Thursday, December 30, 2010

OT: Post-Testing....PTL!!!!

WHOO HOO! Therapy is done, testing completed, and feedback given...all 100% positive!

In my hour-long meeting today with Ms. Renee, she shared with me Turbo's standardized test scores. The difference that was shown was remarkable! From July 30th to December 17th, he has shown marked improvement!

She still is pretty adament about me getting him into a gifted program. Mainly because he shows characteristic markers of a gifted thinker. I guess, that will be another day.... AHHH ME.

But for now, I am just going to enjoy my hot cup of coffee by the nice cozy warm fire and enjoy a book that DOESN'T have to do with SPD!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Paper Ornaments

We usually make salt dough ornaments for Christmas gifts and for our tree. This year, I decided to try something different. We made pressed paper ornaments. It was really simple, and best of all, not tempting to eat...BLEH!

We started out by tearing 3 LARGE sheets of construction paper into small bits and placing them into a food processor or blender.

Next, we added a 1 1/2 cups of very hot water to the blender and let it sit for 5 minutes.

We preheated the oven to 200 degrees and placed a towel on a plate with a paper towel over it. Then we carefully chose a cookie cutter shape for our ornament. We chose an angel.

Turbo pressed the pulse button on the blender for about 30 seconds just so that a good pulp was created. Turbo touched it, but was pretty much finished after this, as getting messy was NOT a part of the deal...Ahhhh me...

Scoop out the mixture and put it into a sieve to squish out the remaining water. Of note, don't make it too dry otherwise the paper won't stick together and keep its cookie cutter shape.

Using your fingers, squish in the pulp so that every inch of your shape is filled. I didn't fill it to the brim, as I wanted to make a few more shapes than it was called for (they said 3, I was able to make 5).

Then carefully poke out the shape onto a cookie sheet and "bake" it in the over for 2 hours or until it is dry, light and firm at 200 degrees.

Like I said, don't get too much moisture out or it will fall apart!

Glue a ribbon/string with hot glue on the back, add glitter before baking or after and give away!

Sending Santa THE LIST

This year, instead of taking Turbo's Christmas wish list to Golden and mailing it to Santa, we decided to do a different twist on the whole thing. We were watching a Christmas movie where the list was thrown into a fire place (w/o a fire) and the list floated up and out of the chimney and drifted to Santa in the North Pole. Turbo saw that and was infatuated with it. But I decided to take a step further, because lets face it...that list "ain't" gonna float up and out!

We lit a fire, and then had him toss the list in. We told him that the burnt ashes will float up through the chimney and outside into the night sky and drift to the North Pole where Santa's elves will assemble the list back together again and begin assembling his wish list.

This morning, Turbo asked if I thought that Santa received his list yet. Thinking to myself, I told him that I got a confirmation this morning on email to let me know that Santa received it and that his elves were hard at work! His eyes widened the size of Silver Dollars...and well....that's that. I'm not sure if he was amazed, or just filled with wonder why his mama could be so naieve. Time will only tell.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Letter X

X-Ray, Xylephone. Two new words learned today.

The Christmas Season

We've started this tradition of having Turbo look through the magazines that stores send out around Christmas time to make his Christmas Wish List. This year, was no different. One thing that changed was that Turbo is now much more likely to think long and hard about his wishes, as he "has experience" playing with toys.

His list was not that much different than any other 5 year old boy, but man!, did he work hard on it!

Our precious cousins from Fruita sent us a great Peanuts Advent Calendar. We have been reading about the story of Christmas each night at dinner and open up a new window. Each night it suggests a great Christmas activity. One evening in particular we were to make some yummy cookies. We made Vanilla Chai Spice Cookies. Kind of like Gingerbread Men.

I've been reading Turbo the Christmas story and we've been using the Nativity Scene figurines along with the story. We have 2 scenes, and Turbo thought that we had to use ALL of the figurines in one stable.

