One Mom's Home Accommodations and Life Skills for Her NLD Son
At the suggestion of a school psychologist, we first replaced some
therapy for ds with specific activities to accomplish the same goals in 5th grade. It started when ds rebelled at the social skills group
& some related things he felt were just too goody goody. She suggested he train as a peer mediator & get active in drama club as a
way to develop interaction and social skills and more appropriate body language. It worked a lot better than the old social skills
class, because he was very motivated (peer mediators were very prestigious in his school, second only to the safety patrols) He
loved school plays and now takes drama as an elective. We used clarinet and piano for small motor skills since he always loved (and
still does) music...piano was a failure but he still picks up the clarinet to noodle more than a few times a week...In 8th grade we
replaced a lot of the PT with weight training, swimming and a daily mile walk to the METRO station. This coming year he will take PE for
life, which works on fitness and muscle toning regimens you can use after you are out of school....Now his guidance counselor is also
suggesting debate team next year which will build on those NLD verbal skills while helping him to learn to organize thoughts in outlines.
He is pretty happy with the idea...and flattered.
We also use a lot of household chores to help reinforce organization skills and perception of detail...emptying the dishwasher & putting everything away correctly. Successfully separating large forks from salad forks and soup spoons from teaspoons took more years than I could have imagined; sorting and doing laundry; edging the lawn...actually much more challenging than we thought. An OT suggested raking leaves with a big bamboo rake many years ago--She thought the rhythmic movements would help...I don't know if they did or not, but he is an excellent leaf raker these days. And we played catch and skeetball. Don't ask why, but catch -- with a pink rubber ball -- was a family past time. My late grandfather played catch and skeetball at the shore in the '20s...and we never stopped. It was always light and fun and ds played along, missing more than he ever caught. He chased a lot of balls into the waves but improved his skills yearly until the summer he was 12 when he could suddenly catch more than he missed...(His younger cousins never realized he couldn't catch. They thought he was teasing them by running into the ocean when they weren't allowed)
And - forgive me if you can - video games and computer games with joysticks. As noted before, they really do seem to hone that hand-eye coordination and the kids really spend enough time (oh dear) at it to make a difference.
As you can see, I am really big on mastering life skills and so we have done lots and lots around taking public transit, finding one's way, taking care of the dog, and managing laundry. Now we are on to cooking--if we can just get past cracking eggs....
Copyright Callie B. Gass