Friday, February 25, 2011

iGenius

For several weeks I've had a post mulling around in my brain about touch-screen devices and how they have opened up a new world for my son. I've been tired and sluggish due to the weather and the post has gone unwritten, but now that Marissa's Bunny is giving away iPads (based on need) and those who complete the (rather lengthy) survey in my ad rotation this cycle also have a chance of winning an iPad, I thought it was about time to get writing.

I don't know why I didn't jump for joy when I first saw the iPod touch being introduced. And then the iPad. I mean, DUH?!! It's PERFECT.

Think about it. Have you ever attempted to teach a child, typically developing or not, how to use a computer mouse? If you do, I suggest spiking your Kool-Aid first. It's awful. You might as well be teaching your cat. Not to say some kids don't naturally "get it," because they do. Somehow they understand the relationship between the tiny arrow on the screen, the mouse, and their hand. They understand to some extent that the arrow has to stay inside a certain area on the screen and that the mouse has two buttons. They are able to press and drag, not bang and shake.

But a touch screen? You see what you want and you TOUCH IT. Just like real life. It's tactile, it's intuitive, and it takes away that awful middle rodent. Brilliant.

I walked in to pick up Punkin from school a few weeks ago and he was playing an online computer game at the Smart Board. It's basically a giant touch screen that from what I understand is connected to the school's server. He was dragging, with his hand, a capital B over to another capital B. Then a lower-case B floated out and he dragged it over to the appropriate corner. "B, Mom. Buh. B."

I think I drooled when my mouth hit the floor.

The next week his teacher showed me her personal iPad that she brings to school. She's downloaded a number of applications for him to use including a dinosaur that he talks to and feeds, a letter tracing game, and a balloon popping game that they use to work on one-to-one correspondence counting.

Of course my first thought was that he needed one of these written into his IEP, but then I remembered an email about name brands or something and his teacher brought it up before I could ask. "They said they won't approve these for anyone." I don't know how they can get away with that, and there very well may be other products out there that they will approve, but in the meantime he's lucky to have the smart board and a generous teacher.

It's just so awesome to me that he's able to participate in something that would otherwise have a serious barrier in the way. He wants to use a mouse, but he can't and it's frustrating. Touch screens are easy and fun. He's playing while he's learning and it doesn't make a mess at all!

I can only imagine what the implications would be when he's older -- sequencing pictures to follow directions to get dressed, make cereal, all of the morning routines. It's a step towards independence, that word we all search after so diligently.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

you bought what?

Do you remember the barking? Oh, the barking. We sometimes still struggle with the barking. So why would I buy my son a pair of stuffed puppies you ask? What's that? Do I need a head slap? Maybe. Why would I allow an $8 puppy and his $8 twin in my home with a barking owner?

Because he's cute. He's really, really cute. When we were in the store he opened two books and had them each read. They were READING. He's been longing after them for months, so when he received Valentine's Day money I figured we could splurge. And honestly I thought the novelty would wear off as soon as we got home. But it's been several days and after the third time he dunked them in the toilet and was without them for several hours while they were being washed, it became apparent that these fluffy friends are something special.

I had washed them in my sink and my mom took them to dry them. We called her before bed to reassure Punkin he would get his puppies back after school the next day and he was not to be consoled. He yelled, "GIVE MY PUPPIES BACK! NOW," smacked the phone, cried because "I hit Oma," apologized, and then hit the phone again. Of course Opa drove them over right away. We couldn't torture the poor child, funny as it was.

And yes, I did just gloss over the fact that my son repeatedly dunks his prized possessions in the crapper, because if I spend too much time thinking about it those fur balls might just end up flushed. By me.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

see, mom? see?!

I CAN have both Fruit Loops and Frosted Flakes for breakfast. Hehehe. You said I could only have one at a time. You're so silly.

doctor prescribed swimming? okay!

Apparently some people are incapable of, or perhaps just unwilling to, park at a 90 degree angle. Maybe they were sick that day in driver's education or maybe they were just so bad at it that the instructor decided, "You know what, it's not that big of a deal. We'll just move on." I suppose it isn't that big of a deal, but it sure is annoying.

You know what else is annoying? I clean my bathroom, or at the very least the toilet, almost every day and yet it stinks like a barn in there. Is it just the result of having a young child in the house? WHERE IS THE HIDDEN PEE???

These were the thoughts running through my head yesterday as I drove Punkin to one of his favorite places, occupational therapy. For the past few weeks we've been able to use the pool for his sessions, and he is in heaven.

The first week he yelled at me because I didn't bring my swimming suit, too, so I've been sure to "go wimming" the past few weeks as well. She likes to put wet towels around his neck/back and have him look for foam letters floating in the water. And yesterday they worked on pre-scissor skills by squeezing alligator squirters through a target. His favorite, though, is when he lays on a foam raft and she spins him 10 times in one direction and then 10 times in the opposite direction. It's amazing how calm he is the rest of the day and the next morning. It's my favorite.

So no matter how hectic Wednesday afternoons can be because I'm rushing to gather our swim stuff, drive us across town, get him changed, get him dried off and changed again, and then make it home in time for respite so that I can run errands, I LOVE THERAPY. And we love swimming.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

i'm so proud


Things were getting slightly out of hand at the Little People House, so Punkin stepped in with some Potty Training advice.
After a few one-on-one lessons, the guys seemed ready to go out on their own.
Everyone agrees the atmosphere is much more civilized now.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

pajama day

It was a pajama day, I mean a snow day, at our house. Punkin spent most of the day playing with magnetic shapes and his train. It was awesome. Tomorrow will be more of the same as the city deals with Snowpocalypse 2011. It was not so awesome for my dad, who works at a car dealership and spent the day digging out the lot.

My dad is like me; he's not much of a game-player. And I'm not being metaphorical here. I'm lovingly referring to those structured activities my Aunt and I have dubbed BORED games. He'll play them, certainly more willingly and more often than me, but he's not as into them as my mom and sister. But maybe that's because they cheat (right, dad?).

Despite how I feel about games, I find myself itching to introduce them to Punkin. I have a couple, including Candyland, which goes better each time we play, but it's just not a fantastic experience. The rules, even when simplified, require waiting, sitting, and listening. There's also the issue of not throwing the pieces all over the kitchen.


At Christmas he received the game Don't Wake the Hulk. I didn't even look at it. I thought, "No way am I attempting this." Well, yesterday we had time and I had a familiar feeling of invincibility that creeps up and makes me attempt things like homemade Christmas presents. So I got it out and with some minor adjustments, we played a game. And then he asked to play it again!

I should have known, though. Hulk goes night-night and you press the button to try not to wake him. It's perfect! We live for the night-night game at this house. "Seep! Night-night! Wake up! Morning! Lay down! Night-night!" Of course Punkin wants to wake Hulk. Punkin also thinks he is, "Awww. So tute."