Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Into the Woods




Frog is a conundrum. At first glance, his imitation skills seem virtually non-existent. Working hand over hand to teach him new movement patterns is a painstaking process that usually results in limited and un-generalized results and movement patterns that look stiff and unnatural. But watching Frog on his own, his movements are fluid and organic. He organizes complex motor patterns and carries them off with unbelievable precision. While he presents as proprioceptively challenged, he moves like a dancer, can run, spin and jump with what appears to be wild abandon - and yet stop on a dime and balance on one toe. He seems unsure of himself around others, yet on his own he is in complete control of his body within the environment.

This week Frog has been hard to engage. He has regularly resorted to his favorite stims and let us know in no uncertain terms that he really needed us to just stop talking around him. Rather than fight this need, I toned down the talking today. We engaged in Floortime activities without words and the circles opened and closed. We listened to music in the car and I read the Duchess Autumn story out loud to myself - not concentrating on wooing Frog into the story or even checking to see if he was listening. He stayed with me. Finally, I released Frog into the woods - to search for signs of Autumn. With few words, little direction and only two rules - stay on the path, and don't get to far away from Mommy - He reveled in nature and danced his way along the steep and winding paths without difficulty.

Diva is our resident dancer. I am a secret dancer. Today is Frog's dance premier - I present Frog as "Puck" in a dance of his own design


- Into The Woods -

Summer wains and a breeze cools the afternoon air. The woods sparkle and beckon with late season sunlight. You skim along the edge soaking in the beauty when you spot him - just ahead, on the path, skipping and sauntering blithely along. He sees you. His eyes twinkle. He dashes forward deeper into the forest - slowing to let you catch-up only to dash forward again. Is he a spirit? A sprite? A Playful Puck come to lure you unsuspecting into his trickery and mirth? Have you lost him? No - there he is up ahead behind those ferns. Will you join in his game? Will you follow him into the woods?

video

For more Special Exposure Wednesday posts visit 5 Minutes for Speical Needs

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pumpkin Patch Memories



- This will be a two for one post - a trip down memory lane with SOOC shots -

Every year since Diva was little, we've taken the kids to our local pumpkin patch around Halloween. Frog and I have been using a lot of pumpkins in our home school this week. Last year I took Frog while Diva was at school. I didn't get any pictures because I was too busy holding his hand.

Today we drove past the pumpkin patch and alas, it seems to be no more. There were rumors that last year would be the end. Too much work, not enough volunteers. The farm is still there right along the highway. They have grown some pumpkins that will be available at our local farm stand, but the festival of the pumpkin patch will not take place this year. This got me a little nostalgic and I pulled out all of the old pumpkin patch pictures.

Since these were taken when we didn't have the ability to edit - I thought they'd be fun to share for SOOC. I did set them to music just for fun - Enjoy!

video

For more SOOC Saturday shots visit Melody at Slurping Life

For more Sunday Drive posts, visit Up North Mommy

Friday, September 26, 2008

Another Day at the Park

Some days school is slower than usual. When motivation of teacher and student lag - we head for the park.

COLOR SORTING:






HISTORY, ARCHITECTURE, MAKE BELIEVE:



PHYSICAL THERAPY / EDUCATION:








to find out what else we do on a slow day visit Frog's School

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Stanley's travel blog


Stanley has returned from his first trip. You can read all about it at The Many Adventures of Stanley and Silvia.

They are getting very experienced at this travel thing. Watch for reports on their trips to California, New Jersey, Arizona, Oregon, and Texas!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

An Award for me?!!!!

Krystal at Mommy Escape has awarded 4-Frogs a Brilliante Weblog Award. Thank you Krystal! What a nice surprise :0)



Now its time to spread the love! Here are the rules: -

1. The winner can (and should, really) put the logo on his/her blog
2. The winner must link to the person from whom they received their award.
3. The winner must nominate at least 7 other blogs for an award.
4. The winner must place links to those blogs on their own blog.
5. The winner must leave a message on the blogs of the people they’ve nominated.


My Picks are:

Christine from Day Sixty seven

Amy at Fall 7 Timeswho's blog I just started reading after meeting Amy herself at a Special Ed Law conference - I think she is Brilliante too :0)

Trish at Another Piece of the Puzzle

Lonestar818 at Everyday Adventures

Bitsy at My Inner Bitsy

Mia's Mama at Life with the Snapper

Nerdy Mom at Born Just Right


These moms always inspire me with their creativity, advocacy, and humor. And these kiddos, just too cute for words, are also big inspirations just being themselves.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday Drive #4

This week my Sunday drive took me four and a half hours through a National Forest, around a salt water canal, through bright sunshine and torrential rain, all the way to a neighboring state.

