2014 has started off with some really cold temperatures around here, that’s for sure! The kids have most definitely been enjoying their snow days. Those snow days have also been great because we’ve had quite the sick little girl over here. It seems like every other week since December, she’s been sick with one thing or another. Whether a GI bug, a weird virus, upper respiratory issues, back to another form of the GI bug, etc., she’s needed a lot of down time to rest in hopes to recover. This past week, Claire’s gone through a lot. I’m happy to say that slowly but surely, she’s getting better.
It’s important to give Claire as much downtime as possible when she’s sick. It’s also important though, to make sure we continue to work on the things she would be working on whether at school or in therapy. The continuous days at home can all blur together at times, so it’s helpful (for me) to have a plan and a few goals to work towards each day. What activities can she do while wearing her AFOs and being in her stander? What activities can we do so that she can practice “driving” her wheelchair? How can we practice the vocabulary she’s working on in school, at home? What activities can we do at home that can help her practice the preposition words and other concepts that she’s working on during her private speech therapy sessions? How can we get her motivated to practice walking? What flashcards can she go over while sitting during a meal? My mind is always going, wondering how we can use the moments of each day to reinforce what she’s doing while at school or in therapy. (Sometimes I wish my mind would turn off!) If she’s stuck at home due to sickness, I don’t want her falling behind elsewhere.
Some of the things Claire’s been working on the past couple of weeks, include practicing her winter clothing school vocabulary and action words. I didn’t know how to work on these words, but then after copying some ideas from a preschool lesson plan book, it started coming together. The one morning, Claire worked on dressing her favorite stuffed animal because it was cold. Claire would say which article of clothing her bear needed to find and wear, using her Tobii communication device. The articles of clothing were scattered around the 1st floor of the house. If she picked “mitten”, Claire would have to practice walking to wherever the mitten was located on the 1st floor. She would continue to gather the clothing items and when she was done, she would “dress” her bear to get it warm. Then, after doing so, she picked what the bear would do. (Incorporating her action words). Should the bear sleep? Throw snowballs? Or possibly go sled riding? If she chose (using her Tobii) that she wanted her bear to sleep, she would use the Tobii to read the bear a bedtime story. If she wanted the bear to go sled riding, Claire would go in the basement to go “sled riding” aka: work on her physical therapy goals by going up the stairs of a slide we have in the basement. She would take the bear sled riding down that slide. Etc. Etc.
A less important goal but still one to work one on includes having Claire practice driving her wheelchair. To make this more fun for her, we lined up blocks and wanted Claire to knock them over by selecting the forward button on her tray. The boys thought this was so funny, and so did Claire.
Yesterday, I wanted Claire to work on pretend play, while incorporating her Tobii vocabulary words and direct access (an occupational therapy goal). So…. she picked which doll she wanted to take care of. She chose the activity she wanted to help the doll with (feeding, bathing, getting ready for bed, etc) using her Tobii, and I would try to incorporate hand over hand play so she felt she was actually, for example, giving the doll a bath. Then, in conclusion, she would use the Tobii to read that doll a bedtime story. Below are some pictures. She seemed to enjoy herself.
I give credit to those teachers and therapists who have to come up with ideas on how to work on goals through play, every single day! I know I run into ruts in coming up with ideas as to how to keep challenging Claire to bring her a step further each day at home. It gives me an appreciation to those educators who have the ability to come up with ideas, especially on the fly! Kuddos to you!