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 yet...an 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!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Letters R and N

This past week has been really good for us to get into a school groove. I'm really excited about actually digging in and planning school once therapy is done (5 more time), rather than throw things together at the last minute, or while Turbo is working. I also can't wait to get started planning Tot School...well not plan, but you get the idea - you know document Tot School!

We worked on the letters R and N.

Here is his workbook in Handwriting Without Tears for the letter R.

Here is his art project:

His workbook page for the letter N:

His artwork for the Letter N:

Usually, I write the word for the art project object, but today, Turbo did! He, with help, sounded it out, and using my writing as a visual. But still! He wrote it, and I believe, understood what he was writing other than doing copywork!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Nature and Science Museum

Taking a trip to the Museum of Nature and Science always proves to be interesting. While getting ready in the morning, Turbo asked what we were going to do for school. When I replied that school was going to be at the Museum, his eyes lit up brighter than if it were Christmas morning!

We explored the set exhibits and laughed at all the kid shenanigans that go with it, but when we got to the Expedition Health exhibit that is where it really started to get interesting.

You start out by getting a key card, much like a hotel room key. You sign in and make a profile. Turbo was very proud because he could type his name, age and bday by himself! Then you went to stations. Using your key card, you could track, your heart beat, your brain waves, your pulse, even your strides. The strides, I'm pretty sure, took most of our time.

There was also a climbing area for little guys like Tank!

They had a stimulation of a river and a log to cross. Tank just danced in the river.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

TOT School

TOT School is now in session. Now that Tank is 1, I am ready to begin with Tot School. Tot School really isn't school as much as it is just focused time with him. There are SOOOOOO many ideas, activities, crafts, etc. out there, that choosing one thing is hard, but I am trying to make an effort in spending time with him just like I did with Turbo when he was younger.

Handwriting Without Tears has made such a huge difference in our home and in school. Granted, therapy has been taking a ton of time away from school, but that was expected. But now that we are getting down to the end, it is time that I begin thinking about the next semester and getting our act together.

During one of these times, Tank's napping schedule was kind of messed up, so we began some Tot School while I worked with Turbo on his letters. I gave him an empty plastic container and some crayons. Granted, I would have been more creative, but at the time, they were within arm's reach. Then I encouraged him to put them into the container. I dumped them out and he did it again. Besides having to tell him to not eat the crayons, he did good! Then I gave him buttons....WHOOOPSS!!!! wrong container. Here, ya go, baby....pompoms...yuck...he didn't like those....NICE JOB MAMA! ;)

OT: Day 25/30

This post is from last Friday's session.

It seems that too many days have passed since our last session and I fear that those recorded words were lost too! AHHHH!!!!

From what I can remember; however, it was a session pretty much like every session. They chose from the book, and made sure that there was a red, blue and green activity, in that order.

But the one thing that Ms. Renee was intent on doing was the monkey bars again. Since they sparked a fit/meltdown at the session on Wednesday, she wanted to make sure that his last memory loop was a good one, one that was a positive loop. Turbo has a horrible tendency to lay in bed at night and "loop" his day through his mind. Sometimes, he will even get stuck on a memory so much as to get up to tell me what he should have done, or has to tell me something, is frightened, etc.

She persuaded him to cross the monkey bars one more time, he did, and was able to move on. Not that he had a problem with that when he got home for the next few days, but it was important for me to see how it can become a problem if I don't leave it on a positive note for him. Once he gets older, this is something he will have to learn for himself, otherwise he can become an insomniac!

To bring his engine down, we played in the ball pit with a cover on it to block out all of the visual and auditory stimulation. She gave him a stuffed dog that vibrated when he hugged him. He didn't show too much attachment to it other than it was fun. We did deduct; however, that vibrating stimulation can almost be a curse to Turbo because it is so over powering to his senses.

One thing we did talk about was ADD/ADHD. As a mom, I might be in denial or might have a gut instinct. But as a teacher, something just doesn't sit well with me on the subject. ADHD is a problem with inattentiveness, over-activity, impulsivity, or a combination. For these problems to be diagnosed as ADHD, they must be out of the normal range for the child's age and development. Although I agree that Turbo has a struggle with inattentiveness, over-activity, impulsivity and even a combination. But what doesn't sit with me is that these characteristics aren't OUT OF THE NORMAL RANGE FOR THE CHILD'S AGE AND DEVELOPMENT.

