Monday, February 28, 2011

Fostering Independence: Breakfast Cereal

I will be doing a series of posts on ways that we have helped to foster independence in Gess over the years. I have found that sometimes when she was being destructive or disobedient it was simply because she wanted more freedom and power then she had. It's really tough on a special needs child when their mind wants the freedom they should have at their age, but their skills will not allow them to exercise it. While we have had many steps leading up to what we do today, I will start with the here and now.

Gess wants to be able to fix her own food and get her own drinks. So to help her to do that I try to buy things that she can do by herself. For breakfast we started with getting the individual sized variety packs of cereal.
This way she can pour her cereal in the bowl by herself without having too much come out of the box. Plus it gives her more options to actually "choose" which one she wants that day. First we make sure that we keep things like her bowls and cups within reach. So when it's time for breakfast, Gess can go and get her own cereal, bowl, spoon and milk and bring them to the table.

The small boxes of cereal are actually hard to open once you get them out of the box and she always needs help with that part, but she tries first before asking. Recently I started having her use her safety scissors to open them, but I don't keep them available in the kitchen. I bring them in when she is fixing breakfast and then put them away. Once she has the box open and cuts the top off the package she pours it in her bowl all by herself.

Next is the milk, which is the trickiest part. We started buying it in the half gallon rather than gallon, which is easier for her to maneuver, but only when it is less than half full. When it's full I still help her pour it but she puts her hand on the carton, even if she is not actually pouring it. It makes her feel as if she in involved. When it is less than half full I let her do it herself, though I talk her through using both hands and am close in case it starts coming out too fast. We sometimes also have individual milk cartons as well and while she sometimes needs help opening them, the pouring is much easier on her that way. Now her cereal is ready to eat, unless it's the kind that needs extra sugar, which we use sparingly.

You don't know how many times I have found messes in the kitchen over the years. When Gess wasn't given the opportunity to do this on her own, she would try it anyway (without permission) and make such a mess. That was a cue to me that it was time to let her try. Now that she is "allowed" to do it, she seldom tries without permission, and even if she does, she is less likely to make a mess because she knows how.

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Day At Work

Gess is still on a "stay home" directive from the doctor. Not because she is still sick, but because there is so much sickness out there right now. We are seeing numerous amounts of confirmed influenza cases in our area, so we feel it is just better to keep Gess from getting exposed. So it's not about staying inside, it's about staying away from people. Well this weekend, we had the opportunity to visit daddy's office because no one was there.

My husband, who is a computer programmer and an IT guy, had to go into work this weekend to move some servers around and fix up his new office. He let them know he would be bringing help to carry stuff around, so he got permission for us to go with him. Since no one was in the office to expose Gess to germs we tagged along and helped daddy at work.

It was not the first time Gess got to go see daddy's place of employment, but this is the first time she got to do more than actually see it for a few minutes and then leave. She learned a little bit about what daddy does and he taught her some about how all the computers in the office are able to work together. She saw him run the lines and hook up the machines.

Most importantly she got to "work" too. It's always so neat as a kid to feel like you are doing a grown up's job! Gess helped hold the door while we carried things, carried a few smaller items herself and dusted equipment as we brought it in. She was truly a big helper!

Dusting while daddy moves equipment.

Going to see what daddy is doing in his new office.

Watching daddy do his thing.

Sitting with daddy at his desk.

Break time!

Now when we tell her daddy is at work, she knows more about where he is and what he is actually doing!

Friday, February 11, 2011


We have been unable to do school for 2 weeks. My little one got sick about the time the blizzard came through. We got her medicated before it hit and during the storm she reacted to the antibiotic by not being able to walk! One of the allergic side effects was muscle and joint pain and she had it so severely she didn't want to use her legs at all. When she did use them, you could tell it was very difficult for her.
We called the ER and took her off the medication but it was another day after that before we could get her to the doctor to get new medicine because the clinic was closed due to the storm. The new medicine seemed to be improving things, but then she started feeling poorly again. So a week after it all began we headed to the ER.
Gess had pneumonia at this point and spent 2 1/2 days in the hospital. She handled the stay really well and finally overcame her fears of blood pressure cuffs and xray machines! She handled the breathing treatments well too!

I think we are finally out of the woods, but I am not certain. We have a follow up appointment today. I was already behind posting on the blog so I wanted to send a word out letting you know I am still around. I am really hoping she is healthy and back to it on Monday. Hopefully when we get through this I can complete some blogs about things we have been doing.
For now I am hoping and praying that Gess gets well and soon and that this snow melts and goes away for a very long time!


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