In between throws, he kept wanting to push the wheelbarrow and I let him... his little reward for participating... hmmm, is that too "ABA"? After 8 or 10 minutes, he was over it, but that was fine... I think it went pretty well.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Thursday, April 26, 2007
He's seemed to be reacting positively to our interactions. There are a few times where I get stumped on how to phrase something without making it into a question but I'm getting better as the week progresses. I'm not trying to jump the gun here but he has said a few pretty cool appropriate words/phrases this week... asking is grandma for "chicken" while being driven home from the sitters yesterday afternoon (referring to Popeyes) and this evening, being especially OCD, wanting all the lights in the house off, he said "just turn the lights off". Now I know that there's more to communication that just speech, especially when it's to get ones way but still... pretty cool, I must say. Not sure where this lights off thing is coming from. Maybe Theresa has the kids eat in the dark... I'm not sure. Anyway, like I said... don't want to declare an "RDI miracle" but it's been a while since I've been witness to any even moderately significant language from the kid so I thought I'd make note.
Here are some examples of some RDI-ish things that we're doing in our morning routine:
- instead of "what do you want for breakfast?" it's "I bet you're hungry"... then grabbing the box of raisin bran, getting his attention, and giving him the "how-bout-it eye".
- variations of... pouring the cereal in a bowl and waiting until he catches my eye and says "milk" and "spoon" or just setting the cereal box on the table and I say "we're missing something" and wait until he says "bowl". Sometimes he just gets the bowl or spoon himself without saying anything.
- most of the time I'll do a hand-over-hand when pouring the cereal and milk.
- instead of "take your pants off, take your shirt off" I'm making a motion like I'm pulling down my pants, etc.
- instead of laying out his clothes, I'm throwing each item at him one at a time.
- to get him to brush his teeth, instead of saying "brush teeth" I say, "your teeth are dirty". He hasn't really caught on to that one yet, perhaps this is because he doesn't literally have any dirt in his teeth (as far as I know).
In other news, I took Henry to a stock car race on Saturday night at the local track. He LOVED it but was stemming his brains out the whole time and I can see why, because it was very cool. But a this point in the process, I wonder if it's advised to expose him to that much stimulation. Just wondering...
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Cutting strawberries - we did this in the activity room (i guess that's the name i'll use for the room we cleared out and made distraction-less.) This was cool, b/c it was a revision on the carrot-peeling activity...this time i brought in two bowls - one for the tops and one for the rest of the berries. Henry was great with this, understood his role right away, did a lot of referencing and wasn't thrown off at all when i did something weird, like hand him the strawberry and top in a different order, or hand them to him both at the same time. Once in awhile he threw it in the wrong dish, and i would make a surprised sound and he would immediately know that something was amiss, and he would fix it. This game went well.
Building a mountain - He was really into this game tonight. After we had built the mountain, i did the "jumping on the mountain" part. This became a critical part of the game, because i used this to see how "in sync" we were. After we had jumped once and high-fived for the good job we did together, i walked back over to the other side of the room quietly and put my hands out to see if he would join me. it took about a minute, but he finally got it (without any words from me) and came over. we jumped again. i would pause for effect on the "ready set...go" part and he was right there with me looking in my eyes for the go...it was great! The third time i walked very slowly toward the other side of the room...saying nothing but looking for him out of my peripheral vision. He walked along-side me! we did this about two more times with our motions in sync...it was so cool. When we had first started building the mountain, he was rushing ahead of me and still jumping on the bed too soon - but it was amazing with a little patience and his defined role, how he finally fell into sync.
i'll be traveling for work for the next three days so won't be able to write again til the weekend.
- What is the pattern?
- What is Henry's role?
- Keep Henry close, don't let go!
- Fewer words
- Slow it down!
- Worked on activities with Henry for about ½ hour, in 10 minute increments. Henry loves the "building the mountain" game, so it is not hard to motivate him for that. He was very responsive and the connection was good.
- created a new activity moving laundry from washer to dryer. Henry’s defined role is to receive the wet piece of clothing I hand him and then throw it in the dryer. He immediately understood his role and started to reference me for a yes or no nod to throw into the dryer…however, after several items he would get restless and start to lose focus. More than a few times, he would get anxious and throw the piece of clothing in before I gave an affirmative head nod. When I acted surprised and upset, he did NOT retrieve the piece and I had to hand-over-hand retrieve it with him. Once we seemed to get in the flow, I tried to throw a few curve balls and drop a piece on the floor. He became very disturbed by this, so we went back to the familiar pattern. I will try again next time. I also tried in all the activities to use the "we did it!" language, so he understood these were a team effort.
Monday, April 23rd (1/2 hour) - timing wise, i did most of these activities around dinner or in the 1/2 hour after Rosie went to bed. This seems to be a good time for us in the evenings.
- Carrot game: we did the carrot peeling game. Henry understood his role immediately and wasn't thrown off at all when i threw in a few curve balls by throwing the carrot scraping on the ground or holding on to it for awhile. Maybe something about sitting on chairs in a distraction-less room seems to work better.
- However, we did play the mountain game again and he was too excited! Every thrown pillow would cause him to want to run and jump on the pile, so i ended up having to do a lot of holding his hand in this exercise that i hadn't done before. We ending it after one mountain was built.
- hide the chopsticks: Henry ate Chinese noodles last night (aka ramen) so it was the perfect opportunity to hide the chopsticks and ask him "what's missing". When he realized they were not in their usual place though, instead of immediately referencing me, he just seem perplexed and went back to his chair. I had to prompt him with a "Henry, do you want the chopsticks...they're right there" - and then use eye gaze to direct him to the right place. He seems to "get" the eye gaze thing immediately (harking back to our days with the speech therapist and all her scavenger hunt games) but i was hoping that he would reference me right away and that didn't happen. I hope that once he is more confident with me as his guide this will get better.
- laundry game: did this one again, but Henry was somewhat distracted in the laundry room and seemed to look out the window behind me more than at me. I think i will try to keep most of the activities these days in our distraction-free room, until he seems ready to handle it in the rest of the house.