Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Therapy House

I always joke that our house is not just our home; it’s an oversized therapy room.  We have two swings permanently installed inside.  We have a mini trampoline and a full-size trampoline inside.  We have various sized therapy balls including those hop-long-balls inside our home too.  We have a pull-up bar, pogo sticks, scooters, balance bikes, an exercise mat and a slide inside as well.  And that’s only the gross motor equipment that graces our home! 

We also have sensory buckets, games with magnets and marbles and board games up the wazoo.  And LEGOs.  We have LEGOs as far as the eye can see.  Those are everywhere.  Including my bathtub.  They are in the bathtub because I let Little Buddy and the Littlest Pickle test out boats they made with their LEGOs.  
It floats!
My typical kids love to play.  They love to explore and create.  They are happiest when they are doing something constructive.  Working together or independently, my kids cannot wait to be done with homework and chores so that they can go play, play, play.  

While the Bigs play as much as they can, Ronan continues to show that he’s not interested in playtime.  In fact, Ronan’s gotten more sedentary.  He prefers to play his Wii games more than do the puzzles he used to love to do.  He would rather watch Youtube videos than explore his books and the few games that would always engage him.  I don’t want to let him play on screens all day when he’s home, so I initiate activities with him.  Ronan doesn’t always like that.  He will protest when I tell him it’s time for a break.  But he works through whatever game or activity I’ve set before him and then gets a turn doing what he wants to do. 

Some of the activities I present to Ronan are very simple.  Some seem simple, but with Ronan’s limitations, I know that they are a struggle.  Ronan’s fine motor skills are weak, and it takes him a long time to complete a task.  It sometimes takes constant feedback for him to stick with that task too.    
Practicing fine motor skill development through play
While walking through our house this week, I was reminded of a few things.

We have a lot of therapy stuff. 

And we are blessed. 

Several of those big therapy items, like that full-sized trampoline, were gifts from family.  They know that Ronan needs extra support.  They also know that what we have for Ronan is oftentimes used by his siblings.  

The kids were thrilled with the purchase.  I was too.  Not just because we had a trampoline inside our house (that I can use also), but because our extended family understands what we’re going through and that they continue to help us from a distance. 

My kids don’t know that a lot of the therapy equipment we have in our house is masquerading around as toys.  I’d like to keep it that way.  They get to jump, bounce, roll, swing and slide as much as they can without realizing how many fine- and gross-motor skills they are developing and perfecting.  The more they play, the more they learn.  I'm going to let them play as much as I can.  

The therapy equipment and the time my children spend using it serves several purposes: 

They get to play.  
They get to use their creativity.
They get their wiggles out.  
They get to build skills without realizing it.  
They keep smiles on their faces.  

How I love to see those smiles.  Keep filling our house with smiles, children.  You make your Mommy proud!

xo, Cat

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