June 18, 2011

OT Exercises, LEVEL THREE!!!

da Creature is so happy, he has made it to LEVEL THREE.

So, he is doing his core exercises twice a day still, and we have added the following things:


Spin Remember GO!

For this one, I call a number sequence (the little bean bags have the numbers 1-12 on them) and he spins for 20 seconds, then has to pick up the sequence in order one at a time and put the bean bag in the bucket.  Right now, the sequences are three numbers long, but he is getting better FAST, so we'll go to five number sequences soon.  You spin clockwise, then the second one is counterclockwise, and you just make sure you end on clockwise.  Again...see disclaimer:

NOTE:  all the exercises we are using were custom-chosen by da Creature's OT, and are specific to HIS needs as determined by lengthy (and *cough* expensive) evaluations.  This blog is about DIS CREATURE'S journey through the spectrum of fun, and not intended to address the needs of ANY OTHER CREATURES.  Got it?  MY Creature's stuff.  You can always tell your OT that you like the ideas and ask, but no theivin' and then gripin', OKAY?  Thanks, the mgmt.

We also added a few more ball games on BOSU ball... AND the target contraption arrived!!!

Catch w/ 2 hands, throw w/ 1
(It was so poorly engineered and not functional I had to go through and make rigid supports to fully expand it and get it to work, but hey, what do you expect from the internet?)

Paddle Thwap
The next paddle on bosu ball exercise is "Paddle Thwap".  He uses the non-sticky side of the paddle to hit balls back into the sofa.  This is how this goes... "You hit me" (da Sister)  "giggle giggle giggle" (da Creature) "Aim for the sofa" (da Sister again, patient as ever) "OUCH!" (not nearly as patient)  *giggle giggle giggle*  His aim is definitely improving.  (da Mama smiles secretly to herself)

No, really, the grey one IS the smallest, right?
The joys of internet roulette also brought us an interesting addition to our family of balance balls.  The packing slip says 53 cm.  The green one is 65 cm.  The grey one is 53 cm?  Seriously?  Yeah, right.  *eyeroll*.  I didn't return it, because what would have been the point?  So, now we have a giant ball.

June 13, 2011

Da Creature go SPIN! OT can be fun, too! :) :) :)

We are preparing to do our own spin work here at home, and I looked long and hard at available options, like the platform swing I could buy and attach to rafters in my living room, creating what appeared to me to be the largest giant dangerous object in my home ever, or, I could buy a tiny little poorly engineered board on a 12 inch lazy susan which was noisy and hard to work, OR----------

I could let the engineer make what he thought we ought to be doing, and apparently, it's ALL about the bearings.  This thing is AMAZING.  It's gonna double as a launch pad it runs so silently and effortlessly.  Now, warnings to the motion sick prone among my readers...this video might spin you queasy, but it starts with slow and then the last 30 seconds show it at FAST.  It moves like you wouldn't believe.

Da Creature and da Mama are both looking forward to getting his spin work started when we learn how tomorrow.   Once the headphones arrive, we're in BUSINESS.  So...here's my genius engineer's take on...Let's Go Round and Round:

June 10, 2011

OT Exercises, "Level TWO"

Da Creature was so proud this week.  As he put it..."I made it to Level TWO Mommy!"  This means that he survived the first awful week of core exercises and overcoming the initial refusal of every part of his body to balance or do anything it was told to do, and got MORE things to do for the second week on top of the original hard things.  Life's a video game for da Creature, that's for sure.

So, ride along with us for a bit, as I share what we are doing.  Next week we'll have the newly engineered and super-improved spin table (having a mechanical engineer for a grandpa is a wonderful blessing for da Creature) and more of the therapy room equipment will be delivered by then, too, so you can see Level THREE, but for now...here's his very proud Level Two! :)

NOTE:  all the exercises we are using were custom-chosen by da Creature's OT, and are specific to HIS needs as determined by lengthy (and *cough* expensive) evaluations.  This blog is about DIS CREATURE'S journey through the spectrum of fun, and not intended to address the needs of ANY OTHER CREATURES.  Got it?  MY Creature's stuff.  You can always tell your OT that you like the ideas and ask, but no theivin' and then gripin', OKAY?  Thanks, the mgmt.

 Bicycle...Da Creature's very lanky and uncoordinated but devoted sister is helping him learn his exercises...she's the giant fun house mirror to his tiny feet.  They do the bicycle for one minute.  We had to put dots on the tops of his knees so he could understand what "keep you knees together and pointed at the ceiling" meant.  He's all floppy in this pic, so it's still a real struggle for him. 


Next is the elevator.  Legs up, legs down, ten reps.  Not a hard one, just have to stay on those elbows!


Pat-a-foot involves ten reps of each foot tapping the opposite foot on the giant funhouse mirror sister.  He's slacking in this picture, but admittedly, it was very distracting to have Mommy taking pictures.

Tick Tock

Tick Tock is very hard for da Sister.  Da Creature is beasting it out though.  He likes it especially when she's groaning and moaning at him because for some crazy reason he's GOOD at this one.  You go side to side and you can't flop your feet on the ground, and you have to keep them straight.  Pretty standard stuff, really, but still mysterious why this one is easy for him.  I'll take it though!

