Wednesday, February 22, 2012
I had the opportunity to observe Carver in his classroom at school after spending 4 hrs in IEP meetings :o). The things I got to see were just amazing. We are very fortunate to have a team that truly cares about Carver, and who are doing everything possible to help Carver meet and exceed his goals.
Carver is "included" with the rest of the class as much as possible when it makes "sense". In the picture above, Carver is being included in circle time while also spending time in his stander. He is positioned as straight up as possible in his stander. This helps with weight bearing and head control. The class is enjoying music during circle time. Carver participates by rubbing 2 sticks together to make sound while other kids sing or listen to the music. This is an activity that Carver can participate in because it makes "sense". Let me explain what makes "sense". Carver is working on understanding what he hears. It is very difficult for him to hear in a noisy environment. If he can't hear, then he can't learn, right? So, during circle time, the music is playing, and he is participating in the noise by rubbing sticks together. There are other times when it just doesn't make "sense" for Carver to participate with the group. For example, story time. The classroom is very loud - children crying, screaming, talking, etc. Very typical of a special needs pre-school. In these cases, Carver is pulled aside to have story time. This way, he can hear what is being read to him, and participate.
Since Carver is working on understanding what he hears, anytime he is asked to participate in an activity, they present the activity or object in a partial box (see above picture). He is told what they are going to be doing, and in this case, he is asked to get his book. He was told that they were going to read a book. Carver grabs the book from the box when he is asked to get his book. You can see Carver grabbing his book in the above picture. No help is needed. This was amazing to watch. He showed off this ability numerous times during my visit with verbal cues only.
Carver has a very routine based schedule. His schedule is different M-F, but he does the same thing every Monday, and every Tuesday, etc. This helps with anticipation. It also helps him to connect to these tasks or things. A Deaf/Blind person has a very hard time connecting to things. Therefore, it can take multiple times of doing the same things before they connect. In the picture above, Carver is presented with a tub of water for water play. The water is always in the same tub. So, when he is told that they are going to have water play, and he sees the tub coming, he knows what to expect. He loves water play. He has to wear a hat/cap to keep water off his Cochlear Implant processors.
Carver gets to decide when he is finished with something. When he is finished with something, he pushes the item away from himself. All finished requests are accepted by the Therapist. This helps to teach Carver that he can make choices.
When Carver is finished with water play, he is asked to remove his hat. With a verbal cue only (no assistance), Carver removes his hat. Clearly he hears the request and understands the request. So exciting!! This again requires a quiet location, so Carver is able to hear exactly what the therapist is saying.
Carver's Therapists are working really hard on independent sitting. In the above picture, Carver is pushing himself up from the floor. While laying on the floor, the Therapist crosses Carver's legs (Indian style), then he uses his left arm/hand to push himself up ino a sitting position. The Therapist helps by holding his hips. The goal is for Carver to push himself into a sitting position with no help from the Therapist.
The above picture shows Carver after he pushed himself up into a sitting position.
Carver is also working on sitting without support for longer periods of time. In the above picture, the Therapists are having Carver push a ball back-n-forth between himself and the therapist. They tell him to push the ball to the Therapist, and he does. The Therapist tells him when she is pushing the ball back. The ball beeps, so he hears the ball coming. They do this for more than one reason. The first reason is to work on independent sitting. The second reason is to work on motor skills and listening skills. The third reason is to work on anticipation. Always working on something and they have a great way of making it fun.
These are just a few things that I observed over an hour. He spends 2 1/2 hours at school per day.