Sunday, August 28, 2016

Preschool Day Medieval Theme

I am always looking for new activities to do with the kids- to give them exposure to new things, cultures, places, and people. We not only have great discussions about a wider variety of subjects, it also gives the kids an opportunity to learn to behave in more diverse situations. Plus, it is FUN!!!!

OUTING: This weekend, we dressed up and went to the Renaissance Faire here in Utah (in the USA), starting with a jousting tournament. While we were there, we talked all about knights, horses, jousting, kings, and other such things. Chelsea was very lucky and received a rose from the 10 time world champion knight! We watched him win the jousting tournament!

ART: Before we left, we packed our banquets/ feasts in paper bags (gotta get in those new vocabulary terms!), but what better way to practice that pincer grasp than to peel off knight stickers and put them on our lunch bags??

SONG: I changed up "If you're happy and you know it" to "If you're a knight and you know it!" It went:

If you're a knight and you know it, clap your hands! *clap clap*
If you're a knight and you know it, clap your hands! *clap clap*

If you're a knight and you know it, then you'll fight with all your might-
If you're a knight and you know it, clap your hands! *clap clap*

(We also did "draw your sword" and "mount your horse", things like that. I just started with "clap your hands" so that they knew the tune)

Here is a link to a video of the song if you don't know the tune.

BOOKS: We love the "Knight and the Dragon" book by Tomie dePaola! It is super cute and hilarious! An easy read for short attention spans! Because my son is also super into knights and fighting, we also haunted our local library and checked out books on how armor was made, lifestyles of knights in medieval Europe, etc. Just base your learning on where your child is at!

OT: I found this puzzle about a year ago, and love it! It is certainly difficult (I won't say how long it took me to figure out that dragon!), but so fun to do, and great for rotating hands! Chelsea can do some of the pieces now, just because we did the puzzle so many times and she knows how to do some of the knight and dog.

GAMES: We did two games for this learning weekend! The first one was "Sir Gaston says" or "Lady Chelsea says", just like Simon Says, but with a medieval twist! The other was pretending to be a knight while riding on the Mommy horse. During this game, I would try to sway and rock a lot, to get Chelsea to really work hard on her core strength. See, you can sneak therapy into ANYTHING!!! I looked ridiculous though, so here is a picture of Chelsea with a different knight instead!

SPEECH: For speech, we worked on prepositions! We used Chelsea's princess castle and my son's action figure knights to work on things like "Put the knight behind the castle" or "Put the knight on top of the castle". We worked on in, out, top, next to, behind, and around. The picture below isn't mine.


Happy learning!!!! Preschoolers are SOOOO much fun!!!


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Navigating Specialists

In order to see any kind of doctor or specialist, you need to fill out 10-50 pages of paperwork. I put together files to make this paperwork MUCH easier now! I keep it in the front section of her binders for easy access, and just bring the binder to the appointments.

One thing that new doctors always ask is who Chelsea has seen prior to this, and for their contact information. For this, I made a simple chart in Microsoft Word. Use 5 columns and as many rows as needed, and then I go chronologically. So:

Date         Name          Occupation         Email         Phone

Then I put in the year they worked with Chelsea, the name of the person, their occupation (School OT, private speech therapist, pediatrician, neurologist, dentist, etc). Boom, done. I update it any time I have a new person.

Medical Conditions

Again, all doctors want to know about the medical conditions. For us, I need to remember about 10 different disorders, and I sometimes forget who diagnosed and when, etc. So make another chart!!! This one just needs 3 columns, because the person who did the diagnosing should have their contact information in the above chart.

Date Diagnosed        Who Diagnosed        Diagnosis

This made me laugh

Growth Chart

I 've had professionals ask about birth head circumference when Chelsea was 4 years old. So keep records!!! Your pediatrician should have these stats if you have been taking them in for well-child check-ups. I track weight, length, and head circumference up to about 3 years old, then just weight and height after that. So just do 4 columns of Date/ Height/ Weight/ Head circumference. Easy Peasy!

Developmental Milestones

I was fortunate to start a journal when Chelsea was born, so I had records of all her milestones, and ALL professionals want to know this! So just 3 column chart with date, developmental milestone, and any notes. This would include things like- first time imitating a sound, first word, first steps, roll over, starting pairing words into phrases, etc.  

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Organizing Those Papers

Any parent of a special needs child knows about paperwork. Oh holy batman, the paperwork! Papers for schools, insurance, doctors, government... *shudder* When I was first figuring out about Chelsea's disorders, I just had an overstuffed folder and shoved all the papers in there. Couldn't find a thing without half an hour of shuffling through.

I knew a redo was in order, and now have binders. Glorious binders! for each school year (and one fore early intervention). I find it easier to file papers this way rather than by calendar year because the school sends SOOOOO many papers and I keep paper trails, so school year works best for me.


Step 1: Find all those papers! Everything you need- receipts from therapy (tax deductible, so save them!), prior written notice of meetings from the schools... everything! You can request files from the school, doctors, etc. They have copies. Make one (or several) massive piles in a place away from the kids!

