A Wunderful Week – January 16, 2011

We are enjoying a relatively mild weather so we’ve been able to spend more time at parks and outdoors than we normally would in the middle of January.  We had a full week of school as well as sessions with both their speech and occupational therapists.  I had the opportunity to go to spend a morning in school with the boys and also, attend both therapy sessions.  Our highlights and ‘opportunities’ for the week:

Park Play: We split the twins up for a bit and took them to the park a few minutes separate from each other.  One of our boys started playing with an older boy at the park.  We were impressed that he was listening and responding correctly to the boy’s questions – engaging in conversation and playing games ‘outside of the norm.’  I got to the park towards the tailend of the encounter but it was obvious that the two boys were having fun and it was neat to see the boys running and laughing, toys being shared, turns being taken, and a proud mom watching it all.  Quite an accomplishment!

"Why don't you go first?"

Transitions:  This is our area of opportunity for the week.    One of our twins struggled this week with certain transitions – play time to bath time (well – what kid doesn’t really?), play time to dinner time, leaving one area for another, etc.   In particularly tougher situations,  my wife used simple ‘story boards’ for the boys.  For example, at church we have our daughter draw out pictures in order of what the program will be.  When we move from one step to another, she crosses it out and explains to the boys what’s coming next.  This has helped our church mtgs go exponentially smoother versus a few months ago.  We did this prior to our trip to HI, using pictures from the net and a powerpoint to help the kids understand what would go on between our house and arriving in Hawaii and it seemed to help then as well.

The boys are usually good with certain transitions as long as we give them enough prep time, “Boys – bath time in 5 minutes” is usually a sufficient warning. . . . but some of the normal ones were struggles this week. Our focus for the week is to keep the prep time warnings clearer on the ‘tougher’ transitions and as needed, implement a story board for the situation.

Hanging out at the Bounce House

Phrase of the Week: I have no idea where they got this but both boys are using, “it’s not a pretty picture.”  Twin B used it as follows, “we went to the beach and I fell in the water.  I was sad – not a pretty picture.”  Hilarious

Tip of the Week: Wow, I came out of the therapy sessions with a TON of ideas – the boys really have great teachers and specialists working with them.  This week’s tip is the ‘picture clock’ shown below.

The boys would use a pointer and go both clockwise and counterclockwise around the clock pointing and naming each item.  The concept behind the wheel isn’t a vocabulary building lessons, rather it’s for eye coordination.  One of the skills that children need to develop is the ability to focus on an object.  Many children, autistic children included, have trouble remaining ‘in focus’ on objects.

Twin A working on the Picture Wheel

What the instructor is looking for is if the child will focus on the item being pointed on and after completing that item, visually move to the next item without their eyes wandering.   Many children tend to look at an item, but their eyes wander around and they lose focus either in the transition from one item to the next or even while staring at the original item.

The goal is to get your child to go clockwise and counter clockwise around the board while maintaining visual focus.  Following that, then it’s a “can you point to the truck” type of exercise, picking random pictures from around the clock  to further develop eye coordination.  Their instructor used the phrase “where the eyes go, the attention goes as well.”  The wheel, in it’s purest form, is to help kids tune out other things around them and both visually and mentally, focus on things at hand.  Boy, I could use this exercise.  🙂

I’m planning on making our own Picture Wheel using Cars, Thomas the Train, and Kung Fu Panda stickers / drawings with the boys.  Have a great week and thank you for visiting.

  1. Colleen Wunder said:

    I just love the sharing of experiences and what you learned and observed from it. I love the tips of the week. I think it will be so helpful to others. You provide many easy, creative and fun ideas others can implement in their homes!

  2. Angela said:

    The great thing about these techniques is that they can be used with all children. All children have tantrums, difficulties with transitions, etc. I have used these techniques for years. It doesn’t matter what ability level or label a child may or may not have. Children only need to have the adults around them create an environment that will help them learn appropriate behaviors and the best teachers are parents. Just wish more parents knew that.

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