Saturday, May 28

Preschool makes learning fun

Here is a glimpse into the Preschool program that Tommy and Liam attend.  Tommy has been slowly (ahem very slowly) learning sign language, the pecs picture system for making choices and just any form of communicaiton.  So I went to preschool again to watch specifically for ways I can be more consistant at home with what they are teaching him in preschool.  These teachers are so gifted with special education and the amazing unique ways to tailor education and access to education to each of these unique little people. 

Tommy's aide (not officially his own aide but realistically and honestly) L is reading with him a book on colors.  She signs the color for him with her right hand and often Tommy was using hand under hand to feel her signing the colors.  We all share the interest in Tommy communicating something, anything, and colors seem a great place to start.  He could choose "the red one" or the "orange one" to distinguish toys or blankets,etc.  Hand under hand signing is Tommy's mode of learning.  He "turns off" if you grab his hand to force or manipulate it into a sign.  L is *so* loved by Tommy. 

The morning preschool routine has a sweet circle time and part of the tasks of that opening time are for the designated child of that day to go outside and look at the weather with the binoculars and report back to the class.  So cute!!  So here is Tommy outside with his SLP looking at the weather with his binoculars.  You can almost see in this picture he has a specialized pressure vest on.  The team has been trying this to give Tommy's body a bit more sensory information (remember he is a sensory seeker and gypsy) and to satisfy those needs so he can sit still during the activities and better access his education.  And it seemed to work great.  Although I'm going to get a light weight one thru Spio because this one was a sauna for him and he doesn't like being warm because he falls asleep when warm.  But back to the story of the weather... Tommy came back in and his SLP said and signed cloudy and rainy (gotta love the pacific northwest).

After circle time the kids are each given a colored ticket and separated and can move thru the different activities.  Today there was a ratio of four of the teachers on the team to 8 kids.  Each teacher/para educator had a separate activity and the kids were sent to their tables by the colored ticket they held in their hand.  Tommy LOVES the snack activity.  He has his specialized chair that travels to each activity with him to help support his core and legs so that he doesn't need to work to sit on the chair and can rather attend to the learning activity.  MMMM.  Pretzels (mommy learned the sign for pretzel and won't sign cracker for them anymore) and he gets his 4 oz of milk in his gtube at this activity.

Liam was in a different group of kids and this is his picture at the SLP's activity table working on sequencing a puzzle story and then talking about it.  The activity really sparked thoughts in Liam and lots of conversations about the beginning, middle and end of the story.  Mommy note, I need to go to Launching Success our local schooling store and get one of these games because it was very interactive for Liam.  I tried to exclude other kids from these photos, but if you have another child in the morning preschool room, your kids are ALL so cute and it was hard for me not to hug a few of them (K your lil S is so stinkin cute we have to do a playdate soon on your new swingset).

When Tommy in his group got around to the SLP's table activity you can see how the teacher changed the fun to more appropriately meet Tommy where he is.  Working on colors!  And spark with his natural boy interest of BALLS!  So they signed and said the color and Tommy played and played.  He also had the opportunity to work his fine motor skills and separate his pointer finger to press on one of the releases of the ball machine (worked in a little OT).  And, drum roll please..... he signed RED appropriately and self initiated (Tommy doesn't initiate many signs, if any).  I've got a video of this and will post soon, because at 4 1/2 years old for a non verbal kid, this is a mommy's PROUD momment. 
Another activity table was working on finger isolation (pointer and other fingers) with KoolAid scented playdough.  I noticed here that he LOVED the sensory input of the playdough, stuck golf tees in it, pointed with his isolated finger in it and rolled and rolled.  The earlier activity at this table was in relation to their week study on the VERY Hungry catepillar and they made a butterfly out of paper, clothespin and pipe cleaner.  He didn't like having L's hands over his and manipulating, although L was trying her best to get him to do the activity and Tommy was so stubborn about it.  I've got to remember to make more playdough for home!

After circle time and the activity tables, then there is puzzle time and book reading.  Here is the chance for toileting too with the aide one on one.  And then the morning is wrapped up with a very sweet circle time of learning each other's names and singing songs and more book reading. 

Both of the twins LOVE wooden puzzles.  So I'm going to reorganize our home school stuff so the wooden puzzles are more accessible.  Too cute!

Tommy Adventures