On Friday, I took the day off of work, and it was all about my Jelly Bean!
First, I went to therapy with her in the morning. We’re only going once a week now, and our home program has been less than stellar. If we’re going to be successful, touching base only once a week, then the bulk of the therapy has to happen at home. Rob and I are willing, but I needed updated information, so we could make a new schedule. Luckily, Beanie’s therapists were more than happy to help. Here is what we came up with:
Speech: Beanie’s ST uses the “Play Project,” which is primarily for children on the autism spectrum. Beanie definitely is not, but she does have some of the same needs as children on the spectrum. The Play Project has specific strategies for teaching language through play. I play with Beanie anyway, so adding these strategies to our play sessions will be relatively easy to do.
Occupational Therapy: The Bean is not seeking very much specific sensory input, but now we need to work with her on getting her sensory systems to work together. To do that, we need to combine activities. We can bounce or wiggle her in the swing, have her spin and jump, etc. For fine motor activities, the Bean has been writing her letters. We need to make sure she is forming them correctly, so that she doesn’t have to unlearn anything later. We also need to work on following directions and getting Beanie to do some non-preferred activities, since non-preferred activities are, sadly, a fact of life for all of us. Doing an obstacle course is a great way to do this.
Physical Therapy: Miss Bean has gotten much stronger! We need to get a new exercise ball, so we can do activities with her sitting on the of it. We can also have her sit on our laps, facing us, and do things to get her to twist around, as well as balance activities. She needs to practice bending over to pick things up, instead of sitting down. And, of course, sometimes she needs to be reminded to walk on her heels, rather than the balls of her feet. Hopping and jumping are other things she needs to practice (and enjoys practicing).
So, this week Rob and I are coming up with a schedule for our home program.
In the afternoon, I went to Beanie’s parent/teacher conference and met with both of her teachers, as well as the teaching assistant. Everyone was quite happy with her progress, and they think she will be reading before kindergarten (we plan to do another year of preschool though). The Bean does great when the subject matter interests her (letters, numbers, shapes, and animals), but she likes to get up and walk away when it is not something she’s into. So, again, she’s working on doing non-preferred activities.
Eating was also an area of concern. At the beginning of the year, the Bean would stuff her mouth full of food and spit it out. They made a sign that says “wait,” to remind her to wait before taking another bite. The Bean knows the routine and reminds her teachers to wait as well! However, she stuffs the food in her cheeks while she waits. Her school OT thinks that she doesn’t understand the steps involved in eating: take a bite, chew, and swallow. Her special ed teacher is going to make her a visual to remind her, and we’ll use it at home too.
So that is an update. We’re very proud of the Bean, and she’s doing a great job!