First, HE IS A BOY! Second, HE IS FIVE! Again, I say, HE IS A BOY WHO IS FIVE!!! Ms. Renee agreed with me on that part. Using a bunch of scientific mumbo jumbo, which I understood at the time, but can't put it into words for reflective purposes now. The jest is that he is emerging into the stage where the difference between a boy who is 5 and a boy who is 5 with ADHD. It is here where the true markers of ADHD can be seen. With this, I agree.

I stuck out my neck far enough to test the waters and suggested that even if he does have ADHD, instead of medicating him, teaching him behavioral changes and modifications about his SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) would be more beneficial in the long run rather than stuffing a pill down his throat and excusing his behavior as a diagnosis and hope that when he turns 13 that acceptable behaviors will shine through and all this will be behind us. Candidly, I believe she agreed.

Although I am not quite sure I can remember anymore of the session, this was the biggest thing that stuck out most.

As we get to the end of our sessions, my husband and I are coming to the conclusion that our lives will be filled with "plans", for everything: bath, mornings, watching kid shows, naps, etc. If Turbo does not live in a structured day, everyone fills it. So the question is asked: Live in a structured day or live in a day filled with chaos where it affects the entire family. Structured days are more tiresome, but fulfilling. Unstructured days prove to be more tiresome and definitely leaves you with the sinking feeling of a failure at parenthood.

The answer is clear, now if I can just live up to it! ;-)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

OT: Day 24/30

Daddy was able to come with us again today, but the biggest break through in Turbo's therapy came when he had a meltdown.

He chose to play on the monkey bars and zip line today, and both Ms. Renee and he came up with an obstacle course to include the two.

She was saying that for Turbo to self-regulate or even organize himself, proprioception (pressure on joints) is best for him, because vestibular activities (such as running, spinning, jumping) are FIRE RED HOT activities. So hanging on the monkey bars and swinging his core was very organizing for him.

Everything was going great until, he was challenged to do the monkey bars without using the trapeze bar, which is a lot easier. When asked to compromise, he threw a fit, kicked at things and stomped off. In a way, it was good for Ms. Renee to see, although it was a mild meltdown/fit at that, but she also provoked it to see what he would do and how she could get through it.

In the end, it was decided to move on, not talk anymore about the monkey bars, and to encourage him to get into a quiet time. For this, she gave him the barrel tube, which would make things dark, turned off the lights, and gave him small toys to play with and his chewie. This worked out great. She moved on. Do ya hear that missy? (talking to myself)....move on.

After that, we moved on!

We played the Balloon Lagoon game again, which I found super cheap on Amazon.com and it is now a Christmas gift...sweetness...

Although this time, he was sandwiched in between pillows in the prone position. When he is organized and self-regulated, he listens better, plays games better and is overall more focused. By putting him in the prone position, this helps him tremendously.

I also was able to look at the Stress Level Charts and the Noise Level Meter. I will be making those TODAY!!!

Letters D and P

Each morning, during our new routine, we have been working on Handwriting Without Tears. This has been a phenomenal time, mostly because there is no more Tears...haa haa...get it...ehem...okay

Here are some art projects having to do with those letters.

Monday, November 8, 2010

OT: Day 23/30

Again, we were blessed by Daddy's presence at OT. However, getting there was the hardest part! We were stuck in traffic in gridlock for a bit and had to rush to get there!

When we got there, Ms. Renee had a great idea of using pretty much EVERY swing they had to make an obstacle course. This was to help strengthen his core muscles, which allow him to sit still when in the proper posture position. It also challenges him to make a plan when going through the course. By using the swings, each time he goes through the course, his plan has to change because the motion of the swings aren't the same every time. Again, his implusivity was evident as he just wanted to go, but struggled with staying on the swing without touching the ground. Once he realized that making a plan to go through the course was a better idea, he did a great job with only touching the ground once.

