Sunday, January 5, 2014

Peace & Visuals

For a few years, different therapists have been using visual supports for Quinny- showing her a picture instead of giving her a verbal prompt.
And while the teachers and therapists have had wonderful success with this tool, implementing the concept at home has been hard.
I felt like it was anti- cozy: here, look at this itty picture instead of a verbal/ emotional connection with me.
And I was exhausted- setting up visuals, breaking down routines, actions, thoughts, emotions...can't we just limp along?
But then I wised up.
Just the sound of words, can be overwhelming not just to a kid with neurodevelopmental disabilties, but for most kiddos.
Giving a child a visual cue in place of a nagging mom, can help develop more independence, more self worth.
Blah blah blah...
So. I did it.
I even took a class at Portland State University one Saturday.
If I was going to do this, I needed guidance, and a phone number to call when in the middle of this horrifically hard organizational world, I could call and yell, "what the hell do I do now!?!"
But my friends, I bucked up, I did it, and I didn't even need to call for help!

Our first visual board was that for the morning hours.
I refused to use the visuals that the schools and therapists use.
Yes, it might make it easier for QLou to learn the method at home, with having the same visual- but I still couldn't get over the coldness I felt when putting lamination between me and my kid.
I could, however, get over it if I knew she was staring at a softer, more gentle image.
(Similar vanity barrier of mine when making her the sensory vest...I'm picking my battles, I promise).

For a lady mama, whose least able skill is that of organization, this has been a test of tenacity.
But I really do see the benefit, and if I ask my kids to work hard, working on becoming a best versions of themselves- I better be in the frey, right along side.

All magnetic!
They just scoot those little pieces to the "finished" side, once their to do is complete.

This is just the start.
Next I have to label all of our bins for toys, art, lovies...
Then, a few visual boards to help with certain "sticking points" (ie. Fixations).
One for in the home, one for out and about.
Here is the start of the home anti-fixation board:
(Quinny gets stuck/ fixates when her anxiety is getting the best of her- they call it "coping behaviors". She'll hold on to a single thought or train of thought with every ounce of soul that kid has got until I either a. Give in or B. Meltdown.
Having a visual "list" of ways she can self-regulate will teach her coping skills that will come in handy in her life, tomorrow and when she's 35.
(Ie. She feels the anxiety rising, she goes and reads a book, or plays her puzzle, etc., to calm and distract).

With a beer in my right hand and magnets waiting to be cut, in my right-
I wish you all a beautiful, joy-filled new year.
May we all choose to make this world better with simple acts of kindness and endless amounts of empathy!