Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The homework

A lot of people ask me what it is the Early Start people are doing for us to help Phoebe learn to walk and talk and what-not.

And because I enjoy making lists, I thought it'd be fun (and possibly overwhelming) to make a list of all the things we're (Geoff and I) supposed to be doing during all the hours The Ladies are NOT at our house. I say it's overwhelming because playing with Phoebe has now become homework, so we can't just sit on the floor and play. We play with a purpose. If she is sticking out her tongue (which she now won't STOP doing) we try to go "La la la, Phoebe. La la la la la" and so forth.

We have a set of goals to accomplish by her 2nd birthday (6 month timeframe) and it reads something like this:

By 6/2010 Phoebe will:

1. Stand holding on and take steps 75% of the time across the room.

2. Walk across the room 10 feet unassisted

3. Imitate "la la la la" 3 out of 5 times

4. Identify her eyes, ears & nose immediately and accurately 3 out of 5 times.

5. Use 10 words to indicate her wants and needs 75% of the time.

6. Use a neat pincer grasp to pick up small items & put into a bottle 3 out of 5 times

So to accomplish all of that ... here's what we're supposed to be doing with her. Granted, most of these are things we have been doing with her. For a long time. It's just that now instead of NOT thinking about it, and just doing it, we have to THINK about it. And REMEMBER to do them. And some days I go "Oh crap I forgot to make her do sit to stand". The Ladies tell me it's just good to do as many as we can remember as often as we can. We're doing that much at least.

I think I remembered everything for this list.

In no particular order:

*Practice in front of a mirror (with one of us) making different sounds and mouth shapes so she can see us and herself at the same time

*Put stickers on her nose and have her look in mirror and tell her "Phoebe do you see the sticker on your nose? Take the sticker off your nose"

*Brush her lip to create sensitivity and awareness of her upper lip

*Put frosting on her top lip and corners of her mouth to create awareness of the upper lip

*Massage the top lip with fingers

*Practice puckering and making "motor boat" sound.

*Practice signing simple things "more", "milk", "drink"

*Practice going from sit to stand in a chair or sitting on our knee

*Encourage playing in high kneel

*Try to get her to push her shopping cart - either in high kneel or walking

*Give her praise when she tries to communicate with us

*Try using simple songs and nursery rhymes to encourage communication

*Look at books and pictures

*Offer choices "Milk or juice", "this cup or that cup"

*Label and describe everything you are doing with her

The physical therapist is coming again tomorrow. Phoebe has learned to use her step to climb up onto the couch AND she is now able to climb down off the couch, which is great.

Some days it feels like we have this long road ahead of us. And then other days I'm like "Okay, we can do this. We're gonna kick ass!"

Yesterday the occupational therapist said that Phoebe is doing really well. She has great "caretaking" skills (giving the cabbage patch kids the pacifier, trying to give her milk to her stuffed animals to drink) and she's great at imitating, which is good for her cognitive development. She complimented Phoebe's attention span and her understanding of what we say.

Now we just gotta figure out how to flip the switch in her brain to get her to say things to us.

We're getting there.

1 comment:

Annie said...

She definitely has great care taking skills! I loved watching her pat Joey on the back and head when we were there - so sweet :) And she showed me her tongue, too!