Whenever I plan an activity with Nick, I always keep in mind the concept, 'edge plus one'. Yeah, I know I keep banging on about it! However, since starting RDI, Nick's progress has not regressed or plateaued. His progress may be slow but this concept enables us to continue moving forward.
A couple of weeks ago, I invited Nick to help me with some cooking and I introduced a new can opener. You can learn about our experience right here.
The following video clips are a follow on from that experience.
I wanted to go back a step and focus on operating the can opener. Simply put, we would both have clearly defined roles. Nick would take the easiest role first. I would hold the handles together and he would turn the blades (taking him to his 'edge'). When I felt the time was right I would bring in the challenge, which would be to swap roles. I would turn the blades as he held the handles (his 'plus one').
This clip shows how much Nick has progressed since my last blog post. He is putting in some muscle and doing his very best to open the tin. I am thrilled with his determination and resilience. Success.... and he is definitely ready to move onto the challenge.
In the following footage, I introduce the challenge to Nick. Even though this is his 'plus one', I don't want to set him up for failure. He does have low tone and major motor planning issues, therefore I would prefer to guide him slowly and help him out where necessary. I also keep this part of the activity short, ensuring that we don't go into 'task mode'. I want Nick to feel comfortable trying new challenges, without getting stressed over the fact that I may be pushing him too far out of his comfort zone.
You can see that Nick didn't understand the concept of changing roles; therefore I spend quite a bit of time explaining what needs to be done. *Note to self: Don't talk so much; simplify my language a bit more.
It gets a bit confusing, so I pause.... and spotlight, "I know it is tricky". I then spend some more time scaffolding the activity for him. He really doesn't have the *feeling* for squeezing the handle firmly, therefore he is going to need a lot of practice. Eventually I assist by also holding the handle and we end on success.
You may be wondering why I am bothering to teach Nick how to use a can opener! The fact is that the activity is so much more than the can opener. It is about working together in a co-regulatory way. It is about my guiding and Nick learning from the experience. It is about trust, resilience and relationship. It is about connection, competence and progress. It is about adjusting my style of language to give Nick opportunities to 'think for himself'. It is about slowing down and being in the moment. It is about believing in my child.