I have never been good at eye contact. Anyone that knows me knows that it takes a while for me to trust in a person enough to give that full on eye gaze during a conversation. Eye contact is so personal. The eyes truly are the windows to the soul and I don't open my windows too easily. You can read so much about a person by looking into their eyes. To me, it seems to be an almost psychic ability to draw on a person's true character through their eyes.
I also am a deep thinker with the active sort of brain that needs to focus on things other than a face while talking. I look around the room or look out a window to help the conversation flow. Rarely do I looking directly into your eyes.
Roa on the other hand, has excellent eye contact. I cannot believe how well he communicates just by looking at you. Happiness, fear, anger, weariness, excitement, disappointment,...all LOUD and CLEAR through those little peepers.
Beyond that, Roa "tells" us a lot of his needs through simply looking at us. I've mentioned in past posts that we, as parents, have a sort of psychic ability to read our children, but it still amazes me that I can know so much...just through his eyes.
"He needs a drink, has a wet diaper, needs to burp, wants some alone time, wants to go outside, is tired of that position ....".
All this verbalized through his eyes.
The technology of tomorrow promises more assistive devices based on eye gaze. I look forward....straight on with FULL contact, to tomorrow.
We were very fortunate to be a part of the annual Closing the Gap conference for Assistive technology in Minneapolis this past week. This conference is the leading AT gatherings in our nation for therapists and teachers of special needs (and a handful of us parents)! I attended alone on Thursday afternoon and was joined by Bryan and the boys Thursday evening. We took Roa into the exhibitors hall to check out the different computer programs, communication devices, adapted switches, mouses, joysticks, fun accessible games and software, mounting sytems for assistive tech devices on walkers and wheelchairs,..... soooooo much to look and see! We were all in techno overload!
Roa had fun running up and down the aisles in his trainer and it was nice for the sales reps to try out their wares on an actual kid!
I greatly apologize to all of you Rojo Fans who have been patiently waiting for this busy mom to get her butt in that computer chair and blog about the King and his start to the school year!
First off, Roa is off to Normandy Park Early Childhood Center three mornings a week in the Early Childhood Special Needs classroom with Miss Laurie. He LOVES school! He has 7 friends in his class and a group of wonderful teachers, therapists, and aides. We are greatly impressed with the staff at school. Pictures of Roa's days are sent home with notes, phones calls, and fun art projects. He is in Learning Heaven!
Besides the ECSE class, Roa is also continuing to attend the Tuesday evening Early Childhood Famiy Education class with Daddy. Miss Janet was happy to have Roa return to the group and he appreciates the special time with Dad!
On Tuesday mornings, Mom and Gunnar attend the Baby Class and Roa gets to go to Sib Care. Terri has been his aide during this time and has been wonderful. Another great morning at Normandy.
Once again, I need to get on my soapbox and say that Early Childhood Family Education is VERY wonderful and a great resource that more families should take advantage of in Minnesota. Typical to most of these extra programs, I think alot of the parents and children that could greatly benefit from the program do not attend ECFE. The guidance from educated staff about child development, songs/games/play activities for increased learning and bonding time with young ones is something so many parents need, especially in our country with so many developmentally delayed children, dropping test scores, and limited parent support in schools. Off the soapbox...
Roa continues to receive speech therapy, occupational therapy and music therapy at Functional Kids 3 afternoons per week. He attends Conductive Education on Thursday mornings and Saturdays. Physical Therapy at Courage Center will begin soon on Fridays. UGHHHH! Once again, we are off and running here in the land of CP!
Gunnar has adjusted well to the variety of places and appointments we attend. He loves the waiting room at Functional Kids with its toys and admiring staff and the vast space at Courage Center where he can run! Yes, run. Gunnar is at full speed now at 10 months of age. He is a crazy climber, loves emptying cupboards, climbing stairs, and kicking balls! Favorite activity for G-man? Riding on the back of the gait trainer with Big Brother Roa. There is alot of brotherly love and yelling when Roa gets off that school bus at the end of the morning!
Which leads to the bus.....
We have a love/hate relationship with the bus right now at the Thayer household. The King adores that bus! Is so excited to ride. However, we have had some issues with proper seating for him, a rude driver, and a tumble off the seat when school staff were taking from the bus resulting in a bump, scrape and bruise.
But, Roa loves it, so we will keep trying to make it work.
Roa had an assessment for a wheelchair last week. We will be doing a trial with the Quickie Zippie Zone manual chair next week or so. That will help us with bus transport and be another mode of mobility for Roa in his varied environments. We decided to go with a manual chair instead of the stroller variety to give Roa some choice in where he goes and work on arm/hand skill.
Roa had a two week trial with the Dynavox Maestro communication system. It is quite a neat technological tool! However, it seems to be too much for Roa right now. We will stick to the iPad. Roa has lost some of his enthusiasm for his iPad. We have a buzzilion apps that gage from fine motor skills, communication, games, stories..... He likes Netflix and Youtube the best... :)
Julie at Functional Kids has been working at finding an app that works best to help Roa not only make choices, but gives him a voice in conversation with us and peers. Sounding Board has been the best thus for for Roa.
Thats all I got for now... AND here are a few fun pics from our little scholar!
Ta ta for now!