Thursday, March 18, 2010

Occupational therapy and sensory stuff

Aidan gets to see the occupational therapist once a month now. Kind of sucks since he was going to do 4 times a month, but since his issues aren't "severe" then it'll be ok.
He has been doing a bit better but is still not able to sit well without some form of support. When he sits in a chair he usually leans his back against it, when he sits in my lap-he uses me for support. When sitting on the floor he either "w" sits or uses hands for support. And so on. But he has learned 'criss cross applesauce' and 'big boy legs' and will immediately go to indian style sitting and does fairly well with that, although his knees are a tad high for extra support.

His occupational therapist gave us a "brush" to use on him for "brushing" to help with a few sensory issues--mainly the biting he is doing. This is used as a calming technique and I can do it with all 3 kids. And they all love it! Our oldest, Alex, does have a few very mild sensory issues, I have always known that, but it isn't something that really interferes with life so it's never been a big deal to us. She actually told me that she thinks I most likely have some as well--due to the fact that I do not like to eat many meats--like steak and chicken(and anything chewy). Who knows if she is on base or not, but I wouldn't be surprised. So we are trying that out and it is going fairly well.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The school situation

We have recently found out that Aidan will be in a self contained classroom for preschool this upcoming school year(Fall 2010). I have my concerns-mainly being that he will be in a class with only nonverbal/speech delayed children, whether it be children with autism, down syndrome, or a severe speech delay(like Aidan). I know the teachers at this school are wonderful as my oldest goes to the same school but is in the 4 yr old preschool program and in a regular class. But since he will only be with other children classified as special needs, I'm worried that he will not have any children to be a peer model for him, with regards to language. I know he would learn from teh teachers, but kids learn so much from other children and he may not have that. Of course, this concern is not fully validated b/c I do not know what kind of children will be in there next year. There very well could be children that will provide a good learning environment for him. I teeter back and forth on whether he should even be in a class with cognitively delayed children. Not that that is a big deal, but he is severely speech delayed, my goal is to have him hopefully caught up by kindergarten, and I really need to focus on him being around good language models, as well as behavior models. Aidan imitates behavior very easily-whether good or bad, so I also do not want him acting out even more as he already has a tendency to be a "bully" b/c of the lack of language.

We are having our transition meeting on the 15th and we will meet a few people and they will get to meet Aidan. After that I am going to ask if we can observe the classroom so we can actually see what goes on in the class and if this will be where we want him. I am also going to ask(or beg!) them to let us bring Aidan in to see how well he interacts with the other children. I can watch the other children alone and form and opinion, but I think seeing him in that environment will really help us decide on this. If it seems like it will work out, that's awesome! And it will truly lift a weight off my shoulders.
But if it doesn't, I really do not know what we will do. There is the possibility, albeit a slim one, that we may be able to get the school system to pay for him to attend another local preschool--montessori program or the church preschool, that would be with neurotypical children instead of a specialized "special needs class." That is a very slim chance of that happening though. I'd like to be able to get him into the Montesssori program or even the local university's learning center but there is no way we can swing the tuition. I know one of the church preschools is aorund 350$, not sure about montessori, but there is no way. We do not have any disposable income right now and won't until our bills are paid off---we can't add several thousand more dollars of debt, not possible. So, fingers are crossed that maybe the school will pay for this(if needed of course!) or maybe there is a grant out there that could help cover it. We will hopefully find out more in a few more months.

Oh and one other thing--Aidan had his eyes check--and he is farsighted, he will more than likely have glasses by the end of the summer. Also, when I took Alex and Andrew for their eye checkups a few days ago, I was told they were also farsighted but had perfect 20/20 vision. But she told me that Aidan was farsighted and did NOT have perfect 20/20 vision. Now, I'm not 100% sure what this means, but I know it means he will need glasses for the farsightedness, but also probably will need them as well for the non perfect vision, so maybe he will end up being nearsighted? I'll find out in 4 mths when we go for his next checkup.


