Sunday, May 25, 2008

No More Training Wheels and Other Summer Challenges

School's out and we are all excited to have a break from the hectic pace and early morning schedule.  We have a short summer due to year round school. The kids will start again July 14th.  Lil' Expert will start 2nd grade, Storytellin' Boy will start kindergarten and Brown-eyed Gal will start her speech preschool three days a week. Three kids in some sort of school, amazing!

I talked about Lil' Expert's challenges with Asperger's Syndrome in Life on the Spectrum. One of the continuing issues that he struggles with is his fine motor skill development.  This has made it tough for him to do things that come easy for many kids. We are going to face a few of these tasks head on over summer break. Learning to ride a bike, learning to tie shoes, and practicing writing will be our three areas of focus.

Lil' Expert has been slow to learn to pedal and has had trouble with coordination and balance. I ordered a Wallaby Vest which is supposed to help speed up the process and make it less strenuous on the parents. Lil' Expert really wants to learn to ride his bike. I think determination is half the battle.

In this day in age, we have been able to avoid shoe tying because velcro shoes have been so readily available. Again, this is a skill that takes dexterity and small movements with your hands. Lil' Expert is getting older and most shoes now require tying. He has had to ask the teacher, or one of his friends at school to help him. We have ordered a book with big laces and will start practicing with the book and then hopefully move on to shoes.  

The third thing we will continue to practice is writing. This has been an ongoing struggle and I am so proud of the strides Lil' Expert has made. In Kindergarten, because of his hypotonicity (low tone in muscles) Lil' Expert had trouble grasping his pencil and applying enough pressure to write. Now, he is writing so much better, but he tires easily and it is difficult to read his writing. The occupational therapist from school has sent me a kid's typing program and we will also follow a program called handwriting without tears. If handwriting continues to be a problem, Lil Expert will be eligible to have a computer supplied by the school to type some of his assignments as handwriting becomes more of an emphasis.

I always want to find the balance between being to pushy and helping Lil' Expert live up to his full potential. Storytellin' boy is also ready for some of these challenges. Hopefully, it will be a joint effort and we can make these activities fun to fill our summer days. We will also have plenty of swimming, movies, and computer games to balance out the hard work.    

1 comment:

Nate's Mom said...

I jumped over from the BeDesign site. This post caught my attention. I have a 7 year old with sensory integration disorder (SID). He has low muscle tone too. It has been hard watching his 5 year old brother accomplish things ahead of him (riding a bike, tying shoes). He has come so far with OT. Good luck on your summer plans.

We did handwriting without tears and our school gave Jacob and alpha writer. It sounds like you are on top of the school stuff. That's great, it's sad how many children don't get the services/accommodations they need because their parents don't know their rights. Go mom!

Sheri in CA