Thursday, November 15, 2007

Music Therapy

"Music therapy is the prescribed, structured use of music and music strategies by a trained music therapist to influence changes in the learning or behavior patterns of a child. It is one of the related services listed in both the federal and state laws pertaining to the education of individuals with disabilities."

"Music can be an effective learning tool for many children with disabilities. The effectiveness of this tool varies from child to child and music therapy is definitely not a miracle cure for any type of disability. However, since music is processed by a different area of the brain than speech and language, a child may be able to more easily absorb information and skills presented with music. Music is also motivating and fun, which is useful when working with a child who demonstrates low motivation to learn."

From -- Riverbend Down Syndrome Parent Support Group

Someday we would like to find a music therapist for Wade, but for now we just let him express his musical prowess unsupervised.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

School Photos

Wade’s School Days

Massaging cheeks (outside and inside) and lips
Providing a chewy tube and vibrating toys to bite on, making sure to motivate him to move his tongue from side to side (if he really isn't interested in biting on the chewy tube, dip it in Pixie Stick powder—yum, yum!)
Making all feeding times part of therapy by having him drinking from a short straw to encourage the correct backwards tongue movement and by spoon-feeding with a straight in-and-out movement to encourage him to close his lips to clear the spoon himself
Playing games with little animals and flashcards to help him learn to imitate sounds
Using sign language along with spoken words to help facilitate communication from early on
Trying to help him learn to blow his hierarchy horn
Fine Motor Skills:
Practicing picking up small objects—food especially, for example pulling cheerios off pipe cleaner
Practicing pulling pop-beads apart
Playing in a bucket of rice—feeling, dropping, throwing, eating (Oh, no! Quick, put his pacifier in!)
Playing with edible play dough (fun, fun, fun)
Learning to drink from a recessed-lid cup with handles
Gross Motor Skills:
Pushing to sit from a prone position
Practicing catching himself when he's pushed off-balance (we sometimes roll him on a ball to do this)
Walking along the couch while holding on (at this point we have to move his legs ourselves in order for him to do this)
Learning to crawl
Learning to crawl!
Learning to crawl!!!
(We had to laugh when we saw on one of his reports that he "crawls with maximum assistance". A better description would be that he crawls with maximum resistance! He thinks if he can roll to get somewhere, then why go to all the agony of crawling? But this past week he has finally started doing his version of a belly-crawl! Woo-hoo-hoo! We worked long and hard for that! It's difficult bending someone into an m, when he thinks he should be an l
or sometimes a u.)

Practicing walking
(He loves walking and would do it all day if he could. At first I walked with him on the treadmill to get him into the idea of bending his knees and putting one foot ahead of the other. I had to lift up on each side under his arms in order to get him to go. It was a great workout for Mommy—pant, pant. Gradually he has continued getting stronger and now can walk with support only on his forearms and hands.)
We try to massage his limbs throughout the day when we are playing with and holding him in order to help all those little nerves wake up and make connections.
*Blessings to the team of dedicated therapists and service coordinator who help us in learning the language of Wade's schooling. They are beautiful people to us.