Second grade, ready or not, here we come!


First Day of School!!!

We didn’t plan this very well so here we are, the first day of school and week 7 of therapy in the clinic. Andy took the day off with me for our annual first day of school brunch. We skipped the normal plans in lieu of us having a day date. WE had to cut it short to make it to our 3:30 appointment. O was so excited to have both of us pick her up from daycare to go to her appointment. She exclaimed with pure bliss of excitement, “it’s the best day ever!!” In honor of Andy being present for the appointment, he was invited to join in the session to get his first hand experience with the clinic therapy. The girls didn’t disappoint!

But that left me completely in the dark with the home therapy….

We have a new exercise this week. This week they worked on accommodation. Accommodation is simply the mechanism in which the eye changes and adapts from near focusing to distance focusing. The mechanism of this is simple. The ciliary muscle (smooth muscle) in the eye is responsible for contracting just enough so the lens of the eye is able to focus light on the retina by changing its shape. This reflex is automatic and usually doesn't require too much active thought.

It took me a couple of days to figure out exactly what they were supposed to do especially since my work schedule keeps me away most evenings. I finally learned all three of the exercises the night before our next therapy session. Even some of the details are a little sketchy. I have also started a new routine in which I would play or simply snuggle with M while Andy is the therapy helper. I would play simple games such as “Spot it” or “Don’t spill the beans” because they can easily be played in the short amount of time before our bath time and bedtime rituals.

While playing with M, I would glance over to see Andy and O sitting at the dining room table facing each other in the chair. O has become to intensely dislike her patch so she would take her fingers and cover her eye instead. She was given a small patch that easily slides over her glasses but she hates that one too. The first game to test accommodation includes a big letter chart and little letter card. These are both laminated so they can withstand a careless seven-year old. First she would read the big letter chart with letters and numbers all the same size in a randomized sequence. She would be instructed to read a particular line while Andy holds the sheet while covering one eye. After that is completed, O is to read (with that same eye covered) another randomized row of letters and numbers from the little card that she holds. She is to repeat this exercise on the other eye.

The other exercise to practice accommodation includes a piece of paper with different shapes and symbols that are shaded a different color to help differentiate the different patterns. The purpose is to count the number of each shape or symbol without using her fingers.

The other two exercises we are to practice this week at home include our favorite “stick and straw” and “rhythm timing and sequence.” Andy has developed a more fun way to practice this one at home since we really want O to be an active participant without all of the moaning and groaning. At the beginning of the week I saw Andy trying to coach O to walk with her legs swaying out to the side alternatively. O was not buying it. I suggested Andy should coach her to use the tiles on the floor to use as a guide, but does he listen? No. Not. Ever.

Before I go on about how men don’t listen, he actually devised a way to get our seven-year old to cooperate, and surprisingly have fun while doing it. After all of the other exercises have been completed, O is instructed to go make her obstacle course. This results in several whoops of joy and then the stampede towards the playroom commences. She runs upstairs and takes several random toys, such as blocks, soccer cones, dolls, etc. and sets them in a pattern near her child-sized trampoline. Once on the trampoline, Andy claps out a beat and while she jumps to the beat, she calls out numbers. Andy has already predetermined the number prior to beginning. After she jumps the prerequisite number she jumps to the floor and jumps over the obstacles with alternating legs. M thinks this is a game so he joins in the fun.

One night at dinner, O made a comment to me that I had a hard time rationalizing. She told me at school she has to stay at her desk when the rest of her classmates get to sit on the carpet for certain activities. This made me wonder a few things. Is she being singled out from the rest of the kids? Is it because the school is actually taking Dr. R’s suggestions seriously and implementing them? Sometimes it’s hard to get information from her. When I asked her why, I asked her if it’s because it helps her see better and she nodded. I wasn’t able to attend the school orientation so I don’t quite understand the layout of the room. My husband tried to describe the new contemporary "pod" classroom where there are four classrooms seperated by a partition but open to each other. In the middle there is a common area for the kids to store their belongings. Instead of minimizing visual stimuli, there is a now an enormous amount. Not confusing at all.

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