ESY ended on Friday and we now have several weeks to fill with one on one home therapy. If today was any indication - we've got our work cut out for us!
The goal - at least five 30 min. sessions of Floortime along with all the other DIR moments we find during the day. 30 min. of The Listening Program in two 15 min. chunks. 16 elements of little frog's HANDLE program, interspersed throughout the day including a good round of reflexology. Increased protein consumption. Decreased sugar consumption. (In addition there is the need to keep Diva frog entertained for the remainder of the summer. Run a business. Refinance the house. Jump start the new Special Ed PTO for the local school district. And organize an Oktoberfest dinner/auction for 200 real estate professional to benefit the foodbank. Yes, I am a glutton for punishment. Yes, I need to learn to just say no.)
Today little frog decided to really make me work at Floortime. We are working on level 3 with an emphasis on praxis, so I am trying really hard not to take the lead. Just when things started getting good - little frog is off like a shot - no more circles, thank you very much! Floortime is exhausting on two levels - physically keeping up with a whirling dervish and mentally keeping ahead of the game, while following the child's lead. When we are getting nothing accomplished, I can't help but try a little hand-over-hand coaching. Today it was hitting the baseball with the plastic bat instead of biting it, and doing the "shout" dance with Elmo (I even tried to add some hand movements that crossed the midline).
I also tried to work our HANDLE exercises into the Floortime. HANDLE exercises are much more hands on and today little frog was very hands off. Here, too, little frog is to be in charge. The concept of "gentle enhancement" means I need to get his permission before I proceed. However, not doing the exercise at all is not an option if you want the program to do any good. So I negotiated with my non-verbal son all afternoon and again all evening. "I'll only touch your feet if you give them to me - there shall I start? (kick, squeal, run) Ok, you're not ready, I'll wait." We got 70% of the program done - but it was a wrestling match and I never was allowed to touch his feet.
The Listening Program requires him to keep headphones on for 15 min. twice a day. He enjoys the music, but it is hard to keep the headphones on when you are jumping on, off, and over your bed. He also insisted on keeping three other electronic toys singing and/or talking while he listened to the music. Most of the time I was chasing after him trying to get him to put the headphones back on. It didn't take long for me to start having my own sensory issues! My clothes started to bother me; the noisy toys were giving me a headache; I couldn't stop rubbing my face . . .
Overall I guess we didn't do too badly. We had an outing to the park. He ate some turkey and cheese at lunch time. We got in almost all of his listening, some of his HANDLE, and at least kept the Floortime concept alive. He had time in the bathtub and we got his hair washed. I wasn't bleeding from any new scratches or bites. He was asleep by 10pm. It wasn't pretty, but we didn't give up - so hooray for us and we'll see if we do it better tomorrow.