Thursday, November 29, 2007

Easing into ENKI

We've officially started School here at the pond. We are easing in - getting our feet wet so to speak. With the weather turning cold and wet, we have moved our morning movement work inside which is more of a challenge - Frog likes to have room to move. With encouragement from the program's architect, we've put away the more challenging stories and movements and are developing our own rhymes to help Frog work on strengthening his body map. I'm calling this period, ENKI Light. This week, taking a cue from a raspberry noise he was enjoying making, We worked on an Elephant Walk

Elephants walk heavy and slow
They raise up their trunks to greet people they know - (raspberry).

I modeled this with an elephant walk and a trunk (arm) raise, several times. The next day we did "hand over hand" (more like body over body) and did the exercise together. After a few rounds, he actually came back for more. I think we looked a little like baby Dumbo and his Mother. I'm hoping we will have a whole "Animals on Parade" routine eventually. (baby Dumbo and Mom statue available on e-bay. Auction closes Dec. 3)

I was also encouraged to imitate the rhymed verse accompaniment to ENKI stories with the stories we are using. This week it is "COOKIES" from Frog and Toad Toad Together


A batch of cookies Toad did bake so warm and chewy and sweet,
He put them in a giant bowl for Frog and Toad to eat.

Frog took a cookie, took a bite and said “These are the best!”
Then Frog and Toad continued eating cookies without rest.

“Stop” cried Frog “We have to Stop, I think we’ve had our fill.”
“If we do not stop eating now, I fear we may be ill.”

“One last cookie each my friend and then it’s time to stop.”
They each ate one, and then one more - they were both about to pop.

“We must stop eating” cried out Toad as a cookie he did munch,
“We need to find our will power and stop this cookie lunch”

We will try hard to stop this feast, we won’t another cookie eat.
We will not take another bite; we won’t eat cookies day and night.

We’ll put them in a box and we’ll put the box away.
But we could open up the box and eat them anyway.

We will try hard to stop this feast, we won’t another cookie eat.
We will not take another bite; we won’t eat cookies day and night.

We’ll tie a string around the box with a knot that’s tight and strong.
But we could cut the string with ease and eat cookies all night long.

We will try hard to stop this feast, we won’t another cookie eat.
We will not take another bite; we won’t eat cookies day and night.

We’ll tie the string and place the box upon the highest shelves.
But we could climb back up and get the cookies for ourselves.

We will try hard to stop this feast, we won’t another cookie eat.
We will not take another bite; we won’t eat cookies day and night.

Frog took the box of cookies to the yard and called the birds,
“We have cookies here to share come get them and they’re yours.”

“Birds came and took the cookies Toad, now we can’t go wrong!”
“I’m going, Frog, to bake a cake, I hope your will power’s strong.”

We are doing movements for several of the verbs, signs for "cookie" and "stop"; and emphasising words with a PU or UH sound (sounds we are working on in speech therapy with The Animated Alphabet). We are also baking and eating a lot of cookies! Frog is taking me to the pantry for cookie mix on a regular basis. Frog laughs when I say "A batch of cookies Toad did bake" while we make cookies. We also made spaghetti sauce (can't live on cookies alone). I wanted to make it ahead of time so I could put a quick lasagna together for Aaron's Team tomorrow - a home visit with all the therapists. Frog and I sampled some for lunch the day we put it together - Bolognaise Nuevo. I was able to put in onions, mushrooms, peppers and zucchini, as well as ground beef browned in large "meatball" chunks. It's nice that we have moved on from PBJ and Lunchables.

Our other breakthrough has been rediscovering TAMO

"handling always applies forces associated with independent movements; that is, the therapist does not support nor move the patient; instead, the patient plans and generates the movement in response to the therapist's 'loading', which accentuates appropriate gravitational influences. That loading force is almost always directed through the patient's body to the support surface. The exact direction of this loading force constantly changes with movement. However, the observer cannot see that. You should ask your child's therapist to apply that 'loading force' to you! TAMO handling feels good; it gives a sense of security (stabilizing to the support surface and moving from the support surface) and it allows you to move with ease. Careful, it's easy to get hooked on TAMO treatment! This type of handling requires a good knowledge of the relation between pressure distribution at the contact with the support surface and the associated body posture and movement."

We haven't had a lot of training in this, but our private OT showed us how to use loading force along the gravitational vector of his pelvis while he was playing to help him stay focused and feel grounded. We used it mostly to help him calm himself when he seemed to be loosing his proprioceptive sense. But after watching power struggles at school to "keep" him in his chair or at an activity and then watching him go through similar struggles at speech therapy I decided, instead of trying to not be too distracting during the appointments - maybe I could be a part of them. I sat behind his chair and applied the loading force - gently, dynamically(moves with him rather than restricting or supporting him), at a pace of 60 beats per minute. The difference left both the speech therapist and me speechless ourselves. He went from screaming, crying, trying to get out of the chair or away from the activity, to sitting in the chair for 20 minutes, lots of attention, some complaints - but not to the point he disengaged from the activity, attempts at specific sounds and use of his voice output system, looking at books, playing "new" games. When he finished the appointment and I stopped applying the pressure, he remained calm. He put on his coat, put away his Vantage with some guidance, and WALKED down the hall to the waiting room QUIETLY. My new dilemma is how to use the technique at home when its just the two of us. It will be a topic of discussion tomorrow!

We are on the right track - I can just feel it.


mcewen said...

Lummy you've pulled out all the stops and those are a couple of great programmes. It sounds as if you're on a great path - wishing you lots of energy.
Best wishes

kyra said...

oh, that is just wonderful! i'm cheering for you over here!

Casdok said...

You certainly are!