Monday, August 16, 2010

Purple Noodles, Brown Bridge and a Schwan Man Named Jason

Purple Noodles, Brown Bridge and a Schwan Man Named Jason

Communication is such an interesting concept. Imagine having just a fraction of the words in your vocabulary to use. Imagine being super smart, but the average person can’t understand what you’re saying. That’s my Katie-Bean!

She kept telling me over and over what she wanted for dinner, but I just couldn’t understand. Finally she was repeating over and over: “Purple Noodles, purple noodles”. Racking my brain, what are purple noodles? Duh, Panda Express. The building is purple. She loves their noodles. Once I asked her if she wanted Panda Express, she was so happy that I understood.

We went to my parents’ house this past weekend. Kathryn was so excited to see Grandma Sheldon and Teacher Pop. She was getting squirmy and a bit whiney the closer we got and kept telling me “Bridge”. I knew that she knew we had to cross the Columbia River on the Biggs Bridge. Once we past The Dalles Bridge, I told her it was the next bridge. Well, silly mommy, I forgot about a train trussle bridge. When we came around the corner and she saw that bridge, she started freaking out saying “No white bridge, brown bridge!”. OK… the train trussle bridge is white, that would be just too weird if the Biggs Bridge is brown. Guess what, she remembered that it was brown. Did I mention the last time we saw the bridge was in November, nine months ago?

Every two weeks, the Schwan Man stops by; sometimes we order, sometimes we don’t. Last month we got a new Schwan Man, he stopped by and introduced himself. Two weeks later when he stopped by again, I had to ask him his name again. Before he could say anything, Kathryn chimes in with “Jason”. We both just looked at her.

Every day she amazes me with her ability to make me understand what she wants using just a few words and a lot of association. One more quick example: we were at a baseball game and she wanted to use the black toilet (don’t ask). I didn’t understand what she was saying so she ran over to a lady watching another game and pulled on her BLACK t-shirt and then showed me her diaper. OK… black toilet.

I just hope that someday, I can be as smart as my Katie-Bean!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Serving our Special Needs Kids at Church

I love educating people about autism and watching them get involved and grow! At our church, we have 4 wonderful young spirits that are on the Autism Spectrum, ranging from severe/no verbal to high functioning/verbal. We have developed a program that allows them to be part of our church family while giving others in our Ward the blessing of getting to know them and serving them in a Christ-like way. Getting to the point we are at now has not happened overnight. I will have to tell you that patience and education along with prayer where the tools involved. The final piece of the puzzle before we actually put things into action was a meeting with the Bishopric where I educated them about Autism.

The name of our class is the Stars and our theme song is Every Star is Different (from the Primary Children’s Song Book). Every week we have one or two Primary kids join our class. I went into sharing time and talked to the kids about this wonderful opportunity they have to be a special friend to our Star class. I told them all the fun things they get to do and how they can help and that they will have to show they are responsible. We choose kids six years old and older; making sure there is always an older child in there. They love it so much that every Sunday they are asking if it is their turn yet.

We have a room designated for our Star class that is set up just for them.

We use a strip visual schedule for the day.

We have an area for circle time/lesson,

a table for snack/art (with a string on the wall for hanging their works of art),

a "calm corner" area when a kiddo needs a break, a cabinet for books and toys, and a file cabinet for snacks and teacher supplies.

There are two teachers called to the class.
I have made slip covers for the backs of the chairs so they know which seat is theirs with a second set for the Primary room to be used during music/sharing time.

Their favorite activity is "Where’s Jesus". We have a picture of Jesus that we "hide" somewhere in the church and each Star and Helper has a matching picture. The kids go for a walk using a rope with canning rings tied on it to hold on to. They walk through the church matching their pictures with all the ones they see on the walls until they find the one they are looking for.

The kids get so excited when they find it. We are having such a great time with this class and love seeing these children's love for the gospel grow on so many levels.
We have four lesson plans that rotate: Love, Prayer, Heavenly Father has a Body and so do I, and CTR (Choose the Right). Each lesson is very simple with lots of songs and an art project that goes along with the theme.
If anyone would like more detailed info, please don't hesitate to email me.