It is all too easy for an afternoon to waft on by without anything constructive happening. Therefore, I have started to write myself a daily list of activities I can do with Nick. The list keeps me focused and on track.
I always have a plan in mind for each activity.
I decide on my role and also Nick's role.
I set some limits to ensure I don't let the activity drag on (and be more about the task rather than the interaction between us).
I decide on my style of language.
I ensure that distractions are minimal
I usually apply the 'edge plus 1' concept to all that we do.
We have got a bit slack with this whole dishwasher thing. Nick tends to dump his dirty dishes into the sink and walk off. Not so anymore! I sat next to him on the couch and told him that I needed some help with the dishes. He shook his head for "no". I left him there and started clearing the kitchen sink. Nick, of his own accord, came over to join me. I had already decided that my role would be to hand him some objects and his role would be to put them into the dishwasher. When he struggled with placement of an object, I used chanting to help guide him. ("turning, turning, turning"). I knew that Nick would find this activity challenging, therefore I set a limit of using six objects. Nick's 'edge' was stacking the plates on the bottom shelf. His 'plus 1' was figuring out how to stack two other objects on the top shelf.
I had planned for us to visit the beachfront and go for a walk along the promenade, however, sod's law, it started to rain. We ended up going to the local mall. Nick has got into the habit of racing off ahead of me, although he always checks back to see where I am. My plan was for us to walk together and I would adjust the pace of our walking to ensure that he coordinated his actions with mine. I used soft chanting to help guide him as to what pace I was going to use next. (slowly, slowly or faster, faster). Nick's 'edge' was walking alongside me. For his 'plus 1', I introduced some window shopping!
Make Play Dough
Back at home, I pulled out all the goodies needed to make play dough. I then invited Nick to come and help. All distractions were dealt with, (big brother had gone out and the dogs banished to the back garden). I set up a simple pattern of... Nick holds the measuring spoon, I put the ingredients into the spoon, Nick transfers the contents to the saucepan. Easy peasy. I sensed that Nick was feeling challenged, therefore kept his part in the activity very short, around three minutes.
This was a simple co-regulatory activity. I held the book and read the story, pausing frequently to give Nick time to comment. His role was to turn each page when needed. Simple and enjoyable.
Bath ~ practicing drying
Nick's motor planning issues make drying his body very difficult. Admittedly, I have also been a bit slack with guiding him through the process. Blush. Anyhow, I am now making a concerted effort and it is paying off. I vary my guiding as I don't want Nick to become stuck on a set pattern (i.e. only dry his body if I sing a certain song!).
Night time (bath): My role was to gesture to different areas of my body. Nick's role was to follow my lead and copy me, using his towel.
I silently pat my chest
"Oooh, your arm is wet", rubbing my arm
I use eye gaze (which Nick follows) to my leg
"Up, up, up" I raise my arm and look towards my armpit.
I kept my language simple and gave him time to process my information. Nick's 'edge' was drying all the easy bits. His 'plus 1' was learning how to dry his back. Slowly but surely, he is gaining more independence.
You may note that I didn't follow my list in the order that it was written. The list is a rough guide of activities and I like being flexible, which in turn helps Nick to be flexible! :)