Both Marcus (Noah’s speech therapist) and I have noticed Noah being a lot more verbal lately. It’s exciting, and yet I hold my breath because I know that this could just be another phase that will fade away rather than prove to be a new pattern in his speech progress. He’s been willing to mimic back attempts at almost any word I prompt him with (as long as he is in the “mood”).
The other night he did something, though, that I consider quite a breakthrough. He was lying in bed as I was tucking him in, and he said an unintelligible word with a lot of energy. When I didn’t understand and started rattling off a list of words that I thought he might be trying to say, he said no to all of them. But whatever it was he wanted, he really, really wanted. He even grabbed his mouth to try to force the shape of his lips to help him say the word. I still couldn’t decipher it, and Noah gave a frustrated sigh that I could tell was an inward disappointment that he couldn’t say the word. He tried SOOOOO hard!!!! Finally, even though I’m always so relieved to get everyone one in bed, I let him out of bed to show me what it was he wanted. He wanted the phone so he could say goodnight to his Daddy who is at our new house tonight trying to get it ready for move in. I dialed for him and he had quite a conversation (mostly made up of “Daddy” and “yeah.”)
So, of course, it’s great that he initiated speaking with both his father and me, but what was really different was the pressure he was putting on himself to say the word “phone” and the energy he put into it.
Noah has proven he can do most anything he really, really wants to do. And as hard as he works at speech, I’m never sure just how much he wants to talk because he finds so many other ways to communicate, and speech takes such a HUGE effort on his part. So many times he tries to say a word and then gives up after one or two attempts, usually frustrated with me because I’m trying to make him do something he really doesn’t care to do once he realizes how difficult it is. The other night he wanted to do it more than he wanted to give up.
I really want to help Noah’s attempts at speech be succesful. i think if we can channel his attempts in such a way that they end up feeling successful to him, this kind of effort and persistence on his part will continue; but if they end in his perceived failure, he will stop trying. Oy. So difficult because my courageous hero gets very frustrated with me when I say “Good job” too enthusiastically. I hate to say it, but I think he really doesn’t like feeling like his efforts are a result of being manipulated by his mother.
(No pun intended.)
Last week Bella (5), Seth (3) and Noah (6-Down syndrome) all started homeschool Kindergarten. This is year two of kindergarten for Noah, and I’m happy to report academically he is much more ready for typical kindergarten work than he was at this time last year.
We’ve decided to try Weaver Interlock for our curriculum. It’s designed for preschoolers and kindergarteners; directions are given for modifying activities up or down depending on your child’s readiness. How perfect is that for our family! Even more perfect is the fact that I picked this rather pricey curriculum up for $2 at the thrift store several years ago. Let’s hear it for homeschoolers who believe in passing along their used curriculum!!! (And actually, I don’t believe this was even used – it looked brand new when I bought it.)
So last week was a busy week, but we had a blast. Triangles were one of the things we learned about, and on day 1 of triangles, we made these cute little fellows:
I predicted this would be a busy work craft with little value, but I was wrong. The kids were very focused on these triangles once they had their eyes stuck on and listened attentively as I pointed out the three sides, points and angles.
This was a quick craft. One thing I learned at AWANAS last year was that there is no shame in pre-cutting and prepping projects for children. If the point of a craft is more important than the skills practiced from start to finish, go ahead and do some of the work yourself before hand. I had already cut the triangles before the craft, so all my little ones did was glue on the stick and the eyes. Nobody lost interest, and I didn’t lose my mind. That’s the mark of a successful activity around here.
I am liking the Interlock curriculum, but I am surprised by how thorough the lesson plans are. As I glanced over it in preparation, I thought we’d whiz through the different activities in 15 minutes. So I was having a great time on Pinterest looking for ways to supplement the material. Turns out I’m going to have to find another excuse for stalking Pinterest.
Hmmmmm. I’ve picked up machine embroidery again – now that would be a fun Pinterest board search!
You know that fantastic special needs Mommy (or Daddy) and Me gymnastics class I’ve mentioned from time to time? Well, today I get to do more than just mention it to you. And actually, come to think of it, there are a LOT of daddies that attend this class. The dynamic Miss Suzi Ziegenbein, the gymnastics coach at the Dripping Springs YMCA, has given me the go ahead to invite your child with special needs to her class.
This session goes from Wednesday, September 4th through Wednesday, December 18th. Class space is limited, so get your form and payment if required in to the DSYMCA today! If you are already an Austin-area YMCA member, the class is absolutely free; otherwise you’ll pay a 15-dollar registration fee to enter the system.
Noah (6-Down syndrome) and I have done this class now for two or three semesters, and we have had such fun! Noah is swinging from rings, ropes and bars; jumping from obstacle to obstacle; log rolling; army crawling; jumping on the trampoline, and working on forward and backward rolls. Miss Suzi also has him skipping, galloping, stomping bubbles, and running. The classes move along so smoothly and are so much fun, the kiddos don’t even realize they are working. Each child is encouraged to progress through the weekly course at his own ability level and speed. We are also blessed to have Noah’s (and my) very favorite physical therapist for all times, the amazing Miss Laurie, attend these classes. She not only has a keen eye on how to maximize the workout for each specific kiddo, but she’s got a real knack for knowing just how to motivate these kids to keep them going. If your child has a special need (physical, social or cognitive) that would make attending a typical gymnastics class challenging, this might be just the class for you. Many thanks to Miss Suzi, her daughter Kaleigh, Miss Laurie, the Dripping Springs YMCA and Family Connections Center for making this opportunity available to our children.
A link to the registration and medical release form is below.
Special Needs Gymnastics Class Reg. form Fall 2013