Tot School: Apple Craft

Tank's apple craft was really simple to do. Using a hole punch, I punched a bunch of holes in a sheet of card stock. Using tape, I taped it to a sheet of paper. Then, giving Tank some red pain, he smeared the paint over the holes. Tactile touch with both the paint and the holes in the cardstock.

Here is the finished product!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Letter V

This week has been a terrible week - school wise. I'm pretty sure that I need to keep my butt in gear and on a schedule if we are going to get this done. With that being said, we got on schedule today, and this week isn't at all lost!

We worked on the Letter V. Turbo quickly noticed that if he were to put 2 letter V's together, then he could write the Letter W. I told him that we would work on that letter tomorrow.

His handwriting is coming along. His size of letters are correctly sporadic at best, but he seems to not fight at all on working on them. Once the holidays are over and now that therapy is finished, we can dedicate more of our time together on correctly writing the letters and making them all the same size succinctly.

His Letter V is acceptable. At least he isn't curving at the bottom like the Letter U. We made some veggies for the Letter V: a carrot and some celery with cheese on it because his Grandpa likes to eat celery that way. Now if only I can convince HIM to eat these veggies. Carrots have become tolerant, but celery will be a new sensation, and I pray that his first time encountering it will be a good one! Grandpa, if you're listening...that means you're involved! LOL!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tot School: Animal Scramble

This morning, Tank was so adament about wanting the giraffe to the Animal Scramble game that Turbo got for his birthday. Usually, it is because the giraffe is large and heavy and those are the things that he delights in carrying around with him as he explores the house.

Only this morning, after giving it to him, he continued to reach for the package, grunting! When I gave it to him, he took out one of the animals and began to "capture" the monkey beneath the giraffe as he has seen many times his brother doing.

Finally understanding, I placed the rest of the animals out, turned the giraffe on and helped him "capture" the correct animal the game directed. He laughed and giggled and had so much fun. Although this game might have been over his head a bit much, I believe he knew what he was doing and wanted to be a big boy just like Turbo!

OT: Day 30/30 ~~~ FINISHED! ~~~

Our last day of therapy was uneventful at best. We went through the same motions as we have always gone through. Again, I was suppose to fill up Turbo's cup so that it was overflowing with sensory issues that he and Ms. Renee had to work them through in their session. Alas, I could not. Try as I might, I could not get him to explode at a level 5 volcano.

Thinking I somehow failed her when we arrived, she looked at me and smiled and said,
"That is a great and encouraging thing to hear!" Taken aback, I realized what was happening! Turbo had self-regulated himself even in times of frustration where he would usually explode! And looking back at the last 4 months and 30 sessions + 2 Parent Education classes and one consultation with a psychologist, we have come a LLOONNGG!!! Way!

The two went about their morning. Ms. Renee was not about to let the puppet play session pass without acknowledging it. Their first scheduled pit stop was to play with the puppets. He did, and he didn't complain. He cooperated! Ms. Renee suggested that maybe when he doesn't want to do things that are new to him, and might be a bit overwhelming, that it could possibly be that his anxiety is getting the best of him. But when presented later, sooner rather than later, a second time, he is more apt to trying it and experiencing it.

She suggested that using puppets or even pretend kits such as a Doctor Kit, Dentist Kit, etc. anything that he might show anxiety over, to play with to help him have a positive experience first so that when he experiences it in reality, he is able to rely on his past positive and emotionally positive experience of the play time, rather then not being able to process all of the sensory stuff and input that would normally come with it. Unfortunately, I seem to think that because of his need to seek any kind of sensory input such as climbing to the tallest of heights and dropping 7-8 feet from a tall slide, that he doesn't fear anything! But he does. He just doesn't fear that things that I think he should. Paradaigm sift for me and hubby in our ways of parental guidance.

They moved on to playing on the zip line and his play a favorite game of his. He was presented with a certificate of completion at the Star Center, but that really didn't peak any interest from him.