Here is the view from my desk for the next few days:



I'm in downtown Portland, OR. I'm going to be learning about all the latest developments in Special Education School Law and racking up my continuing legal education credits.

Hubby will be teaching at Frog's School tomorrow and Grandma will take over for Tuesday and Wednesday. Diva has school, Strings Class, Ballet, and Gymnastics so she will be staying with Grandma for a few days.

But I won't be too lonely. My best friend (since I was 7!) Is on her way into town to meet me for dinner. A real honest to goodness Girls Night Out! And when I get back to my hotel, my roommates will be waiting for me:




This is Stanley and Hanu's first stay in a hotel. They think the bed is really big and bouncy. They were a little afraid to get too close to the window. They are going to stay in, order room service and watch TV while I go out tonight. Maybe they'll go swimming in the pool tomorrow :0)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Project is Up and Running

Remember these?




We've made more - and look who is wearing them now:








To find out who he is, where he's going and how you can get involved visit

The Many Adventures of Stanley and Silvia

Friday, September 19, 2008

Backyard

Slurping Life




I followed Frog around the yard today, trying to see things the way he does:





For more SOOC shots visit Slurping Life.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Thinking Spot

Frog has a new hideaway, a thinking spot if you will. Sometimes he goes there to escape. Sometimes he goes there to take in the vista or check on the neighbors. Sometimes he goes there to be secretive. Sometimes he calls out to be seen.

Yesterday - he went there to dance:










What he still hasn't figured out - how to get back down!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Gifts for the Shoemaker's Elves perhaps?



It's after midnight here on the West Coast. Frog is upstairs doing his moon dance and I'm still up doing this:







I don't sew, but I can cut and paste with the best of them. Keep checking in with 4-frogs for more news on this project.

For more Special Exposure Wednesday posts go to 5 Minutes for Special Needs.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Trampoline

I thought others might be interested in my reply to Hellokittymama's questions about our trampoline. Here is my response:

We've gone out of our way to make our house the most fun on the block. We host a lot of play dates and have a lot of kids around for Frog to watch and hopefully interact with. Diva says her favorite thing is to have her friends over because "when I have friends over my mom makes really yummy treats!"

Out of all the toys, therapy equipment, therapist visits, dietary changes, and educational interventions we've delved into - I'd have to say, the best money we've spent was on the swimming pool and the trampoline. The trampoline is relatively new. I don't think we've seen its full potential yet. But it is great for sensory input (vestibular and proprioceptive). It is a great workout - for Frog and for me. Frog does sleep better if he has a good jump. And he has started to learn things like taking turns, anticipating other kid's movements, cooperative jumping, and requesting the other kids to jump so he will be bounced up.

I looked at trampolines for years, but didn't bite until I found this model:





I was impressed with this design because there are no springs, no place for your foot to get caught, and the struts supporting the safety net are bowed outward and flexible so there is no real danger from crashing into the net near them. The most dangerous part of the trampoline is the assembly - which took some muscle and about 3 hours, but wasn't too difficult. Just make sure the kids are somewhere else while the assembly is going on. Yes it is incredibly expensive (I managed to get ours on sale and it was still expensive) but it didn't cost more than some of the therapy options we've tried and it gives better results. And it is fun for the whole family (jumping or watching).

We've had the trampoline up for about two months. It is a big hit with all the kids. Frog has figured out how to get into it and out of it on his own.

I am happy with and would recommend this product.

Change of Venue



What do you do when you have to get everything off the floor of your therapy/playroom, keep your child entertained but out of the house, and you need to be available to answer questions from the carpet cleaning technician?



Have a Circus!

Frog doesn't pay a whole lot of attention to all this stuff when it's inside - been there, done that. But when he spotted this set-up out in the yard he beamed (sorry for the pun) and beat on the window wanting to get out there. Nothing like a change of venue to make everything old - new again.

Diva was equally impressed when she came home from school and treated us to several new balance beam routines before ballet class :0).

For more Try It Tuesday ideas visit 5 Minutes for Special Needs.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Happy Harvest Moon

I missed the Harvest moonrise tonight while trying to get a couple of chickens to cook. Don't know if my oven thermometer is off or if chickens don't cook under a full moon :0).