Love letters were sent between Daddy and I and Turbo was to deliver them! Using a rope suspended between the two of us, Turbo laid on his back on a scooter while "climbing" the rope back and forth. He carried our "letters" with his legs. This forced him to strengthen his core muscles, and also forced him to use his vision in a different way. He had to look upside down and backwards.

To help with the vestibular input, we did some proprioceptive input and jumped rope with him. But to work on his impulsivity, we asked him to get in rhythm with the rope before he began jumping.

At the end, we went into a new room that had a microphone. At first, I was dreading this because Turbo equipped with a microphone=disaster!

But Ms. Renee had a chart (HA!) and a meter reader specifically for voice control. One of our goals was to help him realize that there are certain times and places where loud voices are okay, and then other times when it is not. The meter reader was color codes much like his engine meter reader. Only this time, the clipart was different. She also had a chart much like the volcano one for his emotions, but this one read for how loud noises/voices were and what it does to someone's ears.

Using these charts, she had him play with different voice levels with the microphone that was hooked up to headphones. Hee, Hee...he had to listen to his own voice right in his ears when he screamed...talk about a taste of your own medicine! At first, he didn't notice, but when Ms. Renee spoke loudly into the microphone, he immediately took off his headphones and said, "No thank you, I don't want to play this anymore." After some prodding, it was because her voice was too loud...SUCCESS! He realized it! FINALLY!!

I didn't get a chance to snap a picture of the charts, but I'm sure I can next time.

Leaf Men

Last week, we went out for a quick walk around our complex in search for some great leaves that had fallen. Our mission was to create Leaf Men.

OT: Day 22/30

Today was a special day because Daddy was able to join us for OT. It began by choosing our plan for the day. Yes, I am becoming well aware that my life will inevitably by directed and mastered by plans. As you look around our home, everywhere you turn, there is a plan, chart or some sort of display meant for Turbo.

Moving on.

Turbo chose the helicopter swing, so Ms. Renee thought of a game to play. As he spun in circles, he was to listen to her call out commands, such as: Blue:Feet, Yellow:Hands. Check out the video.

It was time to work some more on his Vision Program. He has gotten a lot better with his slow tracking movement.

Afterwards, Turbo was able to show Daddy how Whack-A-Mole worked. This was a great opportunity for him to review the touch rules and then be able to communicate them to Daddy.

Then of course, we HAD to play the Jedi Knight training game. This time, however, Daddy got to play. It was great, because Daddy was in charge of one tower, while Turbo was in charge of two. As the lights went out, and the game begun, it was interesting to see how he handled the division of attention. He had to focus on his towers, while also dividing his attention to Daddy's tower. Then, he had to realize that he had the take turns in whacking the lights out. He did a good job, but later this weekend while playing a game, he really struck out learning how to take turns. Work in progress, work in progress....

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

OT: Day 21/30

Wound up tighter than a top. This would probably accurately describe Turbo today BEFORE therapy. When we got there, Ms. Renee worked on getting him self-regulated. She gave him a heavy ball, about 2 pounds and had him play with it while he climbed the rainbow in the small gym.

This helped to self regulate him.

Afterwards, we practiced recognizing facial expressions. By adding movement (proprioception) to the activity (sliding down the slide), he was able to move, but still concentrate. Ms. Renee would give him pictures of kids showing a variety of facial expressions (mad, sad, angry, surprised, etc.) To go down the slide, he had to do the same expression while I tried to guess what it was. Then we switched. I mimicked the picture while he tried to guess what facial expression/emotion that I was showing.

Ms. Renee suggested that because Turbo is such a fast mover (Huh...sarcastic laugh), that he will most of the time miss facial expressions. Seems to reason why sometimes he doesn't get that I am upset, angry, surprised or worried about his shinanigans that he pulls!

Unfortunately, another family needed to use the small gym which meant that our plan needed to change, and Turbo was unable to use the trampoline that he had already choosen for his plan for the day. This change in plan/routine was the beginning of what would be a meltdown. He was very sad that he couldn't jump on the trampoline and began to justify why he should stay and not move. He even offered different ideas for the family just so he didn't have to move. Finally, we helped him through it and thought of something else for his plan. It worked to get him out of the gym, but it didn't help in the long run.

