Thursday, August 12, 2010

What the Wizard Said

As I mentioned, there were parts of these visits with the developmental guru that were very helpful and enlightening. He clearly did not have any expectation that families would be doing much besides his “program”, but I am sure that plenty more than myself balked at the requirements of his prescription.

The Best of His “Suggestions”:

1) Patch N’s good eye (he has strabismus) for increasingly longer periods, but not more than 2 hours at a time. Of course, this was supposed to be off and on throughout the day, between and while we were doing other various and sundry exercises. Don’t try this at home, folks! Someone (like a Wizard) needs to look at your kid’s eye and tell you to do it. I do think we avoided surgery this way, although he does still have weakness here.

2) Bombard with language! When the child is playing in his room, put on a recorded story. This can be one read by you or anyone else. He emphasized abundant exposure to language. Also, if the child is nonverbal, make a recording of commonly used words, saying them slowly. (“Juice”, “potty”, “Mommy”, “bed”, etc.) It can’t hurt, right? If the child is saying one word utterances, up the recording to two word phrases. (“Want juice”, “go potty”, “love Mommy”, etc.) And upward. (N still listens to his vast collection of Adventures in Odyssey stories on CD. What a boost these have given his vocabulary!)

3) Use exfoliating gloves for increased periods of time for sensory desensitization. N really did not like this at first but grew to tolerate, then kind of like it. Again, this is something that would have to be started for just a very short amount of time and built up. I would also ask a professional about it. They also taught us some deep pressure and massage techniques.

4) Improve auditory processing and memory by having your child repeat a series of numbers back. This one is so hard and we hated it (I would love to pay someone to do this today!), but it has lots of merits. You gradually increase the number of digits you say (then you yourself cannot actually tell if they got it right because you forgot it, too!), and also decrease the speed at which you say them, so there is more time to have to remember. Tricky!

He gave us a whole lot more than this to do. I really got burned out doing a lot of this stuff and started feeling less like a mommy and more like a circus trainer. (Not that my kid is an animal to be trained, but rather like we did not have a relationship except for this stuff. And it could be rote and often too all-consuming.) Again, this may be more due to the personality of the circus trainer.

The best thing I got out of the Wizard was a wonderful resource for reading. I dug a box out from the attic just a few days ago, because I am ordering N’s Language Arts curriculum for him to work on at school. I found the company’s name on an old book, looked them up online, and found a dizzying assortment of great choices for him! I am so excited that I could still access this unique line of books.

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