Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
- I received two lovely blog awards lately and that feel good. Things have been kind of quiet around here lately and it's nice to be thought of! The sunshine award is from Aviatrix and the Happiness 101 award is from The Henrys.
- I got to meet a fellow blogger this past weekend. I've been reading her blog since May of 2006--yes, I'm a nerd and went back and figured it out. Back in the day, my co-worker used to tell me that everyone I met online was secretly a man trying to meet women. I am happy to report that Toni is just as cool in person and not a man.
- Took Charlie to the Neuro. Still nice and fat. Charlie's had two incidents where he woke up crying in the middle of the night and she said it probably wasn't seizures. She said nightmares were much more likely.
- Charlie's Gator walker has arrived--he doesn't know what to make of it yet, but we'll get there!
- We went to the Easter party again this year. The one that was so disastrous last year? He did SO much better. Kept his eyes open and everything. Still didn't like the Easter bunny, but other than that, the whole thing wasn't half bad.
He's looking at that Easter Bunny like, "Hey, get your hand off me."
Monday, March 29, 2010
Octo-dogs--only do this with kids that are really good eaters, keep the noodles lengths short, and never leave child unattended! Hot dogs can pose a choking hazard. Mention repeatedly that octodogs have eight legs just like an octopus.
Ocean in a pan--water in a pan with a few plastic sea creatures or water and sand together. Allow time for explanation. Guide their hands if needed.
Fish Banjo--Easiest project ever. Also, Charlie is still playing with his. It's amazing how a toy made out of an old shoe box and some rubber bands is as big a hit as the forty dollar ones AND it doesn't use batteries.
Ocean Scene Stickers--place stickers of sea horses, fish, or turtles on an ocean scene. I like the foam stickers from craft stores because they provide great, 3D texture.
Books we Enjoyed
Swimmy by Leo Lionni. A classic children's book about working together.
The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister. A new classic about sharing.
Hooray for Fish by Lucy Cousins. Reminded me of Dr. Suess with it fun rhymes and bright colors.
The Day the Ocean Came to Visit by Dianne Wolkstein. A more advanced story--kind of like a legend. Hubby and I really enjoyed this one.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Today we went to a concert in the park. Charlie had a nice time even though he's closing his eyes in this picture. The breeze was blowing and it was just a lovely, lovely day.
I'm working really hard on getting my first unit post up for you guys--I think it's more work to type it than it is to implement it!
Saturday, March 27, 2010
My parents did a lot of things to protect me when I was a kid. They sacrificed a lot of things so that my brother and I could go to the best schools, so we wouldn't worry, so we would be safe.
I didn't live in a bubble, though. The specifics were vague, but I knew I had it good and I worried a lot about "the real world." When I went off to college I actually thought that laundry took days to complete. Really, I had no idea what even went on in laundry room. I'd also done a bang-up job at ignoring sweeping, dish washing, and mopping.
When I began thinking about my future, I kept this in mind. I was, at best, moderately good at retail jobs and knew that if I had a shot in life I was going to have to get a job doing something that made decent money. Preferably something that involved cute shoes.
I figured I'd become a lawyer. There were lots of lawyers in my family. I liked a good discussion. Lawyers make good money. Suits can be very flattering. It felt like a perfect fit. To be really safe, I intended to major in Accounting in college. Accounting also seemed like a good bet--never mind that math class made my eyes roll back in my head. I figured I'd powered through high school and I could power through some accounting--school wasn't supposed to be fun, right?
Turns out, I never got a degree in accounting, never went to law school, never even took the LSAT. Life had different plans for me--I just didn't know it yet.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Rolling cars down the hallway and talking about which ones went far and which ones stayed near. I had to do most of the rolling, though. Charlie's technique sends the cars sideways. You can see some examples of that if you look closely at the picture.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Please send me your e-mail address and Yumi will get the free activiation code to you. You can contact me at barnyardmama [at] gmail [dot] com.
I bet you'll have a lot of fun with it!
