This weeks high’s and lows in which we discuss an awesome day, handwriting, and assumptions made about non-verbal children:
Awesome day today. I finally put together the new picture schedule of our day for Tremendo and everything flows nicely. Tremendo’s speech therapist is really happy with his involvement today. All of today’s transitions go perfectly.
True confession: I’m mostly proud that I stuck to the schedule! Part of my challenge with having children that require structure in order to understand the world around them is that I was not a very structured person. My day was guided by how I felt. If I felt like eating, I ate. I’d skip meals all the time. I’d sleep without regularity. Adding structure to my day was completely brought on by Tremendo’s temperament. That’s one way having kids helps with one’s personal development. In addition to more peaceful interactions with my children, structure allows me to also get the most out of my day.
Kamikaze and I do Math and finish it in 60 minutes. We also do Reading, Writing, Cursive, and Grammar. This may be the most productive Tuesday we’ve had since the summer ended.
He doesn’t know what an apple is…
Today is a hard day for me. Even though the kids’ therapists report having productive sessions, I feel a lot of angst over the suggestions made to me. Tremendo’s occupational therapist reports that he copied words on the chalkboard in between zips on the zipline. She comments on how neat his letters are. I ask which words and letters he copied and what hand he used. I do this because I like to keep my eye out for new skills that he may not be showing me in school time. When she tells me she asks if I have a chalkboard at home. When I tell her, yes, she tells me that I should use it with him. I told her that I use it often but that it’s only within the structure of school, he doesn’t seem to gravitate toward it of his own initiative. I’m dumbfounded. I’m wondering what kinds of assumptions she’s making at this point.
It is in large part through my instruction that he’s made it this far with writing. I’ve only been working on this since 2008! Does she think that because I’m a homeschooler I’m not providing a quality education? Honestly, what homeschooler who’s teaching their kids to write doesn’t have a chalkboard in the house??? (By the way I have one chalkboard easel, 2 lap boards, and 3 small slates.)
The other issue here is I know that I’ve specifically mentioned that we use Handwriting Without Tears (a well-known handwriting program created by an occupational therapist) to learn handwriting. A chalkboard is an integral part of the program.
Part of the reason I like to pursue private therapies for my children is that I have the expectation that since they don’t have as many clients as a public school setting, they can get to know my children and remember details about their education/case.
There is another incident in our conversation that irks me but I don’t want to spend too much time griping about this. It has to do with not taking a minute to review Tremendo’s case before planning out what she is going to do with him during their appointment. I wrote goals down two weeks ago at her suggestion in which I said that I would like her help with teaching him how to use utensils properly. I specified forks and knives because he knows how to use a spoon properly.
Last week she told me he ate well with a spoon. I thought she tried the spoon first so that she could see what he CAN do. However, she gives him a spoon today and reports that he did well with it again and makes suggestions about buying a weighted spoon with a lip that will keep the food on it once it has been scooped. I point out that we have no problem with spoons. The issue is with using a fork to stab the food in order to pick it up. She apologizes and says she will work with forks next time. The session ends with her suggesting I look into getting behavioral therapy for Tremendo through the school system and asking if I had a chance to contact Mass Advocates.
Sweet Coco’s therapist also makes some assumptions. She is working with him on his aversion to trying foods and tells me to attempt to serve the same food in different ways each time so that he can get over his food jags. When the session is over she tells me that she cut his apple in slices and he refused to try it. (He likes his apples whole, I suspect that it’s because they don’t turn brown as quickly.) She tells me that he “didn’t know what an apple was” once it was cut. She later asks me if he knows what a mirror is. Of course he knows what a mirror is, he loves them! Other things she says during that talk make me think that she too is not taking the time to review his situation before seeing him. This session would be the fourth time I tell her that he can’t have peanut butter because he gets a rash. The week before we had a five minute discussion on him not being able to eat nuts.
Have I been spoiled by my previous experiences with other therapists or is it time I give these ladies a lecture? I’m thinking lecture. Long term, I’m thinking that I should develop my own OT program and phase out paying for these therapies.
I spend the afternoon researching the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and making the visuals we need for a cat craft I have planned for next week. I also spend time on the Mass Advocates website. It appears that they focus on helping you write your IEP and having it enforced. I’m wondering if there is actually anything they can do for me given that I don’t have an IEP and have no intentions of getting one in the near future.
We have full school day that ends at 4:30pm. Sweet Coco’s sit down work takes about 45 minutes. Tremendo’s work takes about 2 hours and Kamikaze’s work takes about 3.5. Everyone gathers around the table to listen to me read Cats (Animals Animals) by Renée C. Rebman. Tremendo answers some questions about the book with the Rapid Prompting Method (RPM). It is a little difficult for him because the other kids are distracting him from listening for the correct answer.
After school is done the kids watch Toy Story 3 on DVD and love it.