We have since consulted with our beloved occupational therapist expert, Maude Le Roux, about the writing piece, since we have been doing a lot of preparatory work for fine motor skills in occupational therapy. Maude liked the idea of focusing on the curves and lines of letters. At her clinic they use plasticine-type clay to form the letters which works on finger strength required for writing. We have since purchased plasticine in a drab grey colour. Maude said to avoid colours as we don’t want him associating certain colours with certain letters or shape patterns.
- We’ve been reading the books I’ve made 2-3 times a week since the March Break (We were reading them almost everyday prior to the March Break and multiple times a day as requested by him). He is now pointing to each word from left to right when reminded to “read slowly” (3-4 words per sentence). However, if he is reading fast he points the first word and then the second word twice while saying the entire sentence.
- We’ve tried the cut-up sentences about 4 times now. This one seems to be more challenging for him to do independently. I’ve left the page open for him to use as a visual guide to put the words in order and he has been able to put them in the correct order. However, if the visual is not there, he is unable to put them in order.
- The photo of him reading: I left him in the room with another therapist for a minute. I came back and he was sitting in the corner with that book reading aloud (he was not asked to so). I didn’t interrupt and he continued even when I came in, for about 3 minutes, before he noticed I was back. It was so CUTE!
- While playing jenga, he independently made the letter ‘T,’ using the jenga pieces. During our play with kinetic sand we worked on our fine motor skills by pinching little bits of the sand to make eyes, nose, and mouths for our kinetic sand people.
- He is currently able to trace a straight and curvy line with his finger and pencil independently. He is also able to trace a heart with his right hand but requires minimal support to do so with his left hand. We have not yet tried this with a pencil.
- Today he pulled out the book about him and his friends and asked me to read to him. He helped me point to words and required reminders to slow down.
- We worked on reading today. He demonstrates the ability to point to the words from left to right approximately 70% of the time. If he begins reading fast he ends up pointing to the same word over and over again while reading the whole sentence which he has memorized.
- In the morning we focused on challenging him through play. One activity he really enjoyed doing was spelling out words. He would ask therapist how to spell a certain word but instead of them just spelling it for him, they would sound out the letters and he would try to guess the correct letter for the word.
- We’ve recently found some level 1 books that caught his attention. He often brings them over to the cozy corner or desk and asks me to read them. They contain a lot of the sight words we’ve been working on such as, ‘he,’ ‘she,’ ‘it,’ ‘the,’ etc. Together, we’ll point to the word and he is usually able to read it (the sight words in the book) himself or with minimal support. He has been able to recognize majority of the sight words we’ve worked on while we read.
- We have tried the cutting out words activity quite a few times but recently he has not been interested in it. I believe he finds it challenging and not as fun as reading the book.
- The occupational therapist (OT) and I have been working on numerous early literacy activities such as colouring in the lines of various big shapes using a small piece of crayon (as this makes him have to use his pincer grip). Once he is able to do this independently we will start using smaller shapes as it requires more precision.
- We’ve also been working on forming letters using wooden pieces (lines and curves). He can sometimes tell us whether a letter needs lines or curves. For example, he now knows the letter ‘A’ requires just lines and the letter ‘C’ requires a curve. He can form a few letters with minimal support such as the letters ‘T,’ ‘L,’ and ‘H.’ If the letter has been started by his therapist/OT he is usually able to add the missing piece in the correct spot.
- When practicing to write letters we usually put a sticker at the top of the page to indicate where we need to begin forming the letter. He requires reminders to start at the sticker. He also requires hand-over-hand support to form most letters. He has demonstrated the ability to print the letter ‘O’ and sometimes the letter ‘L.’
Until next week… here’s to affecting autism through playful interactions!