Wiggle In, Wiggle Out, AKA "the Butt Scoot Boogie"

After a brief respite of schooching forward and back they head back to the floor for one more ab exercise, and then, it's BALL TIME!!!!!  (These are really really hard for da Creature, but he's working hard and they are getting better every day)

Twist and Pat
Twist and Pat.  You thump your legs, thump left side with both hands, thump legs, thump right side, and do it for ten repetitions of the whole pattern.  The difficulty comes in that you also need to bounce as you're doing it.  This seems inanely simple to me, but I quickly discovered da Creature no bounce right.  He can't work that out.  It's very very hard for him.  So, he's having fun now trying to get all those parts moving at once.  Soon, I'm sure I'll have to hide the balls!

Out and Back
Out and back.  He's good at this one now.  The first week was hard.  You sit on the ball, then roll out, using your legs, then you roll back up to sitting.  This is now his favorite exercise.  :)

Crossover Claip

Crossover clap:  nightmare thing to teach.  Roll forward, legs straight and together, then opposite hands pick up from floor and clap the funhouse mirror hands.  Balance is so very very hard.  At first, I had to hold his legs.  At least now he can stay sort of on the ball.  This set of ten (in, then out) can take fifteen minutes with all the resets.  I'm hoping his rate of improvement will continue and this will get easier.

Catch w/ 2 hands, throw w/1

Catch with two hands; throw with one.   This would be difficult enough for da Creature on dry land, but on the BOSU ball, it's so very very hard.  He loves it, and there is a nifty thing on its way to throw balls into (a mesh tent movie themed ball goal that's super awesome) but for now, we're throwing the balls in a plastic bucket, which proves that one can do the same task with less nifty stuff.  My goal, though, is to duplicate the stuff as much as possible so that his brain only has to process the task, not the stuff every time.  Stuff takes a lot of processing space that the tasks need.

Paddle Pass on Mats

Paddle Pass on mats involves standing on the ever-shifting mats, balancing, and catching the ball with the suction-cup paddle.  It's a LOT harder at home, because we don't have mats yet, and are using the sofa cushions.  It's hard at OT, too, because any task that involves his gross motor lack of skills with balance is really difficult for da Creature, but it's still fun, because every so often, you hit Mommy in the face with the ball, and she has to smile.  *wry smile*

Bean Bucket Search

The last thing we do before letting him play with the therapy equipment is the Bean Bucket search.  If you'll look at his hands, you can see the avoidance of the feeling of the beans.  Not even the promise of keeping the quarters makes him particularly happy about this exercise.  He just doesn't want to stick his hand in there, and he gets VERY VERY VERY frustrated that he cannot tell the difference between the beans and the things he must find...marbles, bells, dice, paper clips, quarters, erasers, pocket things.  But then he's done and can play so the anger and meltdown pass quickly.

I cannot imagine how we will add the spin work with all of this, but I know we will.  Next week, I'll write another post about how that goes.  I know this is helping, but I want that music montage where we did the work and the progress is so wonderful and good that the day to day work is a distant memory, a fugue of triumphal moments, not a daily drudge.  Meanwhile, let's drudge it out some more for hope and light and life.  Later's from the therapy room.

He likes the BOSU ball a LOT

June 8, 2011

SPD, Sensory Integration, the LONG HAUL to competent Therapy and Parental Guilt

Da Creature has a GOOD OT now.  Of course, that means driving three & a half hours each way to get to her and doing all of his daily work at home, but I am so deeply grateful that I finally found someone who would actually address the sensory issues that I don't care about me anymore.

We had to buy a car to do this.  That was traumatic in itself.  Now we have a car loan, too, which my Dave Ramsey nature really abhors, but we needed it NOW, not in two years when it would have been done right.

So, we drive.  We do exercises.  We do sensory tasks,  We push and pull and work with da Creature.  He's doing so well at the work.  We know what a spin board and a BOSU ball and bean bucket do.  We know better than to listen to anyone who says "What you need is a pressure vest.  That'll about do it.  That's gonna be the best you can do for him."  NO.  If you are hearing that, keep looking.  They are wrong.  Just wrong.  Lazy and wrong.

His balance is finally improving, but it's taking a LOT of life to get us there.  I have every hope that his ability to write and listen will improve too as we go through the ILS work we will be doing.  The increasingly well equipped therapy room which has replaced my living room will be our touchstone to a better world.

So, now we work.  HARD.  No more luxuries like eating out when we're exhausted because now we have to mind the car payments.  No more lazy summer mornings.  The marathon is ON.  We have eight weeks to get him as ready as we can to take on second grade where the school system has just given up on everyone.  Special education seems to have taken the biggest hit in the budget cuts.  Thanks, Haley Barbour, you're such a gentleman and a compassionate leader.  <dripping lethal poisonous sarcasm>

I can't even get the district to give us an appointment for their crappy OT/Sensory integration "independent" evaluation which was written in to the IEP over the district advisors bloody corpse in May.  My advocate sends emails, they ignore her, and the routine goes on.  They are not going to help us, this much has become crystal clear to me.  It's up to me and my beautiful brilliant daughter and da Creature.  Failure is no longer on my list of things to mindlessly accept.

Should I have started this two years ago?  Probably.  But I trusted the district then, believed they knew what they were doing and would help us find therapy and people that would be good for showing us how to help da Creature.  I could not have been more wrong.  So, I feel guilty every time we are shown a new way to really make progress and can't help but look at the lost time as my fault.  Can we still rescue him from his brain?  Yes.  Would have it been better had we started sooner?  Yes.  My heart aches for him, and I hate myself most days.  What can be redeemed will be, though.  That much I can promise him.