Finger Puppets – Try tackling this tuesday

Try This Tuesday

With the festive season over, you may find like me, that your home has been transformed into Santa’s Grotto, toys strewn over every available surface. If that is the case, then it might see a little odd to create yet more mayhem, but occasionally it is sometimes best to admit defeat and go with the flow.

You will need:-
Felt squares
Glue
Sharpie Permanent pens
A picture from your offspring
The temporary loan of your offspring’s finger

Examine the creature that your child has drawn to determine which, if any, are the most important features.

Match the colours as best you may.

Draw around your child’s finger tip splayed on a firm surface to ensure a good fit.

Allow space for 3-D and seam.

Once completed and the glue has dried your child now has a custom made introduction to the Thumb Wrestling Federation.

I kid you not.

This project was for one of my sons, that one who does not suffer from tactile defensiveness. Generally speaking, crafts of any kind do not interest either of them. In this particular instance, he was motivated by the “Thumb Wrestling Federation.” He came up with this idea all by himself. He was so motivated that after a few initial outburst of frustration he understood that his describing words were not up to the task, hence, oh wonder of wonders, he was persuaded to draw and colour the image rattling around in his head. This project required several gallons of patience because I knew that his drawing wasn’t an exact match to what he envisioned. Perfection is king around here and hence he was able to verbally correct my errors, bigger, smaller, longer and so on.

All in all, he was satisfied with the results.

On completion he was ready, willing and able to commence “thumb wrestling.” Whilst this might seem a little aggressive, for people with poor hand strength, weak finger isolation and poor motor control, I suspect we need not be overly worried. More importantly, this is a perfectly pleasant way of personal and intimate interaction. Who would have thought that he’d come up with his own social skills exercise. Yippee!


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Tackle it Tuesday – Try it Tuesday – a gallery of awards

Try This Tuesday
You have nothing to lose by going green

***

Everyone needs a pat on the back sometimes. As the nights draw in and the schedule comes under pressure, it can be hard for children to stay on track. This is where motivation is key. We all respond well to praise, recognition and rewards and this is a way of helping our children realize that we not only notice their efforts but we appreciate how hard they're trying.

First it's important to narrowly taylor your reward to your particular child. For example, many struggle with homework. It may be that you want to award them for completing their homework in a timely manner over a period of time, such as a week or a month. However, that may be setting the bar too high. Maybe an award for their best efforts is more appropriate or perhaps an award for remaining calm and having a better attitude towards homework time.

The awards can be configured to fit your family, different ages abilities and talents. The most important element is that each child should be able to achieve a realistic goal, otherwise the whole exercise will bring further disappointment and discouragement.

Once you have narrowed down who will be rewarded for what, it is then time to make the awards. It may be that you can encourage your children to take part in the creative process so that they are more involved if they participate positively. Hopefully, making the awards will provide a crafty play time for at least one of your children on a rainy afternoon and perhaps a little one on one time.

Currently, everyone is strapped for cash and some of us are trying to 'go green' at the same time. Whilst it would be fun to see if we can create our own green backs and get away with it, it is probably safer to stick to materials that we already have in our possession.

Under no circumstances should you go out and buy anything new, instead troll through the piles of broken toys and tat that you already have piled up in every corner of your home, or maybe that's just us? You may, however, buy additional supplies of glue.

Assemble your creations and add a blob of Velcro to the back. Aim for lightness so that they will be able to remain in place in a vertical position. Attatch the opposite Velcro blob to a sheet of poster board and arrange your awards. Fix the awards board to a wall in a prominent position at a child's eye level.

The beauty of this project is that you can include private family jokes that mean nothing to the population in general but will tap into your own child's perspective adding an extra layer of insight. For instance one of my sons is very keen on drawing Y-fronts on his figures. No matter what he draws there is always someone lurking in the picture sporting a pair of Y fronts.

Hence:-

I do hope you get the chance to try this one out and reap the rewards yourself!

