We have been having lots of success with Matthews Song Bag and so we had another therapy session with Laura so that she could see the progress that Matthew has been making for herself.
She was really pleased and has once again given us our next task, and this one is definitely a little daunting for Michael and I.
It is to engage with him in an activity of our choosing and encourage him throughout the activity to maintain eye contact.
Now the reason I say this is daunting is because Michael and I have been doing this with Matthew for a long time… Maybe not as wholeheartedly as we should, but definitely on a daily basis… and with no success.
He is very much a single-minded boy when it comes to play time and he puts all of his focus on the game itself, as opposed to us. For example, if we play with him using a ball, he will focus 100% on the ball. If we read him a book, he will focus 100% on getting that book out of my hands and into his (he’s not really interested in the story-telling aspect at the minute). If we are painting, he will focus 100% on the paint that is all over his hands and get angry that I would do such a terrible and inhumane thing to him. The joys!
So after our therapy session, my hubby and I got our thinking caps on and discussed what games and activities we thought might be the ONE!
It was a long and arduous discussion, but we came up with 2 ideas.
The first was using a ball (Matthews absolute favourite toy in the whole world) and spinning it on the floor for Matthew to watch and then retrieve. We would pick up the ball, ask Matthew if he was “Ready?” which would initiate the eye contact, count “One, Two, Three” demanding eye contact throughout, and then spin the ball.
After about half an hour of trying this, Matthew began to realise what the game was and started bringing the ball to us.
We’ve been doing this for 4 days now and he will maintain eye contact for the “Ready?” part… But this is where he then focuses on the ball again.
It’s baby steps, but even in such a short space of time we still have a small degree of progress.
The second option involved a song, which I’m not entirely sure isn’t cheating a bit, but nonetheless we felt it was worth a try.
We would sit on the edge of the couch with Matthew standing on the floor facing us, holding his hands, and sing “We’re jumping up & down”, encouraging him to jump along with the song and look at us while he does it.
Again, it’s been 4 days since we started trying this, and he has responded pretty well to the activity. He maintains eye contact with us for the first line of the song and then proceeds to watch his feet move up and down on the floor.
We are delighted with both of these activities, and feel like a few more weeks dedicated to the task at hand will produce much better results.
We want to be able to make this part of his therapy as fun as possible, because being a toddler, he’s not very interested in anything that won’t benefit him in this way, so the more fun the activity the better.
I am also delighted to say that his Special Needs class starts back today so I expect that this alone will encourage lots more positive behaviours from him and I will happily report back all of that in these updates.