Monthly Archives: January 2012

I want to enjoy the little “miracles” that happen in my day!

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I just want to enjoy the little (those happenings) that I call “miracles”.  Those little wonderful experiences that happen during my day that give that warm feeling inside.  It reminds of what is important, and why we as therapists and all the others that work with folks of all ages with special needs. 

Here are just a few examples of what I mean.  Just this week, one of the students I work with 2 days in a row has initiated a request from me for a high interest activity for him.  Coming up to me without prompting and making the request for a balloon was just AWESOME!!  When I asked for balloon please without prompting, I better act quick.  I quickly praised him for making the request and we hurried out of the room to walk back to the therapy office.  This is where he know I keep the balloons.  He even settled for the only color I had in the drawer….green.  Yes I know his favorite color is red, but I just didn’t have any of those.  NO MELTDOWN.  Then on the return walk to the classroom, he bumped into the  hallway door frame. In the past he would have started banging his head on YOU, or the wall.  Well guess what, he did what most of us have been known to do.  He gave the door frame a little kick as almost to say ” You stupid door frame, what were you doing there?”.  How many times have we all gotten mad at the object that was in our way??  How “age appropriate” was that response?  He then proceeded back to the classroom without any difficulty, packed his new balloon into his pocket and returned to participate in the classroom activity.  And…….then just today, he shows up at the therapy office door, knocking at the door and making a request for a balloon again.  All with using great signing and waiting for my response.  I really better stock up!

In another classroom, one of my other students, has successfully used his PECS notebook  making a request to go to the swing.  What was so great about it, he demonstrated his strong desire to use the swing, even when all of his other classmates were getting ready for snack which is a  VERY high interest to him.  Pretzels are the ultimate!  He accompanied me to the swing area, even got on the swing, buckled the belt independently, and followed our schedule.  While at the swing, I wish you all could have experienced his joy, and ability to just relax.  To see his calmness and refrain from the high pitch giggle that he often demonstrate when he appears anxious what just superb! 

OK…..Every week is not like this but remember we are enjoying the little “miracles”.  When one of my teen students shows the understanding of the 5 Point Scale, and is open to my suggestions to help the student be more receptive to other’s ideas is what I call a great session. YEA! for all!

Aren’t we all misunderstood sometimes?

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 I found this on several websites.  Great words to read, share, and learn from.    ~Pam

                 Bill of Rights for Misunderstood Kids

 

HELP ME TO FOCUS…

Please teach me through my sense of touch. I need “hands-on” and body movement.

 

I NEED TO KNOW WHAT COMES NEXT…

Please give me a structured environment where there is a dependable routine. Give me an advance warning if there will be changes.

 

WAIT FOR ME, I’M STILL THINKING…

Please allow me to go at my own pace. If I’m rushed, I get confused and upset.

 

I’M STUCK, I CAN’T DO IT…!

Please offer me options for problem solving. If the road is blocked, I need to know the detours.

 

IS IT RIGHT? I NEED TO KNOW NOW…

Please give me rich and immediate feedback on how I’m doing.

 

I DIDN’T KNOW I WASN’T IN MY SEAT…!

Please remind me to stop, think, and act.

 

AM I ALMOST DONE…?

Please give me short work periods with short-term goals.

 

WHAT…?

Please don’t say “I already told you that.” Tell me again, in different words. Give me a signal. Draw me a symbol.

 

I KNOW IT’S ALL WRONG, ISN’T IT…?

Please give me praise for partial success. Reward me for self-improvement, not just for perfection.

 

BUT WHY DO I ALWAYS GET YELLED AT…?

Please catch me doing something right and praise me for the specific positive behavior. Remind me–and yourself–about my good points when I’m having a bad day.

 

[I need to remind myself everyday when I am working with students to STOP…….THINK…..LISTEN……and then DO!  I hope that we can receive constructive criticism and respond with grace.  This is a wonderful skill to provide to the students.  As I am a  person with difficulties with my hearing, I often find myself asking for repetition.  I know this may frustrate many but I want to make sure that I have the instructions correctly.  We all need to pause at times and remember that we all are misunderstood at times.  Let’s all remember that ….. STOP…THINK…..LISTEN is a wonderful tool to use.  Take the time to pause for a moment and just enjoy the special talents that we all have within us!]

How do we help our own self-regulation?

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Gee….it is hard to believe that we are back at school after Winter Break.  The students seemed to get through the first day back with minimal difficulties.  The end of the day was a challenge for some,  but wasn’t it for most of us!!  I was caught yawning often and needed a sensory break when I got home.  Walking on the treadmill helped me.  How does everyone else keep themselves together mentally and physically?

One of the great strategies that I have found it using what we have found in my circle of friends at school (therapy, teachers etc.) is what is referred to as the

 ” 5 Point Scale”.  It is a way of identifying your feelings, emotions, level of alertness, silliness etc……..

Kari Dunn Buron developed this model and had written  books on the subject. 

A few of her books include:   The Incredible 5 Point Scale            

                                                         A 5 is against the Law                        

                                                        When My Worries Get Too Big

Here is an example of a Five Point Scale: 

If I was going to label the pictures for ME, I would rate the “1” as calm   “2” as annoyed   “3” as anxious   “4” as mad    and “5” as out of control

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was so impressed today when many of our students were able to identify where they were on the 5 Point Scale.  Even when on the outside an individual may look calm, they can identify themselves as a “5”.  They are indicating that they are feeling out of control.  I feel that I need to honor their ability to identify their feelings even if they do not look like what “I” think that number represents.  I honor it, provide them strategies that will assist in their ability to regain a more functional level of self-regulation and then check back in with them on how they rate themselves.  Don’t many of us do this on a regular basis.  Some of us might say to someone ” Just leave me alone, I need to be left alone, or might even say “Get out of my face, give me my space”.  So, when an individual that I work with who has significant sensory issues as well as communication difficulties indicated their level on the scale,  I get really excited. How gratifying when they are able to identify, process,  use strategies and then regain their abilities to participate in the  school function that was requested of them.  WAY TO GO FRIENDS!!

Can you see yourself using this scale?  Do you think it would  be helpful? 

A great website to find out more information is:

www.5pointscale.com

Let’s help eachother stay calm and self-regulated!!   ~Pam