Unfortunately, the game that they decided on to do couldn't be found, and the second trampoline that we thought would work, didn't, and Turbo was disappointed. So not only was he emotionally disappointed, but now his plan was changed, then changed again, and then the game wasn't what he picked. So the last half of the session was used to maintain him self-regulation why helping him to work through this change.

On a good note, I did find something that could help him sit/stand and help strengthen his core. Of course, we probably won't get this soon, but it is something to think about when the time comes.

No More Meltdowns

I've been reading this book by Jed Baker called, No More Meltdowns. This is a phenomenal book. Not only does it come from the perspective of SPD, but it also helps parents identify reasons/situations as to WHY meltdowns are occuring.

Here is an example: EVERY, and I mean EVERY night at bathtime, we have a struggle which turns into a meltdown. When Turbo gets out of the bath/shower, he thinks a game is being played and he runs to hide. WHY? WE HAVE NO IDEA! But in some way or another, he gets hurt. He thinks that this is the time to play! EVEN WITH MOMMY AND DADDY having "THOSE" looks on their faces. And inevitably, with our small living quarters, Tank is woken up. And to get a sleeping baby back to sleep before his big brother goes to bed in the SAME room, is virtuatlly impossible. Which could also be the start of why our nights are so long with Tank. He still isn't sleeping through the night...which is a whole other struggle.

Anyways, during my midnight readings of this book, because well, Tank is up!, I was reading a chapter about identifying the cause of a meltdown. Let me assure you, I KNOW what the cause is, he doesn't want to go to sleep. And I know that if were to take this struggle to Ms. Renee, I know what she is going to tell me: Make A Plan. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Not to disrespect her in any way, but am I really going to have to Make A Plan for EVERY part of this kids life? Probably, so just get used to it.

So this is our plan: I made a sheet that has all the steps he needs to take to get ready for bed. If he does all these steps without getting sidetracked, then he gets to read books before bed. I am fully aware that we will have some battles on our hands the first few nights because he is going to test the waters. So I am preparing myself! We will see what happens. Here is to hoping.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Handwriting W/O Tears - 1st lesson

Since our morning plans were foiled to hang out with some friends and (for my sanity sake - mommas), during Tank's nap, Turbo and I did our first lesson in the Handwriting Without Tears program. I had been looking over it to see how we could implement it into our day. We listen to the cute songs in the car while we are driving, which incidentally, there seems to be A LOT of driving time lately. This song we have been focusing on because Turbo seems to struggle with remembering that letters begin at the top, instead of where he usually starts them, at the bottom.

While Tanks slept and it being a beautiful day outside, we laid on the grass in the crunchy leaves and began practicing our Pencil Pick-Ups. We tried different tricks to pick up the "pencil", which was a crayon, so that it sat correctly in his fingers. Then we finished the already drawn pictures in his workbook. By lying on his tummy, he was able to sit still longer to work. He also was able to strengthen his core.

Next, we moved on to the letter "F". I showed him how the wooden manipulatives could help him create the letters on the blue mat while using the happy face at the top - hence the song - start your letters at the top.

He made the letter "F" with the manipulatives, and then we moved on to the small chalk board. Here, he watches me write the letter first (WATCH). Then he uses a small sponge to clean it off (WET). Then uses a paper towel to dry it off (DRY). Finally, it is his turn to write it (TRY). This process allows him to have the repetitiveness that he needs to learn the letters rather than doing copy work all day long.

Then we moved on to the sidewalk. I drew pictures as he was to guess what letter started with the object, i.e. Ball, Cat, Pig, Kite, Dog, Truck, Ant, etc. I would write the word leaving out the first letter, then he was to fill it in. This lasted for quite some time, actually.

Then we snuck off and played in the crunchy leaves for a bit.

Afterwards, we cleaned up our stuff and went inside to work on the computer. Someone shared with me this website: http://www.abcya.com that has age-appropriate games for different levels, along with some fun holiday games too.