Friday, July 19, 2013

My intense weekly hour

Every Friday I have a day at home with the boys. It means no paid work but it's hardly a day off. Most weeks the day is filled with appointments for one child or another or both if I'm super lucky! Doctors appointments, specialist, hair cuts and on the rare occasion we get to have a play date.

First up each Friday though is our session with Hear and Say for Will. 8am every Friday. Which means on my first weekend day, we have to have breakfast done, all kids dressed, mummy dressed, kitchen cleaned and the Hear and Say activities sorted, all by 8am. Our sessions are via Skype and they are intense. Every. Single. Week.

One week I plan our session with the therapist and the following week we go through the activities with Will.

The planning weeks are intense. The boys need to entertain themselves for a whole hour while I have one on one time with the therapist. It's a lot to expect of them and it's hard because we really don't have anyone here to help us out. They fight a lot (including the hair pulling, kicking, punching type of fighting - all over a toy airplane or a train). They come in and out asking for food / drinks / to go to the toilet / to change the channel on the tv / to dob in their brother for stealing / playing unfairly / punching etc. You get the drift. But this planning session is important as I get to give the therapist an overview of Will's progress with his development and we plan activities for our next session.

The lesson weeks are also intense. It's a whole hour that Will needs to be strapped in his high chair (which he hates) and we sit in front of the computer, Skyping the therapist. We follow a set plan each week, starting with a hearing check, then a story and then activities that aid and develop his language and listening skills. As it's via Skype, I basically have to run the lesson on my own although the therapist is on the other side of the computer, helping things along. Some days Will has meltdowns because he hates being cooped up in the chair; he doesn't want to do an activity we have planned; he doesn't want to end an activity we've been doing for the past 15 mins or he just wants to stop the whole thing. Other weeks he's great and we have such fun sessions. Mostly during the lesson, Lach has to entertain himself which is hard because he can hear what we're doing. I have found that if I involve him, he uses the words Will needs to say. It's lovely he wants to be involved and wants to help but just for that hour, it adds a different element to our lessons.

Today we sat at the kitchen table and did lots of activities based on 'around the home' language - sitting at the table, having a bath, cleaning up etc. We had a bit more room to move and by using my tablet I was able to move the 'Skype' session to where Will was. The lesson ended with us rolling around the deck on Will's wagon with Will, his teddy and sometimes Lachie all being pulled around by me while I held the tablet in front of me so that our therapist could still be involved.

Every Friday at 9am I need a nap. But I know the lessons are worth it, even though they are just a lot of work for me. Will's speech and language development has come a long way and we're so grateful. At his last assessment he was on par with an average 18 month old with normal hearing. If we weren't doing these sessions, he most certainly wouldn't have been at that level. Andrew and I have been given wonderful tools from Hear and Say on how to encourage and develop Will's language. Every day, we put these into practise so that Will sees it as a daily part of his life, not just a fortnightly session.

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