Monday, March 22, 2010
I'll use Charlie's Early Intervention services as an example.
When Charlie entered the program at four months of age, he needed a physical therapist, but there were none available so he was assigned an occupational therapist. His OT is a very nice woman, but she has a very full schedule and sometimes she runs late and sometimes she can't make it. I didn't complain about schedule shifts and always greeted her nicely and sometimes offered her a diet coke when she was over. Not major stuff, but nice stuff. I always stayed in the room during therapy and tried to be an active participant (except speech--I have to keep back a little or I try to talk for Charlie).
Our OT ended up calling a PT who was on maternity leave and got her to agree to take Charlie when she came back.
When our speech therapist wasn't working, our OT called up another one that only takes clients on referral and got her to take on Charlie--she's perfect for him.
Our OT brings us hand-me-down equipment when people donate it to her employer.
I treat the other therapists the same. I try to be accommodating--getting upset doesn't make them magically on-time nor does it prevent the occasional cancellation.
Our PT offered to add a second day with Charlie when I got fed up with the private place. She's also offered to attend doctors appointments with us.
When therapists can't make it, they try to reschedule.
Charlie's six month reviews have record attendance.
Our PT got pregnant again and had to assign some of her patients to a PT assistant--guess who she kept?
Charlie's cute, but he's not that cute. I really think that by trying to be accommodating, participating fully in the rehabilitation process, and treating everyone with respect I've gotten some the best treatment around.
As a teacher I know I bent over backwards for parents who called and chatted with me rather than yelled and berated.
With students, I got far better response by praising good deeds than yelling about bad. I could turn behavior around faster with a sweet voice as well. Don't underestimate your smile--it's a weapon.
Sometimes you have to get tough, but sugar can be an awfully good too.
Charlie playing my mom's piano. I know one of them is blurry, but he's using both hands! Had to share that.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
You've picked your subject, you've planned your time, you have your materials and now it's time to start teaching. Yay! Knowledge!
Before you do anything with your child, consider their "needs." In education, there's constant talk about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. There's a lot of depth to it, but one of the basic premises is that a person isn't going to learn well if they're hungry or tired, or have some other pressing need. So you need to think about these things with regards to your child. Don't try to teach them for the first time right before lunch or right after a vigorous PT session. I also think it's good to think about positioning. When we first started doing flashcards with Charlie, I had him look at them while lying flat on his back--that way he didn't have to worry about neck control, trunk control, etc.--he could focus all his energy on looking and listening.
It's also important to make this enjoyable. DON'T look at it as "if this doesn't work, my child is doomed." That's a recipe for disaster. Just tell yourself that this will be a fun experiment--if it doesn't work, you've lost very little. I have a silly congratulatory song that I sing when we finish a set of cards and Charlie loves it. Studies are finding that happiness can actually trigger the chemicals in the brain that aid in learning. My husband always tells Charlie how smart he is after a session. How great is that? We have activities that flop ALL THE TIME. I just keep pushing on and if it fails, then no harm done. I'll try something else next time.
You also need to keep it short. Flashcards should be shown at lightening speed. Every time someone sees me showing Charlie cards they say, "that is WAY too fast." You know what? they're wrong. I'm actually getting good at identifying this stuff and I have some of the worst memorization abilities of any person on the planet. Quick! quick! Little kids bore easily. Keep activities short too. You should have lots of repetition built into your week so no worries if things don't go perfectly.
As a final thought: remember what you're trying to teach. If you want your child to know that air planes fly in the sky, say that. It's not necessary that they use their arms to make a plane fly in the sky--that's a gross motor issue. They don't have to cut out the air plane shape--that's a fine motor issue. If they can do these things, then great! get them moving, but if they can't, that doesn't mean they can't learn.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
- Local library
- Craft stores
- Dollar store
- Second-hand store
- Your child's room--you'd be shocked all the junk they have in there
I also try to think of cheap day trips we could make. Obviously you could go to the zoo if you're studying animals, but some other topics might be tricky. Another great idea is to put in a key word like "train" plus the name of your town into your favorite search engine. That's how I found out there's a toy train museum in my area--who knew???