We will return in a couple of weeks for a hour's worth of evaluation tests to see how far he has come since the middle of September. Then after Christmas, both hubby and I will visit one on one with Ms. Renee to discuss the results and if needed, any further thearpy or recommendations.

There have been times during this whole thing where I wished we weren't doing it. Then when I hear thinks from friends and family about how much change they see in Turbo, it helps me to stay positive and keep trucking on.

The top three things learned from this time of therapy for me:
1. Unfortunately, Turbo operates on plans. Plans for everything! But he won't always. In order for our family to have a good day, plans are necessary, but also brings about positive interaction with each other. And, if the current plan isn't working, it is perfectly acceptable to change it and come up with a different plan.

2. There will be days where Turbo cannot self-regulate himself, and that is where us as the parents HAVE to step in to offer suggestions, and not expect him to do it himself. It is my job to recognize the difference between that and him just being a spoiled 5 year old boy.

3. There are so many tools out there that can be used to help him. So many opportunities for him to get help. But in the end, it comes down to us as a family unit and friends who are the ones who will get him through all of this "stuff" with understanding, education, prayer, patience, and of course, grace.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

OT: Day 29/30

The request from Ms. Renee was to bring Turbo in with his cup already full or at least at the very brim.

Unfortunately, I believe that last night, Turbo was the victim of food poisoning from McDonalds. (secretly jumping up and down at the opportunity to steer clear of the joint!) Moving on.

Although I tried to fill his cup, I didn't push too hard, as I am his mother, and yes I do have a loving heart towards him, even if sometime I am so frustrated with him, that it is hard to show it.

When we got there, I did tell her that I wasn't too confident on my success and told her why. She agreed to back off if things looked grim.

She brought out her puppets again for imaginary play. And because she knows that he is not all too fond of playing with puppets if it has anything to do with situational play where he is uncomfortable. Unfortunately/fortunately, he did not want to participate, and retreated to a corner and asked to go home as this was not a game he wanted to play. So for 35 minutes we sat and talked while Turbo sulked in the corner. He didn't get violent as he usually does, but he did kick the chair at me, where Ms. Renee promptly put him in his place. After some comical scenes and some encouragement, he played briefly so we could move on.

When we did, we had 5 minutes left in the session. We played a quick game and then left for home.

It might have seemed as a total loss of a day, but it was good for me and him to see that he can hold it together and self-regulate away from home.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

OT: Day 28/30

We are getting down to our last three days of therapy!

This morning,I asked Ms. Renee to do something specific for Turbo. As of late, well, he has always done this, but especially lately, he has really flipped when he doesn't get his way, or things aren't just so. Granted, he is 5, but where is the line drawn between 5 and SPD? He didn't respond quite as I had hoped, but a great word was borne out of the session.

Our time was mostly spent in the "Kitchen Room", where Ms. Renee brought out puppets to play with and a model of a brain. To review the big brain/little brain lingo, puppets were used to talk so that the environment was nonthreatening when it came time for situational learning.

At first, Turbo was happy to oblige in the puppet play. He was able to effectively communicate the terminology as well as give examples of how the big brain/little brain dialogue.

When it came time for situational learning such as a visit to the dentist, he was not as obligatory. He used excuses such as the dog puppet hearing his mom calling his name as a way out, or simply saying the words, "No Thank You." He would even go as far as hiding beneath a chair or table, or just move to the farthest part of the room so that he would not have to mock-play going to the dentist.

While playing with the bubbles, I had a chance to talk with Renee. She suggests continuing with a psychologist who can help with his anxiety issues. She believes that when specific events happened earlier on, say going to the dentist, his SPD didn't allow him to take in all that sensory information/input so he could not process the experience properly. When that "overwhelming" feeling occurred, he shut down and went into Fight or Flight mode. For him, it seems to be Flight. Keeping this in mind, she explained that now he has tools to self-regulate in these intense sensory situations, he is still dealing with that emotional bond to that specific event. A psychologist will be able to help us and him sort through that so that a positive emotional bond is created that overrides the negative. Now, with any future over sensitized situation, Turbo now has the ability and tools to self-regulate.

