Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Counting and Number Recognition

We have recently gotten to the point where Keegan is confident in counting out loud, so I really wanted to start focusing on number recognition to give him a face to the name..  (is that the saying?! Lol)  He gets frustrated or loses interest when he has to count those little dots, etc, so I’ve been trying to come up with a bunch of activities to help us along in the process.   

We have had this Melissa and Doug puzzle since he was two, but at that age, it lost his interest quite quickly since it is a bit more difficult.  We have started breaking it out again and I know it is helping! Puzzles and books- Keegan’s favorite way to learn!

I also took a chance at this book and we love it! It has numbers on each page, lots of options to count and .. trucks/construction for Keegan, win-win!  This Little Quack book is very simple and is one that we’ve been reading for a long time.  The counting only goes up to five, then counts backwards to one, so it’s not too overwhelming. Keegan also received these Dr. Seuss number flash cards this past Easter, and although they aren’t his favorite activity, the characters keep his interest long enough to do a little learning. 

How can I forget these counting bugs?  In school we used to have small bears that were similar to these and I was obsessed!  The bugs turned out to be a big hit with Keegan as well, because they aren't just limited to counting- they can be used for any type of play!

There has also been an extreme mixture of rainy days and way too hot days this summer so we’ve been seeing a lot of our felt board!  I have a few counting-out-loud activities for it and quickly threw together some rinky-dink number blocks to help with recognition..  The lady bug is really a hit! Here's a couple ideas and you can find some other counting/fun felt board activities here.

-For the birthday cake, we always decide how many candles we're going to put up, count them and then sing the Happy Birthday song, which is good repetition for his speech.

-Here's the number blocks I threw together with felt scraps.  :) First we put them all up and count them then I will leave a few on the board and ask him to point to a given number.

-And the lady bug, which has 20 spots. We can put on or take off however many we want to but we must always count the spots as we go!

What were some of your tricks for number recognition? Keegan is always observing and always absorbing even when I think he isn’t so I don’t like to dwell on how much or how little we worked on each day, but I always would love some ideas as to what has helped others! 

Have a great day!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Gravitational Insecurity

So, within the past few weeks that I have posted, we have learned some new things about Keegan.  Number one, he has developed a slight stutter and number two, he suffers from  gravitational insecurity- both unrelated.   

Over the past few weeks, Keegan has been involved in swimming lessons at our town pool with very little swimming and very much crying on his part.  It was terrible to watch but some days were better than others so I wasn’t sure if there was something internal going on, or if he just plain ol’ didn’t want to do it (like lots of kids his age.)  I’ve come to the conclusion that it was probably a mixture of both.  Some days when the instructors would take him around the pool, or move him around too quickly, he would tense up and freak out and he couldn’t quite seem to catch his balance in the pool or on the pool steps.   Then began making up excuses when the water made him cold that he would have to go to the bathroom, his belly hurt or he wanted to go home.  One day I had enough of the screaming (15 mins worth) and told him if we are going home, we are taking a nap and boom the tears stopped and he participated in the rest of the lessons without another whimper.  So here I was confused as to what to do, "Is this really hurting him or is he just stubborn?" We were both also very worn out from four weeks worth of 'traumatizing' lessons.

I brought my concerns up to Keegan’s occupational therapist and explained to her times, other than lessons, when I would notice Keegan tense up and silently freak out- very similar to convulsing: on rides at an amusement park, occasional unexpected movements while being held, the sliding board, going too fast in the grocery cart/down the steps, etc.  He likes to be crazy by himself -jumping all over the place and running around, but when he is not the one in control of his own movements (in the water, someone holding him, a ride) he gets very sensitive and in a sense, unaware of where his body is at in space.   She suggested he had some gravitational insecurity, which stems from the vestibular system (inner ear/balance.)  These types of children feel distress or anxiety when in a position or action they are not accustomed to or comfortable with.  It’s hard as a parent of this kind of child because here when I thought I was trying to help him, I was most likely pushing him to do something that he suffers from.  There are definitely ways of helping in small doses while being sensitive to Keegan’s feelings and tolerance.  I have lots of reading up to do and studying and I am so glad I have his therapists to confide in.  I really had no way of knowing that this had a name or even a way to fix it, I honestly just thought it was something he would grow out of.  I can’t wait to start helping him and I’m just sorry this help hasn’t happened sooner. 

As for swimming lessons this week, joint compressions, prayers, an explanation to his teachers and Grandpa coming to lessons, they were a breeze(well, compared to other days! Hoping for more days like this!!!)  Joint compressions are very helpful when it comes to body awareness and awareness in space. I gently put pressure on his main joints by pushing them together (elbow, wrists, knees, etc.) for ten seconds.  We do these every morning as well as deep pressure lotion massages, regardless of what the day brings.

I will elaborate more on the stutter another day, but was curious if anyone had any experience with gravitational insecurity… I only found out about it this week and I’m interested in learning more about it and how to help Keegan.  I just have to remember to respect his needs and his limits and to help build his confidence and trust.  This boy…. Always keeping me educated ;)!!

To my Keegan,

“Whatever it is you imagine to be, I’ll just be so proud you belong to me”
I’d Know You Anywhere by Nancy Tillman

I’m always proud of you whether you can or quite simply, can’t.  We CAN do this together.  We CAN overcome your fears together.  And that way, you can do anything in this world that you imagine. 

Photo by Stesha Whitney Photography