So go get your materials--up next, actually teaching your child.
Pictures of Charlie and the air plane mobile. His hair is still a little wet from his bath so please excuse the craziness.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
So, I downloaded it, and we've been playing with it.
I actually think it's a great program for exactly where we are right now--transitioning Charlie over from a simplistic communication device to a more complicated one. It has over 130 icons pre-loaded and they're sorted into categories. The icons they use are distinctive and Charlie is already starting to know how to tap the ones we're working on. In my opinion, the best part is that you can actually create your own icons if they don't have the ones you want.
There are two other really great things about this application. First is portability--you just can't beat a program that's sitting on your phone--I mean, you carry your phone around anyway. Now, Charlie and I can practice using augmentative communication while we're sitting in the waiting room of the pediatrician's office.
The second great thing is the appeal factor. I don't know about you guys, but getting Charlie to actually touch his last augmentative device was a trial. He didn't like the thing. My iPhone is the complete opposite--he thinks it's fascinating and will perform heroic feats to get his hands on it.
And then there's the price--at thirty dollars, it's hard to miss. Both of Charlie's previous devices cost more and when we move up to a full-blown system that will probably cost thousands of dollars.
The only drawback I can see is that you will need a certain amount of fine motor control to work the device. It's set up to need a nice, heavy hand to make selections, but you still need to be able to tap with one finger. I suspect Charlie could do it by himself--like I said, casual movements don't activate it, but right now I'm still helping him hold out one finger--I consider that good OT practice as well.
As far as I know, the application can be put on the new iPad that just came out, and having it on that large a screen would definitely make fine motor less of an issue.
My absolute favorite part about getting to try out this application is that I also get to give away a copy to one of you.
I'm not a big giveaway girl--I've got so much talking to do that it's hard for me to give up a day of posting to talk about something that's not on my heart, but this--I thought you guys would be interested.
So leave me a comment--tell me what you'd buy with the thirty bucks you'll save--a couple of lattes, a pedicure? I'll draw a name next Wednesday.
As my parting gift (snicker) I'll leave you with this video of Charlie and I practicing with the application. I'm switching screens and stuff but the voice activating is all Charlie. Please excuse me for finding this kind of funny. . .
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Here is Charlie doing a sorting activity using toy cars. This week we're on transportation, but this activity also helps review colors. I got the idea from a sensory activity from No Time for Flashcards, but adapted it for my purposes. I have no idea why he looks so spacey--must be the illness. Just a head cold, by the way.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
So, you decide on a topic. How do you decide? This is pretty easy. If you have a young child, look and see what topics are being covered by Elmo, Rachel Coleman, or even your local library. If your child is older, your state should have a list of standards for each grade level. The Common Core initiative actually has a list for every grade level in a variety of subject areas. I purused the Kindergarten list and got some ideas for things to do with Charlie.
Maybe you're still not sure. Here are a few questions to help you figure out what you want to teach your child:
- What are they already interested in?
- What types of things would you like them to know?
- What are typical kids doing?
So are you excited yet? Do you know exactly what you want to teach your child? If not, here are some suggestions for Units for young children. Please keep in mind, if your child isn't young physically, but is young mentally, then you might want to start with these things as well:
- Breakfast foods
- Barnyard animals
- Jungle animals
- Pond animals
- Animals around the house
- Ocean animals
- Transportation (we're starting this one tomorrow!)
- Action words
- Body parts
- Bed time
- Bath time
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
If you think you'd like to share ideas and tips with other parents on educating your special child then please become a fan of Bird on the Street--I hope to make the Facebook page a place where we can share and learn from each other.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
After that, it got easier. By far, he preferred kiddie-style rides with very bright and extreme visual images. Except for It's a Small World. Something about that particular ride put him to sleep every. single. time.