OT 1:30am update
Well I slept too much today so now I'm awake. I have tons of pics to post to the blog, but for now just going to do my typical rambling 😉
The other day one of my little 3rd grade boys with autism walked in (on his toes, of course!) to the Learning Center and I said “Good to see you, my friend.” He said in his stilted voice “I really liked to hear that.” I thought that was so insanely cute. He was also very excited about an upcoming jog-a-thon, saying “I am going to run like Lightning McQueen.”
I had another 3rd grade boy with autism say “Miss Karen, let me read this to you.” He's hyperlexic. So I sat with him and he showed me what was on his iPad. He started to read it, and matter-of-factly was reading “blah blah overweight nudist blah blah lesbian wedding blah blah” I was like WHAT! It turns out it was a Seinfeld episode summary he had gotten off of Wikipedia. I was like “This isn't appropriate for school” but it was all I could do not to laugh. That same child loves to translate words into Spanish using Google Translator, and when he wants to do past-tense, he just adds an “ed” to the Spanish verb. Clever!
I did a duet poem with a 2nd grader with autism the other day from the book Joyful Noise. The poems in that book of duet poems are not really intended to be read by someone so young, as the vocabulary is advanced, but he is hyperlexic as well so had no trouble. I like using it because it forces the child to wait his turn and work with you at reading at the same pace at times (you each have a column you read at the same time – some times just you, sometimes just him, sometimes both of you). We took a little video of us doing it and he started by saying “My name is John Doe, and this is my trusty assistant Miss Karen, otherwise known as Miss Awesome” AHAHAHAHA I love it.
Someone asked me today what my favorite part of my job was. I thought about it for a second and decided it was when I showed a child they could do something they didn't know they could do, or they mastered a skill for the first time (like tying a shoe, or writing neatly). Really just seeing a big smile on my child's face is what I live for. And um, I love toys. AHAHAHAA
I took out ALL the toys from my car finally, including a bunch buried in my trunk, and re-organized them. I'm going to end up with a fine motor bag, visual motor bag, sensory motor bag, and seasonal bag, in my car. Because for example I just bought a ton of seasonal toys that I love, like the tower of bunnies, bunny spring-ups, etc etc. I want to post pics soon of all that stuff.
As a therapist who runs from school to school each day, I have to carry every thing I am going to use with me. I've done this a year now – literally my one year anniversary was this Saturday as a school OT – and I'm still trying to figure out the best way to organize myself so I don't get so loaded down. I've also been more in a toy mode lately, especially as we get close to spring break, but we're still certainly working on goal areas! One thing that frustrates me with organization is that a lot of things that are fine motor are also visual motor, etc, so having separate bags isn't that easy.
I'm slowly starting to catch up with work, although I have a long way to go in some arenas. Good thing break is coming up soon, I can try to catch up a little, although I have a friend coming into town for most of it! I just thought to myself I should go see Grandma over break, and then remembered she is gone now. 🙁 That makes me sad.
My friend who came over tonight to provide moral support while I organized toys, is a great artist/creater, so we got out Sharpies and decorated a bunch of plastic Easter Eggs. It started when I realized some of my easter eggs had little holes in top, so I stuck toothpicks in them, but they wouldn't go all the way through and looked like antenneas. So I decided to put an alien face on it. We ended up decorating a bunch either with patterns the child would have to match up, or just silly stuff. I am going to make a laminated checklist (maybe a normal piece of paper in a sheet protector), and have a brief description of each egg, ie blue jumbo egg, and have the child come check off each egg as they find them…….another good one is to write words in each egg and then they have to write the word, or a sentence, etc. Or write an action and when they find it they have to do what it says such as 10 jumping jacks. So many ways to use plastic easter eggs for handwriting, visual motor, hot/cold game, lefts/rights directionality, etc etc……I guess speech therapists could do the directionality up/below etc too!
I bought some like seventy cent putty “knives” and scrapers at the hardware store recently….the kids are way more into play-doh when they have actual grown-up “tools” to use with it.
I was working with a Hispanic little girl who had an accented I in her name, but didn't like it, and would just do a normal i instead. Mom reported this to me and I was like hmmm. I had an angry bird on my keychain the little kids were looking at, and the diagonal eyebrows gave me an idea. I told her that she had an “angry I” in her name just like the angry birds….and then all the kids around her wanted to show me how they could draw an angry i. So now she is okay with using her angry i in her name most of the time, and she notices when other kids have an “angry” letter too. I love it 🙂 So many kids just need a little gimmick and then it's fine.
I realized a few hours ago I could maybe use Jenga blocks to make little angry bird structures….now just need to get an angry bird to throw at them…..I could maybe draw an angry bird on an Easter egg and weight it with fishing weights or something, I dunno. The slingshot part is the hard part. I know they have games you can buy but I already spend a ton of my own money on toys, am trying to think of ways to do it for free with what I have. 🙂
The other day I did a lesson on flexibility for my self-regulation seminar with four little guys. I thought about it for quite a while. I did several things. For one thing, I showed them how a hard rigid tree can fall over in a storm, but a flexible tree sways in the storm and survives. I had them stand and be rigid or sway as I gently (Very gently) pushed against them so they could see what happened. Then I had brought a bunch of different objects such as an orange, a sock, etc. We talked about how an orange could be a ball, it could be eaten, maybe it could be used in a game, etc etc….and that a sock could be a mitten or a stocking etc. One of the items I grabbed on a whim was a stuffed snail I had gotten in Colombia that was beautifully colored and how it too could be several things. At the end of the lesson, I asked the kids what they had learned. One kid said “I learned about a snail” and all the other kids agreed. The snail was apparently their favorite part. I was like……wow. Awesome. So glad my lesson on flexibility boiled down to liking my snail. AHAHAHAAHA. I clarified the lesson, but it reminded me I should weave more concreteness throughout the lesson as to what we are specifically trying to understand. I tend to be quite verbal (and I speak fast) so it's not exactly ideal for little dudes with autism. I'm also very aware of the children's need for structure so we begin and end the same way and I tell them the schedule of our seminar in advance, ie first this, then that, etc. However, I'm not a teacher in the classic sense of the word and tend not to use typical teaching strategies. An aide was telling me after the seminar how she liked my style and I was like ??? and she explained that when I was handing out hair things (as one of the items that had many uses), I basically slung-shot/threw one to each kid, instead of being like “Okay, each of you stand up in a line and come get one thing from me.” I wouldn't have even thought of that. Not very teacher-l
ike I guess. The aide said she thought it was good for them to get a different experience where they did get a little more freedom/wackiness. I dunno. In some ways I think I need to work on talking more slowly, being more strict, etc. And then in other ways I think she is right and it's good for them to see different styles with slightly less structure….who knows!! I do know as a general rule I am super lenient with things like having to walk single file in line. I see the point when there is like 30 kids, but if there is only like four…..why does it matter that much?
The things I ponder to myself at 2am. Learning out loud, right?
AOTA conference is coming up, and deadlines are looming for our social media presentation. I need to get crack-a-lacking on that ASAP along with taxes, NBCOT renewal, etc…no biggie…NOT. Yikes. Today I was only semi-productive, mostly rested….my toys are about completed though. Tomorrow is paperwork day!!!! Bleh…
Ok I guess I am going to try to go to bed now that I've de-cluttered my brain into my blog. Hopefully I'll also upload a bunch of pics tomorrow to the bloggie.
BTW I wrote to Abilitations to submit ideas, but never heard back from the person who is supposed to send me the forms etc. Does it sometimes take a while to hear back??