My student

My student

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Something tells me it's all happening at the zoo...

Chad took the day before the strollathon off last month and we took Lu to the zoo for the first time. It was fun, in spite of the temperature being over 90 degrees! While we were eating lunch, about halfway through the zoo, we asked Lu what had been her favorite animal so far and she said, "gorilla" with her Tobii.  I don't remember for sure, but I probably ordered a zillion gorilla books on the public library site that very night in our hotel room to be delivered to our library to encourage her interest. She also left the zoo with an adorable stuffed gorilla that she chose in the gift shop. (Together we named him Kerchek from Tarzan, I made suggestions and she liked Kercheck.)

So, we saved some little things from our zoo trip like the map and the wooden tag from Kercheck, and the following week we talked about what we remembered from the zoo. I went to her animal pages and asked her if she could tell me some animals that she remembered seeing. Of course she said gorilla, then she also said lion, tiger, kangaroo, and seahorse, which we did see all of those! But she also said lobster and one other one that I can't remember, but we didn't see either of those I reminded her. I told her I'd check with her Daddy to make sure they didn't see a lobster while I was in the restroom (they didn't). So, we used the map to cut out pictures of the animals we had seen, and added a few that Lu hadn't mentioned, but she chose to include because we did see them, and then we gathered up some extra collage making supplies. 

Lucy has special adapted scissors that we are borrowing from the intermediate unit:

So she is able to use these for working all kinds of projects, including collages. It is hard for her, but good practice for trying to be in control of her own body.  We use a soft arm brace on the arm not using the scissors to help improve her control. We have done collages in the past where Lu has done all of the cutting, but this time, I wanted her to be more in charge of placement of the pictures and embellishments. So, I went to her PODD on her Tobii and we found the position words and Lu was able to choose where on the paper she wanted to put everything.  Below is a picture of the finished collage. Afterward I added all of the words she had chosen to use during the activity so she could see them and remember what they looked like and where they were.

So, while we created this collage, it was not a quiz. I did not point to the top and ask her what part of the picture this was. I just waited until she chose a position word and then we talked about where to place it in that area and reiterated that it wa the top, bottom, middle, etc. At one point, we were trying to decide where to put the red panda and Lu wasn't choosing any position words, so I was just asking her yes and no for where there were spaces opened. She chose yes for where the panda is placed above and as I was helping her paste it on, she then said, "bottom" with her Tobii. So, I didn't even have to "quiz" her to know what she was learning, without any pressure, and just teaching instead, Lu willingly shared with me what she knows. 

We did this project over two days. We took our time, and made it enjoyable, and she liked it. I used other opportunities just in our daily routine to review the different position words also. For example, after her shower each night I use the boogie sucker on her nose (top), wipe dry her feeding tube and put a pad around it (middle), and get her diaper on (bottom). When she is practicing walking, we always refer to her feet as "lefty" and "righty" as we encourage them to take their turns at stepping.  

Since apraxia makes every single body movement difficult for Lu, giving her time, minimal pressure, and lots of natural and relaxed learning opportunities seems to lead us to successful lessons. I feel pretty confident, most of the time, that I am doing an okay job at educating her. I just always try to remind myself, "she is only four, don't rush, don't panic, take your time."