Sunday, November 26, 2006

Just Chugging Along

As I mentioned in a response to a comment by Mom-NOS yesterday, I am just chugging along, reading what I can and experimenting with what I think is the theoretical framework of RDI, which is organized into stages. One stage should be mastered before moving on to the next. But a lot of it seems to overlap to me. So, while I am excited about the prospect of referencing, we are mostly just working on setting up non-verbal communication events, which probably lays some groundwork for referencing. ... And trust me, we have a lot to work on. Using non-verbal communication with Oliver usually means that I have to be sitting right next to him. Maybe even nose to nose. Or I have to make some funny noise or wild motions to get his attention from a few feet away. I've been working on this part of it for a couple of weeks now and already have noticed some slow, small changes in just his willingness to pay attention to me.

Along with the non-verbal communication, I've been trying to find all sorts of ways for Oliver and I to do things, accomplish things, together. I've been trying to incorporate Oliver and RDI into little things that happen throughout the day. Some of them are successful and some aren't. The key, I've found, is to be less focused on an end-goal and more on doing things -- however small -- together.

Here are a couple of things that we've been doing: (and again, these may not be done the right way -- I'm just going on instinct until we start with the consultant in January). But even if it isn't good RDI, it feels like good parenting, so no harm no foul.

Loading the dishes in the dishwasher. After Oliver is finished eating his lunch or dinner, he and I both take an item from the table and "race" with it to the dishwasher. Oliver normally wins the race, but then I open the door to the dishwasher and we each load our item inside.

Getting out of the car. Before opening Oliver's car door I usually mash my face into the window until he looks at me -- then we go nose to nose for a minute. I've noticed that when I open the door Oliver sometimes pulls it closed again ( I think because he likes being in the car so much and really doesn't want to get out). So now I've made a game of it and we play a kind of tug-o-war with the door.

Going down the slide. We went to the kid's castle today and because of the warm weather there were a ton of kids there. Well, Oliver's favorite activity at the castle these days is throwing tiny pebbles down the largest spiral slide. And it takes him for-ev-er! With a line of kids behind him this can be problematic. After some impatient looks from other kids and their parents, I tried to strategize how to get him to skip the pebbles part. So what I did was join him on the slide. I sat at the top with him between my knees and ever so slowly inched down the top of the slide, gripping him tightly and telling him how scared I was. When we were hovering just at the point where gravity would soon pull us down the slide, Oliver inevitably lurched forward putting us in motion. Then we would both sprint up through the castle to do it again. After I started doing this with him he didn't try to grab another handful of stones the entire time. And once, as he sprinted towards the castle I pretended that I needed help to get up from the slide and he actually stopped, turned around, came back and got me! That's when I knew I was doing something right.

Grocery shopping. This has been pretty successful for us. Oliver hangs onto the outside of the cart and when I find something that we need he gets it and throws it in (I've had to be cautious though when requestion items in glass jars!). When we find an isle that is empty of people I drive the cart like a mad-woman, starting and stopping quickly so that he has to pay attention to what I'm doing or he will fall off. Then when we get to the register he helps me put everything on the conveyor belt.

Fixing a bagel. Oliver helped me cut the bagel then he put it in the toaster. When it was done we took turns spreading butter.


  1. These sound like all fabulous things to be doing with Oliver to me! Keep following your instinct and January will be here before you know it.

    I also do the smashing my face up against the car window before opening the door. Roo loves it! And you know how Roo loves to hold things in his hand? Well, his latest favorite is plastic grocery bags, so I play a sort of tug of war with him with the bags and he cracks up laughing.

    Keep up the good work, Christine

  2. YOU ARE A NATURAL! i love your activities! yes. it IS just like parenting. slower, more conscious, but all great things to do with our kids, regardless of neurology! my favorite one was the slide. and the grocery shopping. and the bagel. okay. i loved them all!