Parts of me understands this, and yet there is another part where I shake my head no, and wonder if it is just a spoiled 5 year old who had ignorant parents, but have since become the wiser.

All this to say, I did get the name and number to the recommended psychologist for that "just in case" day.

Letter L

The Letter L was worked on this morning.

Using the Wet, Dry, Try method of Handwriting Without Tears:

Tanks' First Christmas Craft

Last night, the family decided to do a Christmas craft. Now those of you with boys, and maybe even some girls, know that this is no easy task. Add a 1 year old to the mix and a quirky 5 year old, and you have a recipe for disaster. Fortunately, our Christmas trees turned out great, and our carpet was spared of green splatter paint.

First, we taped paper to the table. Actually, it was a white paper lunch bag, but that was all I had. Then we put blobs of paint on the paper and asked the boys to spread it around. Making it a bit more challenging, I asked Turbo to stay in the lines of the tree. Tank did great! He didn't any of the paint! Not that he didn't try!

Then we traced their hands for the ornaments!

Tank's Creation:

Turbo's Creation:

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Letter K

YEAH! We have come to the first letter in our last name! Although Turbo knows his full name (I'm sure it is because I use it quit often), he doesn't really spell his last name when asked to write his name.

We used the letter story of "K" with Mr."KAYE" the karate teacher and the karate kick. His K's turned out very well even with the sound effect of, "HYA YA!!!!"

**Yes, I know that my pictures are sideways, upside down, and any which way, but I am not going to waste my brain cells to fix them! LOL**

Monday, November 29, 2010

OT: Day 27/30

After the long Thanksgiving break, we have our final 4 sessions left.

Today, Ms. Renee introduced MoveAbout Activity Cards. These are much like his Stick Kid cards, but they offer more things to do with a simple things as an exercise ball for example.

Here, he chose to do cannon ball kicks as one of his activities on his cards.

Then he ran and played this game, Hyper Jump. Unfortunately, this game wasn't in the greatest working condition, so that idea had to be scrapped!

Moving on using the same Activity Cards, he chose to do a commando crawl.

And then the backwards push up on the exercise ball.

They continued to play some other games too using these cards. They seem to be very useful.

Next, we used the bolster swing. This swing proved to be very challenging as he had to use all of his core muscles to stay on.

Then, using a tunnel, pillows and the Wedgits, we built patterned pyramids. This, along with strengthening, gave him the proprioceptive feedback that allowed him to self-regulate before our session was over.

Ms. Renee inquired about my intentions for next year for Kindergarten. When I told her that I wanted to Homeschool him, she suggested that I also look into Expeditionary Learning Schools. I am going to have to look into these schools more.

Turbo on Ice

This weekend, we were able to join some friends in a little ice skating. Turob hasn't gone before, but after an hour's worth of practicing, he was just short of a pro!

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Letter H

This morning was like trying to pull teeth to get Turbo to follow his morning plan after the crazy, hectic schedule of the Thanksgiving weekend. After conceding to mama, (whew!) he sat down and got to work. This was only after I changed positions with him as me the student and he the teacher. A mama's gotta do, what a mama's gotta do....short of duct tape!

We did a review of his letters. I'm not too confident in some of them, but I figured we would go back and review them after a week or so. Gives him enough time to get back into the groove of things.

I introduced a new letter, the letter H. This is what was produced:

After learning two new vocabulary words, HORSE and HOME, we made a HOME for his art project. I think his handwriting, (for even TURBO) is coming along nicely.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Sharp Family

Today was a cold day! I had the opportunity to take some family portraits of a blended family. These kids were great! Check it out The Sharp Family!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Apple Turkey

Probably the only healthy thing that he will ingest this Thanksgiving weekend....

Handful of Thanks

We put off school this morning, to do a Thanksgiving craft. Usually, we have done a million and one crafts by this time of the year, but this year hasn't been average in any way to say the least.

