Monday, July 21, 2008

PECS and other stuff...

We had speech therapy last week and one of the tasks Beth gave me is to put some of Harlie's toys up and out of her reach. So, when she wants one, she has to use the PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) to tell me. So I selected the toys that correspond to pictures we have and put those pictures on one page. Now if she wants one, she just takes the picture off the page and hands it to me. I worked with her today on it, and she did just great. I really feel like she "gets" it. She really amazes me.

Another task she gave me was to try to incorporate the PECS into our normal day - not just to use it with asking for specific toys. This might sound easy, but it isn't. I know it is very important, but sometimes it feels like just another "thing" I have to do. Sounds negative, but it's really just a time and energy (lack thereof) thing. But I tried working on that tonight and she did great. I used the pictures for going upstairs, bath, shorts, shirts (for putting on her pjs), book (she always asks for a book when she comes out of the bath), diaper, crib and sleep. She did great.

In fact, I am so excited about this... I put her on the floor and told her she could go and get a book. I put the PECS book down with the pictures on the front page and walked away to do something. Harlie stood at the chair with the PECS book and found the picture for "book" and handed it to me. I didn't even ask her to do that - so it is very clear that she completely understands the concept! I can't wait to tell Beth about that.

So, we are still battling her issue with the HME. Today she completely cracked me up (okay, that happens every day). We looked at her and she didn't have it on and Brandy said to her, "Harlie, where's your HME"? And she started looking all around for it! It's almost as if she is saying "Oh! It's off? Huh, where did that thing go"? And the times that she does find it (as I said before, she hides it so finding it sometimes takes a while) she will put it back on and smile. At dinner tonight she took it off and handed it to me. I mean, how blatant is that??? Scolding her for removing it does nothing (obviously). I've tried. Tonight, after she took it off (and I say no, of course) I took away the toy she was playing with as punishment. She didn't care. She just started smiling at Murphy. Nothing seems to bother her. I have a feeling that discipline will be one of our biggest challenges... Great.

Oh, last night as I was getting the kids ready for bed, they started playing in Harlie's closet (there's a toy basket in there) and Harlie found a pair of shoes that she can't wear because of her braces (plus they are still a little too big). Anyway, she signed "shoes" and wanted to put them on. Well, Murphy saw her and went over and helped her. He put the right shoe on the right foot, undid the straps, put them on and redid the straps. It was so funny. And it was so nice to see her doing a normal, toddler, girly thing - walking around in funny shoes. I had no idea how helpful he would be at 4 years old. He will even tell me when Harlie needs to be suctioned. They are too funny.

Oh, Murphy had his first swimming lesson with the Morgan School today. It went really well. I dropped him off and met with the instructor for a few minutes before leaving his sight. He was completely fine and got right in the pool with her and told me bye and went on about his business like it was nothing. When I came back to get him 30 minutes later the instructor had him show me what he learned. She put him under the water and gave him a little push toward the wall and he had to get himself the rest of the way (while staying underwater) to the wall before he could get his head up. I was a nervous wreck because I had no idea he could hold his breath that long, but he did great! He just came up and acted like it was nothing! Then she had him float on his back for 5 seconds. I was so impressed that much was accomplished in just 30 minutes on the first day! He goes everyday until Thursday, and then starts again on Monday through Thursday of next week and that's it. He said he wasn't scared and that he was proud of himself. So, I'm excited about that.

Well, that's enough rambling for tonight. Talk to you later!

Take care,
Christy

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