Step 2: Buy colored binders, sheet protectors (hit Costco and get hundreds), tab dividers. For binders, get all the same color, and use a color you don't usually use. I use bright pink. For the tab dividers, DO NOT get the paper ones- they won't be seen once your papers are in sheet protectors. Get those huge colored ones with write on tabs!

Step 3: Sort all papers chronologically- school year, calendar year, by 6 month period, whatever you want and feel comfortable with. This will take forever and a day, depending on how old your child, how many papers you have, and how much patience you have.

Step 4: Label those bad boy binders! I cut strips of cardstock and labeled them as what would be inside (date-wise). Put tab dividers and about a hundred sheet protectors into each binder.

So easy to find things now!

Step 5: Put the papers into sheet protectors in the correlating binder. Don't worry about where it is in the binder. Just get those papers safe inside each binder!

Step 6: Now, label the tabs. For early intervention, I only have tabs for the date, and one for receipts. For preschool, I have tabs for IEPs/ progress reports, evaluations, my paper trail, receipts, and miscellaneous. 

Now that we are going into kindergarten, I have 8 tabs (IEPs, evaluations, progress reports, receipts, notes, paper trail, DSPD (government services), and insurance)

Step 7: NOW you can file! Sort the papers into the correct tab division in the right binder. All the papers that I have to type still (notes from meetings, lecture notes, etc), I keep in the front binder.

Step 8: Hooray!!!! The hard stuff is all done now! All you have to do now is keep it up! I spend 10 minutes a day on this, just have a box on my to-do list for it. That means putting in new papers, typing up notes, reviewing evaluations, etc. Doesn't it look pretty???

Way to go!!!! YOU ARE DONE!!!!

Image result for all done with papers

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Preschool Day Pirate Theme

It has been a long time since I wrote about one of our preschool days! We did this one a little while ago, but it was so much fun!!!!

Treasure Hunt!!!

For this, I drew a map and my husband put together some super cute clues for their treasure hunt! Little prizes were at each stop (eye patches, glittery necklaces, chocolate coins, etc)

1. "Climb the rigging, up to the crow's nest. The view from Lookout Point, from up there is best"

2. "Head to the galley where cooking fires glow. A treasure can be found by searching high and low"

3. "Shark Bay is the place where the water glitters like gold, Search around for some cans you can hold!"

4. "The Fearsome Fence of No Return is perched high in the daytime sky. Find here some pirate gear to cover your eye"


We read "Pirate Princess" and "How I Became a Pirate" and several other fun books with pirates (peter pan, etc)

Do OT Activities!

For this, we played Pop Up Pirate, where we sticks swords into little slots on a barrel. We also strung little pirate beads onto pipe cleaners. If you can sneak in tummy time during OT, all the better!

Other Ideas:
  • Go to a park with a ship theme and play pirates
  • Watch the Super Why "Beach Day Mystery"
  • Sing "A Pirate's Life for Me" or "What do we do with a lazy pirate?"
  • Follow an alphabet trail to a prize at the end
  • Put sticker dots on a pirate octopus, then count up stickers, legs, etc
  • Dress up as pirates and talk about the colors of the pirate clothes
  • Glue "jewels" onto a paper treasure chest
  • Walk the plank! (balance beam)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

SATB2 School Prep 2

I already wrote about the first 3 pages in the yearly folders in SATB2 School Prep 1. These are the other pages I put in the folder.

4. Osteopenia and Seizure Information!

My little gal has complex partial seizures and osteopenia, and it is important to let the IEP team know why she looks zoned out, and why she needs extra help in APE (adapted physical education).

5. Questions for IEP Team Members

I go back and forth on how to address this every year. Part of me wants to grill each member of the team right then and there, but I also don't want them feeling put on the spot or attacked. Other times, I tried asking questions in a 1:1 setting, but again, they felt grilled. *sigh* Does anyone else feel frustrated when we are constantly told to "advocate, advocate, advocate" and when we do, people say their feelings are hurt and your relationship deteriorates? But I digress. I already wrote about Questions to Ask your SLP and IEP team.

This year, I am putting the questions in each team member's folder about Chelsea, and asking that they respond to the questions they feel comfortable answering when they have the time. Ask the aides what they feel their purpose is! Is it just changing diapers, or actually contributing to the child's education? In what way? 

I am also adding questions for the principal/ district personnel:

  • How do you select the teachers and therapists that work in your school?
  • How do you make your teachers and therapists better?
  • Is professional development individualized or is everyone all together?
  • Every school has a weakness. What, in your opinion, is this school's weakness?
  • What is your expectation for special needs students?
  • How do you want parents involved in this school?
  • Do you think effort or results matter more for a typically-developing child? Does your answer change if the question is about a special needs child?
  • How do you measure success? (As in, do they have a clear mission? Long, vague answers do not indicate that they have a clear purpose/ mission)
  • How do you keep raising the bar to find out what kids can do?
6. Apraxia Information!

My first 2 years of doing these pages... Oh my poor team. 5 pages of solid type explaining in detail the intricacies of this neurological disorder, all the effects it had on everything... I doubt anyone read it all the way through. So now- KISS! Keep It Simple, Stupid! If you can, toss in info on how it affects your child at school. That makes the team happy.