Taking the Scenic Route

Touring Magnet Schools on “Oma Day”

26th January 2011

Touring Magnet Schools on “Oma Day”

This semester, on Wednesday, my mom comes up to Speech Therapy to pick Zora up during Zane’s Friendship group and spends the day with her.  This time we are switching things up.  She is going to have a day with Zane instead.  He wants to go the Kansas Cosmosphere in Hutchinson and to “Subway, Eat Fresh”.  Zach got off work to go with Zora and I to tour different magnet schools.

By the end of the day, we think Earhart will make the top of the list, with Hyde a close second, and Buckner (the closest one) as our third choice.  We liked all the schools we went to, but those seemed to be the best fit for Zora’s personality.

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9th December 2010

Individual ST finishes for the semester.

In the waiting room, before the sessions.

It was the last semester with both of the kid’s student therapists this fall.

Zora & Michael, reading a story

sequencing it

retelling, with props

They had a lot of fun together this semester.  Michael following Zora’s instructions to “do a silly photo”.  Thank you Michael for letting yourself feel the silly.

Now, Corrissa has been with our family for a few semesters, and was Zora’s student ST for a while before she became Zane’s student ST.  She is somebody really special, both because of the length of time, and the quality of her work.  She is going to be a rockstar therapist in short order and who ever hires her is going to be very lucky.  I tease her that if I win the lottery, I am buying her services for life.  lol.

Goofyness was in the air I guess.  I seriously LOVE this series of photos.  Zane doesn’t often connect with somebody on this level.

And, the best for last:

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9th December 2010

Preschool Gingerbread House Party

The last time I will have an architect at the preschool Gingerbread House party.  As usual, Jennifer (the lead Clinical Educator for the preschool), went all out making each of the gingerbread houses.  They all include a light inside.  She bakes and assembles all of the houses herself.  That is commitment.

Designing the decorations is very serious business.

She included a hose on the back of the house.   :thumbsup:

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8th December 2010

End of Semester, Friendship Group

Another Semester Ends.

Working on a Lego project together.

Last time for Friendship group with Corissa & MacKenzie.  Zane showing the completed project.  We will see the twins again next semester, but both of the student therapists are moving on.

posted in Autistic Life, Friends, ST, Zane | Comments Off

15th July 2010

And, finally, the End of the Semster for the Social Skills Playgroup

Although “Friendship Group” is a social skills group, they had an additional Social Skill playgroup that he was able to participate in this year.  It took place about 15 minutes after one of the Friendship group times, but was a bit bigger.  We got to see some other kids we have made friends with over the years that weren’t in his current FG, and that was neat.

He got a kick out of Twister

The helpers are wearing their kid’s schedule around their necks to help with transitions (and probably to avoid the glut of kids checking their schedules on a wall someplace).  Zane isn’t as dependent on a schedule as he used to be, but in a group this big it really helps him cope.

This group is a lot more challenging for him and he would have never been able to participate in it in previous years, just because of the amount of people, the more chaotic (not bad chaos, just the natural “get a bunch of kids in the same room” chaos) environment, and the sheer amount of activity.  He was able to focus and complete instructions successfully.  He is getting closer to being able to handle a classroom situation, but at this point it would take a lot of anxiety meds on board if he had to do it routinely.  Doing it in a more controlled environment goes a long ways towards teaching him how to manage himself in this type of setting.  (the project he is working on is decorating t-shirts for the staff & helpers)

I am glad I get another semester to get a better picture of him with his student ST (well, mostly I am glad we get another semester with the ST in general).  Sadly, this was the closest to “looking at the camera” + “pleasant facial expression” in the group of pictures I took.  :laughn1:

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15th July 2010

End of Semester for Zora’s Speech Therapy too

Zora spent the summer doing individual ST once a week, and participating in a Phonological Awareness Playgroup once a week.  The group had a theme each week based on a book (I think this weeks was “Blueberries for Sal”, thus the themed snack) which targeted various phonological awareness skills, and they reinforced skills they worked on in individual ST.  I think it was also a peer model/ST client mixture of kids.  Since these kids aren’t on the spectrum a camera is much more intrusive, so I waited until the last day and just got a few photos.

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15th July 2010

End of Summer Friendship Group

Well, I didn’t catch pictures of them in their session this time around, but here is the majority of the group of kids.  There were a total of eight kids, a combination of kids on the spectrum and peer models.  The oldest peer model (not pictured) gave a talk about this as her 4H project this year, which I thought was pretty cool.

The shirts were from a group picture they made, and each decorated the back of the shirt. If I remember right, his hand prints are the orange ones, near the “P”s.  Zane is surprisingly attached to this shirt.  I actually had to dig it out of the laundry to take a picture of it because he keeps grabbing it as soon as it is clean to wear it.

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14th July 2010

End of Summer Speech Therapy

As I have said before, this summer we added a literacy & reading comprehension component to Zane’s therapy schedule.  It is a new venture, so we are all learning as we go, but I am quite pleased with how it is working out.  Since it is far more motivating for him if he is interested in the subject matter, we are using science as the backbone to build comprehension and vocabulary.  He has been creating a picture based vocabulary dictionary through the semester, as he learns new words, that is being used as a reference guide to teach him how to look things up if he doesn’t remember off the top of his head (word recall is difficult for him, even if he understands the concept). That is tied in to a science experiment that demonstrates the concept, requires reading and interpreting directions, plus writing out a brief description of the experiment (question being asked, hypothesis, ect) based on the scientific method.  She includes a lot of visual supports, as you can see in this picture.

Zane HATES writing.  At home we have to do the majority of scribing for him because he struggles with trying to do the mechanical process/motor planning involved with writing, especially when trying to create meaningful content.  I had to seperate the components out to get anything done on the majority of schoolwork, and continue to include Handwriting as a stand alone component to keep hitting the motor skills.  We are now trying to begin the process of integrating the two of them together by encouraging him to write himself instead of dictating and having us scribe.  To motivate him, he gets a marble if he completes the small writing task himself, and no marble if he asks for help.  At the end of the session, he gets to take all of the marbles earned and drop them in a marble run.

Notice I refrained from any comments on the “Zane’s Marbles” jar.  What restraint I have.

And, the last minute or two of the hour is spent with the marble run.  (most of the pictures of this were blurry because he was excited and flapping like a madman.  lol)

posted in Autistic Life, Language Development, ST, Zane | Comments Off

7th July 2010

Science Experiment

This summer we added a literacy component to Zane’s ST schedule, focusing on Reading Comprehension.  Since he loves science and doing science experiments, that is the vehicle we are using to help develop comprehension and writing skills.

This session’s experiment was putting Mentos into various kinds of soda pop to see which had the strongest reaction.  By the end of the experiment, he was wet and sticky from pop hitting him.  He kept licking himself.  :laughn1:

(photos from a combination of my cranky cell phone (first one), and the video the Clinical Educator is taking in this photo)

posted in Autistic Life, Giggle, ST, Zane | Comments Off

6th May 2010

Last Day of Preschool

Zach took Zora to her last day of Preschool.  They were planting flowers and decorating the flowerpots for Mother’s Day.

She was very proud of her flowers.

It was a great year, with lots of growth, and I can’t wait until next fall when we can do it all again.

posted in ST, School, Zora | Comments Off

  • Zane's age

  • Zane is 22 years, 6 months, and 21 days old
  • Zora's age

  • Zora is 18 years, 6 months, and 25 days old
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