So glad we are heading into Spring! We have some beautiful weather, although a bit rainy, but the kids are loving being able to get outside more and it gives more opportunities for some more informal speech opportunities.

What we have been working on:
-Aidan has learned most of the basic shapes-triangle, oval, circle, square, star, heart, and rectangle. Have started more complicated shapes--although not very much as we really need to get a puzzle with these shapes--he loves doing his puzzles!
-Numbers-he is understanding the concept of numbers and will count out all kinds of things. Most of the time he can recognize the numbers 1-5 and they do not have to be in order, so it isn't just from memorizing that it is 1, 2, 3, 4 and then 5. I think he also knows a few others up to 10, but it is inconsistent. He will repeat any number after I say it, still doesn't say it clearly, but once he gets more consonants, I think that will really help with others understanding him.
-Colors--we are working on teaching colors and he knows the different names of the colors and can match correctly 2-3 of them. Sometimes he can do 6 , sometimes not.
-Letters-He knows several letters--I know that he knows at least 10-15, but he usually gets bored by the time we get through about 12-15 of them so it is hard to guage if he knows more or not.
-Possession--we are working on this. We've been focusing hard on this--for example "this is Aidan's shoe, this is mommy's shoe" and other similar things. He seems to have this down fairly well and we are now adding in "yours and mine" I think he has "mine" down he just forgets to use it :)
-Adjectives--we have been working on this for a while, but he seems to have trouble with this. Big, little, short, tall, etc. ALthough I do forget to work on this quite often, so he may pick it up if I put some intense focus on it for the next 2-3 weeks. I am rushing to catch him up. I know where other kids his age are, I know what he is lacking so I am in a big rush to get him closing that gap as quickly as possible. And in that rush I forget to some of the simpler things---for example--big and small, yet he is learning numbers, letters, and some colors. We will get there :)

-Some things we are focusing on right now--more complex tasks-usually we are doing single instructions-"feed the cow" when playing with farm animals. Now we are moving on to "give the apple to the cow" It's hard for him b/c he does tend to focus on the last word that was said, so we really need to work on his auditory memory. We are also starting to work on "yes/no" questions--for example, when looking at a book, asking him "is the cow wearing a hat?" "no he isn't wearing a hat" and then "is the horse wearing a hat?" "Yes the horse is wearing a hat" and similar things. I figured "yes/no" questions meant getting him to answer yes to things he wants, which in a way, it can, but it also gets him thinking further.

It's hard to know where he is regarding "thinking" as his expressive language is very simple, so he can't tell me about his day, what he had for lunch, where he would like to go, what he would like to eat, etc so we are working on getting him to express everything. I have the habit of getting him what he needs without him having to ask, so my task is to make it harder for him to get what he wants/needs, force him to ask for it. And I know this, but mommy mode comes into play and I forget/it makes my life easier to do it, so that's what I stick with. Working on breaking that habit though!

His attitude---most people don't realize how difficult Aidan can be, besides Edward and I, as well as my sister, Katie. He is usually shy around other people or much calmer. However he is starting to show his true self to his speech therapist, which can be challenging at times as he is usually such a people pleaser whereas right now, he could care less! Aidan is incredibly strong willed, which can be extremely frusturating, but I do know it will be good when he is older. It has taken me quite a while to learn how to "manage" him. At times I feel he is running the house with his temperament, but I am trying to get into the mindset that he isn't running the house, "I am just giving him what he needs to grow the way he needs to." Doesn't make it easier most times, but it helps me not lose patience with him. He must do everything himself, if you do something a particular way that he doesn't like, he will have a massive fit, so I've often felt like I've catered to him to avoid those tantrums, but the last week or so, I've been careful to "keep him happy" for the most part, and you know what? He has been a lot happier, he is just a child that needs that kind of control, and I think that's ok. I of course do not let him get his way all the time--there are definitely limits with regards to safety(running in the parking lot!), but more often than not, I've been asking myself "why am I saying no?" and if there isn't a good answer, then I do not fight his need for that control.