Cheers dears

Backstory

It is difficult for a parent to actively treat children differently in some situations. For example, when a child has achieved a new goal it is natural to praise them, you can't help yourself. However, some children react negatively to praise. Some children are so enraged when they receive praise that they destroy the object that they created.

The reasons for such a reaction are complex. Some people, myself included, find it very difficult to button a lip and not praise the achievement, especially when the praise flows to the other children. Such differential treatment seems absurd. I would note that this is not the sometimes fatuous praise, a general touchy feely, no content kind of praise, but a specific identifiable praise in the nature of 'you did a great job with that straight line,' 'I really like the colours you chose,' 'his expression is really funny.' Since positive words provoke a meltdown, I've learned to curb my words, remain silent and bite my lip. I could expound at length but I have yet to find someone with similar experiences.

Your award ceremony can be as elaborate or as simple as you choose. For us, the weekend is the best because I am better able to pick a time when they are more receptive.

Involvement and active participation is key but also difficult to engineer. We need a time where there is nothing else more interesting competing for their attention so that they are better able to engage in the here and now. Joint attention to one communal activity is more likely to be successful when other needs are met, other distractions have been eliminated and there are no other impending interruptions waiting in the wings to derail their attention span.

As with all things around here, this project has been brewing for a long time and was broken into small steps. Preparation in advance was primarily concentrated on 'this is what will be happening in the future / this will be fun.' Some children take longer to adjust to new concepts, they cannot be hurried or harried, they need time to adjust. The 'gallery' transition was in the summer. The awards appeared over two months ago. The 'ceremony' was a last week.

Scatological jokes are always appreciated.

Once the awards were made, we placed them in a prominent position for a couple of weeks, discussed, examined and handled them until they became more familiar. We would admire their gallery of pictures and debate which award seemed most appropriate to which drawing. This was in part to gauge their own expectations to see if they had already decided which picture matched which award. By being better able to match their expectations it became more likely that we would able to pick the correct award for the right picture during the 'ceremony.'

This helps address another on going hurdle, the issue of choice. Without getting buried in the details, every positive choice necessarily means a lost opportunity, if you choose one, you lose the other[s]. Choice therefore induces stress and anxiety. It is one manifestation of OCD and perseverance over missed opportunities. Or, to put it another way, the pleasure of one positive choice is wiped out by the stress induced by all the ones that you have not chosen which might be better. Hence an extended exposure to the new thing, makes it less new, less valued and therefore sometimes easier to choose as the 'cost' of making a mistake is lessened. The trick it to time the exposure so that the new thing does not become so familiar that it merely blends in with the wallpaper and has no value at all.

Of course some other children would experience a long period of exposure as more anxiety inducing, longer to agonize over, longer to perseverate upon, as there is usually an equal or opposite effect with any one issue.

Since words can still be a little hit or miss, physical involvement, eye tracking and the kinesthetic connection helped reduce stress, increase their personal investment and advance them to a point where it was possible to try out the ceremony. For our children, we kept this as low key as possible because around here, quite often, actions speak louder than words.

What, if anything, might this mean? For me, this gives me some perspective.

When my children were first diagnosed, the kindly experts told me that they were unable to give me an accurate prognosis for the boys' future. Being of a fundamentally pessimistic nature, I took this to mean that the future was dire. Being of a fundamentally contrary nature, I also set out to prove them wrong. As a direct result, I have actually inadvertently proved that they were right.

I should have listened to my pal, “It’s all Okay,” not “look through a glass darkly.” Suffice to say that this is a tremendous leap forward.

Get the code:-
Cut and paste
from this little
boxy thing below

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Best shot Monday / Manic Monday Pride

Please scroll down for Magic Marker Monday

Hosted by “Tracy” at “Mother May I,” but the photo-picture below will whizz you right there with one click.

Just call me snap happy.

red BSM Button

Darts! Experience success!

Although I take a great many snaps, I can use very few of them, because my children are rarely dressed appropriately.

