Sunday, July 25, 2010


It’s been a productive week for Will’s programming, a little upsetting but exciting too.  Will has done an activity schedule since he was three or four.  For the last few months I wanted to change the setup.  He used a three ring binder that had choices of activities velcroed on the first page.  He’d pick an activity, put the word on the Velcro in the middle of a page, do the activity, turn the page, and pick another activity.  Neither Joan nor I were thrilled with the activities as many of them weren’t age appropriate but it’s hard to come up with new ones.

Will is eleven.  When he is twenty I don’t want him flipping colored plastic pages in a three-ring binder choosing activities.  He doesn’t need that level of support now.  He will even stick out more if he does that in nine years.  I thought about how to change it for a while and came up with a recipe card box.  

On the inside of the lid I wrote “Activity Schedule” 

I am all done.

This was a big change from before when he knew how many activities to do based on how many colored pages there were before the “I am all done” page.

Then I wrote on three green cards:  Choose from these activities, Working On and Done.  On a pink card I wrote I’m done.  I wrote on individual cards activities he can choose from and put a timer in the box because many activities have a time limit.  The idea is that he will pick an activity from his choice pile, move the card to Working On, then when he is finished move the card to the done pile.  

The hardest part of doing an activity schedule for Will is coming up with activities he can do independently.  He’d rather play on the computer, or iPad or listen to music all day.  But I think it’s important that he has non-electronic activities as well.  I’m trying to expand his interests.  Joan worked on a word search with him this week.  He likes it but it’s hard.  It’s fascinating how it works with him.  I tried doing word searches with him over a year ago.  He loves letters, spelling, typing, writing so I knew if he figured it out he would probably love it.  And then he would have a leisure skill for life!  But he wasn’t ready.  Now he is.  I tried to teach him how to use a keyboard when he was little and gave up in frustration, a year later he came home from school and could do it – and hasn’t stopped since.  It’s hard to come up with things he likes.  But if we don’t spend sometimes significant amounts of time teaching him how to do something he can’t make that determination.  So, often we spend a lot of time teaching him how to play a game, for example, only to find out he doesn’t like it.  Or does he?  It’s complicated.  When we walk down the street sometimes I try to explain things.  Occasionally he’ll listen.  But often he says, “All done.”  Translation: stop talking before I pinch you.

On Wednesday, he picked legos as a choice in his activities schedule.  He stuck legos haphazardly on the clear plastic ignoring the design below he was suppose to copy.  Suddenly a light went on my head.  He was BORED!  I ran in the playroom and grabbed a couple handfuls of legos.  I put them in front of Will.  He started playing with them.  I hate it when people underestimate Will because of his disability and verbal scripting!  And I hate it even more when I do it!  Even though Will needed to start with learning to play with legos by copying designs, he was past that.  And suddenly I realized that he had been past that point for several months.  He doesn’t verbally acknowledge boredom with activities and will continue to choose activities he doesn’t like because he is rigid.  I need to step up my game.
Joan and I also started doing dry showers with Will during his therapy session.  I’d like him to be able to shower independently by the time he is a teenager.  With a dry shower Will keeps on his clothes and pretends to take a shower.  Then I follow up by doing it with him when he takes one.  I like the dry shower because it’s more respectful of his privacy.  If we have to, we can give him a real shower but I don’t think we will.

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