I found a great website, No Time For Flashcards, that gives great ideas for crafts. This was one of them.

Using craft foam, we traced his hands, he cut them out and glued the pieces together to make his own turkey.

When asked if he wanted to write the word, Turkey, he was more than willing. Using my writing as a guide on a different sheet of paper, this is how it turned out. Not too shabby, eh?

Hilarious Sibling Rivalry

Throughout our therapy with Turbo, Ms. Renee has tossed around the book, Sibling Without Rivalry and suggested that I was going to need it once Tank was older and could argue and fight back. Unfortunately, this day of revenge has come sooner rather than later.

While talking on the phone with my mother this morning, both boys, of course, were acting out. More specifically, Turbo was acting out with his BROTHER AS THE UNSUSPECTING TARGET! Once things had settled down, and redirection was instituted on both parties, this is what I saw when I came around the corner, and had to grab the camera before it was too late:

Tank had pinned Turbo to the ground while he was watching a kid show was proceeded to poke and pinch anything he could, all while using his only ammunition he had....SLOBBER! Turbo loved it, of course, but when it was all said and done, he realized why his clothes and face were all wet....HAA HAA!!!! That's right baby, you dish it out, it will come back to you 10 fold! (Now, I just need to make sure that my own lil' brother doesn't read this!)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

OT: Day 26/30

I forgot my camera in the car today, but it wasn't needed thankfully!

The main focus of today was to begin "weaning" us off of Ms. Renee. Although she worked with Turbo, she really wanted me to understand that pretty much anything in our house could be used to help him with his therapy, just as long as I keep in mind what it is that I want him to work on, and for whatever reason.

This morning, he played on the zip line and landed into the ball pit. Although this in of itself offers a lot of strengthening in his hands, it also just provides him a way to get the "jitters" out. Before each "zip", they worked on "his brain".

She explained to him that everyone has "2 brains". There is a BIG brain and a little brain. The Big Brain is what helps him to think. The little brain is what helps him to feel.

Helping him with examples, she explained what happens during each situation. Take eating for instance. Many time, when he looks at the food on the plate, he will turn and run because his little brain says, "YOU WON'T LIKE THAT!" "THAT WILL TASTE YUCKY!" (tells him of his feelings). This has been habituated enough that he no longer listens to his BIG brain. His big brain will tell him, "Try it!" "It won't take long to eat." "It won't hurt you." Telling him reality, truth, or just plain direction/command.

The bubbles are his BIG brain telling him things that will help him get through a specific instance where it is hard for him to "gain control".

Take a look at his worksheet.

She also brought out Mr. Mouth and Pop-Up Pirate. These games, in of themselves aren't therapeutic by any means, but HOW she played with them were. For Mr. Mouth, he laid in the prone position (on his tummy) on a scooter board that forced him into extension which will strengthen his core, which will further his ability to sit still because he core muscles won't become fatigued as quickly. The same thing with Pop-Up Pirate. Only this time, he laid in prone in the square swing while she slowly swung him back and forth. He was to pick up the colored swords and extend out his arms after looking down, then UP to find the barrel to put the sword into the barrel to make the pirate pop up and out. She then did the wheelbarrow trick with the pirate game, having him walk back and forth on his hands and then inserting the swords into the barrel. She said that using an exercise ball would accomplish the same things, if I was busy with Tank. I thought to myself, "huh, lady, you haven't been in our home exercise has no business there." But, I will give it a try.

As we near the end of therapy, she is imparting wisdom tidbits that will help us down the road. Ultimately, it comes down to different parenting, mothering, and playing. No longer am I able to say, GO TO YOUR ROOM AND PLAY, I need to have a plan. No longer am I able to justify getting JUST a toy, because I should think through how that toy can be played with to further his therapy if I want, in anyway, this therapy to become a good investment. SHEESH! This mothering/teaching/therapist things is tough gig!