New discoveries, tiny victories

THE CLINIC EXPERIENCE

This week Amanda decided to try to have O back in the classroom without me. I was a little surprised because I have become used to being a part of the therapy session, regardless if I am a distraction or not. At some point O is going to have to learn how to be independent so I walked her to the classroom and gave her a hug before I left. I went to the waiting room and popped my ear buds into my ear to listen to the audiobook borrowed from the library.

When they were done, I went back to the therapy room and there were all kinds of therapy equipment strewn all over the room. It looks like they had a really good time. Before we left, Amanda reviewed this week’s homework exercise. We have finally graduated from steeple (insert sigh of relief). I was so excited to finally hear Amanda utter those words. However, the new game has elements of steeple (insert groan here) but it has an interesting element to “spice” up our home activities.


STICK AND STRAW

The purpose of this exercise is to help with eye hand coordination. The materials used in this exercise include a pointer (the stick), a straw, and the eye patch. This is to be done without glasses. This activity utilizes three different axis’ in which the straw is angles. The straw is held by the helper in the “x” axis, “y” axis, and “Z” axis. The “x” axis is the axis in which the straw is held in the horizontal or longitude direction. The straw is in the “y” axis when it is held vertically or latitude position. The “z” axis is when the straw is pointing directly towards the student. Before each axis is performed, the steeple game should be incorporated to practice tracking. The first step is to cover one eye with the patch and repeat each axis 10 times. Then the action is to be repeated 10 times with the other eye.


It is important to remember when we this exercise O is to move the stick in a half rainbow motion. When the stick is in the “x” axis, her hand should move in a half rainbow to the side. When the stick is in the “y” axis, her hand moves the stick in a half rainbow over the top. When the stick is in the “z” axis, her hand should move in a motion that is similar to throwing a dart.


All three of the axis’ should be done for both eyes in one sitting. As the helper, we score the number of successful attempts completed. If O overshoots or undershoots, or comes in too high, she should be guided to redirect the stick on the next attempt. Her helper is encouraged to tell her what went wrong with each attempt. Her helper is to hold the straw in the appropriate axis that is prescribed. Then O is to repeat the technique in each gaze at different distances from the her eye. Each attempt is subsequently recorded as successful or unsuccessful.


In addition to this exercise we were told to continue with the rhythm timing sequence exercise and standing angels. My favorite part of these exercises is that these can be done relatively anywhere. They can be done at the grocery store, bus stop, etc.… We do get some raised eyebrows when we play them in public but it makes the experience more efficient rather than cramming everything into our home routines.


The other important factor involves identifying O’s favorite activities. It is easier to perform these activities in public if she enjoys them. Fortunately standing angels is one of her favorite games. However, the rhythm timing sequence game is not. This is surprising because I would have thought that jumping is any child’s favorite activity. I don’t know if this game is difficult for O because it requires too much that she can mentally handle. Without consulting Amanda we modified it to make the experience more enjoyable for all parties involved. I wouldn’t recommend this practice to everyone, but my child will shut down and stop interacting. Sometimes you do what you have to do to get by.


We modified this game by having her clap her hands together and spell her name the second her hands make contact. We will even incorporate other concepts such as simple arithmetic to make it more difficult. She seems to be more receptive performing the exercise in this manner so it’s like I said before. Sometimes you do what you have to do to get by.

Progress is slow. I am trying not to get frustrated but it’s that instant gratification thing. I feel as though God is trying to teach me a lesson on patience.


Speaking of which, I met with a friend who just happens to be the children’s minister at our local church. It was very encouraging because she is going through a different but very similar experience with her child. When I say that I infer her child has a different disorder that requires the same type of therapy. It was very encouraging to hear her story and hear how her progress is going. It’s very important for me to realize that she is several weeks ahead in therapy than O so her progress is significantly more recognizable than what we currently see. I need to stop comparing O to other children because they all have different problems and they are all very different people. Each child is going to develop and progress at a different rate. The affirmation is going to come with small successes.


Most parents I have interacted with at the clinics have all told me by week 6 they have noticed significant changes in their child’s progress, especially with reading. Although we have not seen considerable strides, O has made some small successes that need to be celebrated. We were on our way to a family gathering at our chosen family’s house for Labor Day when O announced a speed limit sign. She has never tried to read a road sign in a moving vehicle going 45mph before. We have never told her the significance of this sign either. Even though it was a small victory, it was victory nevertheless. My heart soared with pride.


Next week school starts and I have a lot of ambivalence about it. I have concerns about whether or not her teachers will accept Dr. R’s recommendations. I worry that they will take a look at this "new medicine" and silently roll their eyes about the validity about it. I don’t care if they think if I am a “crazy mom,” I just want my child to succeed and learn alongside her peers without fear of being singled out as "slow" or "dimwitted." My goal is for school to be easier for her. I wish I could predict the future.


I emailed O’s special education teacher right before the school orientation. I wanted to have a quick meeting so we could get our “best foot forward” towards the new school year. Unfortunately I had to work the day of second grade orientation so I had to rely on Andy to handle it. I remember asking Andy in great detail about how it went. All I got in return was a shrug as he said, “I handed them the paper with the print out results and they just took it all in…” Wonderful… I think I need to be a bit more proactive. Men….

I know I can’t complain too much since he has virtually taken over the practice time at home, but still….

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