It is just after 9:30pm on the West Coast. All the little Frogs have gone to bed - although my littlest may be partying later tonight. This is one big, bright, full moon!

Friday, September 12, 2008

One of the Gang

A friend of ours invited Frog and I to join a group of preschoolers who were hitting a playground after class.





Frog's friend yelled - "Hey Frog, get on the boat!" as soon as we arrived. The other kids were new to us. Some of them thought it was a little strange, how frog did not talk to them. They tried to engage him, and then went about their play. He played among them and had a great time.





I found this one amusing. I happened to catch the exact moment when Frog was the only one looking at another person.






Frog was thrilled when his friend decided to load up the bottom of the slide with pea-gravel, one of his favorite rocks! What a way to slide :0)

Thanks guys, we had a blast!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Beach Therapy

5 Minutes for Special Needs

See, hear, touch, smell, center -



Therapy Room



Sandbox



Water Table



Balance Beam



PT



Spinning



Sensory Integration



Om -


Go to 5 Minutes for Special Needs to see more SPECIAL EXPOSURE WEDNESDAY posts.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Where am I?



If your looking for the 4-Frogs Try This Tuesday post, you need to go HERE.

I'm guest blogging at 5 Minutes for Special Needs. Pop on over and say Hi!

Color Swirl

Here's an art project for kids who love water, but hate art projects - there's even a bit of science involved:

Frog has never been into arts and crafts. The fine motor skills, attention requirements, static visuals, and low proprioceptive input drive him away from any activity that involves sitting or standing still at a table and focusing on one thing. He will sample the textures and bite of the art supplies by putting them in his mouth, but then he is off and running.

I believe we all need a creative outlet so I've spent a lot of time thinking about "other ways" to be creative. I've concluded that, for Frog, the sensory aspects of the activity need to be just right in order to make it motivating and fulfilling. This was the genesis of the Color Swirl.

We are a DIR/Floortime family. Going back to basics I know, even in a semi-structured activity, I want to follow Frog's lead. I know that he needs deep proprioceptive input and likes to squeeze things. I know he can't resist water, especially moving water, and he will put everything in his mouth. I know he loves to be outside and he loves to move.

Putting all of this together, I decided to make Gak, a mixture of cornstarch and water which produces a colloid. When mixed just right, the Gak will be solid under pressure when you squeeze it in your hand, but will turn to a runny liquid when the pressure is released. I mixed two boxes of generic cornstarch with water outside in Frog's water table.

I got the Gak just about right. Frog took one feel and ran away.

This is not unusual, and I knew that if I left the mixture he would probably be back. But I decided to change it up a little. I added more water until I had a very milky looking liquid. Then I added four or five drops each of various colors of food coloring. The slight breeze began to move the colors around. When I dipped a couple of fingers in I could see, by the movement of the colors, how the water reacted to my touch. I brought Frog back to the table, and this time he stayed, experimented and watched. It reminded me of my old Magic Window toy - only this one you could really touch!

Even cooler, we could make art over and over by stirring our colors all together and starting over with new food coloring drops. After an hour of playing with the water, Frog came back to the table when all of the cornstarch had settled out. He climbed into the table and came up with the original Gak on his own. Here's a sampling of Frog and Mom's art

video

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sunday Drive #3



Looking North



Looking South



Frog and Diva somewhere in between



Followed by Sunday Dinner at Grandma's House



For more Sunday Drive Photos visit Up North Mommy

Saturday, September 06, 2008

SOOC Saturday

Melody at Slurping Life has started posting SOOC on Saturday. SOOC stands for "Straight Out Of Camera" - no editing allowed. I think this is a great idea - A fun quick post for a busy Saturday! Visit her blog and check the comments for links to other SOOC postings.

Here is my first SOOC offering:

With or without?



There were originally 4 cookie faces. Frog waited so patiently for me to frost the first cookie, then slowly assemble the face, naming each part as I went. When he was finally allowed to take his coveted prize, he ran off, cookie in mouth, then stopped suddenly. The screaming commenced - pausing only occasionally to gulp a breath or wipe frantically at his tongue.

I had already tasted the cookies and frosting - they weren't that bad. After a struggle to look into the wailing mouth to check for cracked teeth or bleeding checks or tongue, it was finally decided that Frog does not like almond extract. He spent the next half hour in the bathtub rinsing his mouth with water, soap, toothpaste. After the bath he ate all the chips he could get his hands on. Over the next two days he managed the eat the bulk of the UN-frosted cookies. I did not have to worry about him getting into and making a mess with the purple frosting.