The skill of dressing, is an art form.

When a toddler first manages to dress themselve's independently, parents rejoice in their success. Pride in achievement doesn't seem a sin but something to celebrate. It is a huge step to master snap fasteners, zips and laces. All of those tasks are too difficult, textures are aversive, fine motor skills are poor, weak and unpracticed, and anyway you'd prefer to avoid the whole clothing issue entirely. Despite all this, there comes a time of realization to that child:- the things that other children, littler children achieve without effort, are way beyond their own reach. When this notion takes hold of a youthful mind, many begin to lose their sense of self worth. A child as young as 5 or even 3, may suffer depression. Unlikely as it may seem, sadly, it is true.

This is where tiny huge incidents of success may help address the imbalance. Small experiences of positive feedback can help re-build their fractured self esteem. A sense of pride in a task completed, becomes a tantalizing goal. It can't be faked. It must be real to be of worth.

A dart board is fun for many a child, and adults! But the needle end would be dangerous for many and truly scary for others. Hence these magnetic darts fit the bill. Despite shortcomings in some realms of fine motor, co-ordination and eye tracking, other skills may be unusually enhanced. They may help compensate.

It is important for me to note that at the time of that photograph my son was in the ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ developmental stage. He has already passed through the ‘dinosaur’ stage. Many people describe autistics as having obsessional interests and sometimes compulsive too. This may be a fair shorthand. It is often true that the interest pervades their lives to the exclusion of everything else. They do not stop to eat or to meet any other of their basic needs. I can see why it’s described as obsessional.

However, I sometimes think that an alternative view would be ‘single interest.’ They have a current single interest but it can change to something else without warning. In our case it was on Christmas day. No more Thomas, so no motivation to open any presents at all, even if we ignore the tactile issue.

If you take a child with an obsessional interest to a toy shop, they will seek out their preferred toys. If you take a child with a single interest to a toy shop, when the single interest has gone, there is nothing at all to entertain them. I know that this is very difficult for people to understand. It is the very opposite of the ‘kid in the candy store.’ Name any ‘thing’ or ‘toy’ you can think of, but to entice a child to engage, is often an insurmountable hurdle. It’s like a secret club where no-one will share the password.

This is not to say that you couldn’t have more than one ‘single’ interest:- dinosaurs, Thomas and insects simultaneously. I could be interested in reading, knitting and gardening or motor cycle maintenance, art and stamp collecting, but anything else? Well it’s just off the radar, perhaps?

However, it may well be possible, with a dollop of luck on your side, to find just the right password, and hit the bulls eye. It isn’t really a secret, it’s just patient, persistence or obstinacy in my case. And yes, that glint is a twinkle of pride in his eye.

What a lucky combination!
Get the code:-
Cut and paste
from this little
boxy thing below

p.s. I amended ‘Peanut Butter Bumpkins to include the recipe.


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MM – Love and Formula

Moody Monday theme = “Love”

Manic Monday theme = “Formula”

I learn that last week’s lesson has been “generalized.”

But his megalomania is subject to his sister’s edits.

They grow older and better able to express their opinions.

They grow bigger and taller and notice more things. I wonder if they can agree on a message? A Formula for success!

Brought to you via “It’s a Blog Eat Blog World.”

What a lucky combination!


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Pincer Grip

This is a drawing kindly provided by “Andrea” from “Andrea’s Buzzing Around:.” If only I could draw like “that.”

Pincer or Pincher grip definition:-
A skill that “generally” develops in infants between the age of 12 and 15 months.

Can you do it? Not “draw like Andrea” but put your hand in that position?

Many people can’t or have great difficulty making the two tips touch. Sometimes even if we can manage to get them to touch, we lack the finger strength to maintain a good hold.

It can be very frustrating for everyone concerned.

How about “this?”

Of course if truth be told we don’t hold spoons in a pincher grip anyway but it’s a great tool to avoid getting pinched until you master it.

Better late than never. So glad we got around to it “eventually.”

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