Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Activity Variety - Theresa

Since I last posted, i've mostly been working with Henry on some variations to the games we've been playing. We cut up a cucumber salad on Sunday, and he did very well with his role. However, he would start to get upset when i did something off the norm, like eat the cuke instead of handing it to him. That caused a guttural groan of disapproval. We rebounded though, and were able to finish off with cutting the cucumber and then cleaning up.

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

The Weekend

I did a couple of activities with Henry over the weekend, nothing too exciting. We did the "bean bag mountain" activity Saturday morning. He didn't want to do it initially (shocker) but after 5 minutes of trying to pick him off the floor, he gained some interest and begun to participate. His teachers at school call him "noodle". The name comes from his ability to lose all muscle function when an authority figure is trying to get him to do something he's not wanting to do. Anyway, it seems like he's seeing this whole "going into the activity room" as therapy or a school activity and immediately refuses to participate. Once he decides that this may be something he's interested in, he relents, plays along for 5 or 10 minutes, then proclaimed his classic "okay, no more". Theresa said she could hear me and I was talking too much during the activity so I guess I need to watch that.

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.