Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Stage 4 activities

It's getting harder to write about "activities" in the Stages, because Stage 4 is where the line between our life and our RDI program really started to blur. I didn't set up "activities" for Jacob anymore, I just scaffolded what I was doing anyway and included him and spotlighted how amazingly fantastically awesome things were when they were done DIFFERENTLY.

I came home from the 4-day workshop, committed to making Jacob's life more difficult! Ok, well, I was committed to providing him with enough challenge that he had no choice but to use his brain. And I'd finally shed the worry about him having a big unproductive meltdown. We went to bake cookies, and I put a fully wrapped package of dough in front of him. He looked at it, looked a me, and said "uh, Mommy. We need the scissors." We were on our way to higher thought processes!

Here's the way I added Stage 4 variations to our life:

We baked different kinds of cookies. We topped them with different things. We ate them raw instead of cooking them. The first time I set a package of chocolate chip cookie dough (which Jacob won't eat, and up to that point wouldn't even touch) in front of him, he burst into tears. I didn't care. I handed him cookies and directed him to put them on the sheet, talking about how much Daddy likes chocolate chip cookies. He cried through the entire thing, but he did it. And when his father came home from work, he was at the top of the stairs proudly telling him all about the cookies we made just for him, then beamed with pride as The Map Man ate one and made a fuss over how good they were.

We ate breakfast items for lunch, and lunch items for breakfast. We ate cereal off of plates and out of pots. We ate under the table.

We went home different ways from school. At first this caused a lot of crying and distress. I didn't care. We went different ways anyway. Eventually he put up with this, and started saying "I wonder which way we'll go home today". By the end of Stage 4, he'd celebrate finding a new way somewhere. "Oh hurray, a short-cut! Let's go down this road!" Now he views taking a road we don't know as an adventure rather than an afront to all that is right.

We did laundry in every different way imaginable. We'd throw clothes at the baskets. We'd throw clothes at each other. We'd put the clothes on instead of putting them in the basket. We'd put them on inside out, upside down, socks for ear warmers and underwear for hats. While handing him items of clothing, I'd occassionally hand him something else -- a book, a toy, a shoe. The more ridiculous the variety, the more natural the spotlighting was because it cracked us both up.

We unloaded the dishwahser in various manners. I'd drop bowls. I'd put cups in the silverwear drawer. I'd put dirty dishes away on the shelf or load the dishwasher from the cabinets of clean dishes. I even put the cat in the dishwasher (BREIFLY) so that when Jacob opened the door, she'd jump out. (She didn't, by the way, she was very happy to be in there, I had to crawl in and drag her out! But Jacob was still plenty surprised to see her in there!)

We brushed the pony changing up brushes every couple of minutes (different types, colors, sizes). We braided his mane and tied the braids with different types of barrettes. We fed him different types of treats (it got to be a game to see if there was anything he wouldn't eat! Apparently the answer is no.).

We played a game where we sat across the room from each other, pushing a dump truck back and forth. I would fill the bed of the truck will all sorts of nonsense, and he'd wait anxiously to see what was going to be in the truck this time.

We still did tons of crafts. This time the goal was to make whatever we worked on different every time. We made foam gingerbread men for Christmas gifts, each one decorated uniquely.

We sang tons of songs using movement in it, and kept varying the movement. Clapping, stomping, spinning, dancing, skipping, hopping, jumping, rolling, squatting, toe-tapping, etc. We played different instruments in different ways. We had marching parades where we changed to a different instrument every time I blew a whistle.

We made up new verses/rhymes to old songs/poems. We made up alternative pronunciations for common items (hats and mittens became cats and kittens, for example).

And we did a whole lot of things that weren't really Stage 4 (Variations), they were really Stage 5 (Transformations). But I was confused on the difference between the two. More on that another time. Right now I have to go pick up my dinner fixings for tomorrow!


At 1:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your blog. I am at the very beginning of RDI-we well be doing our RDA in the next week or two. My son is turning 5 on Friday. He started OT in Sept. for his significant sensory seeking issues which has been great so far. I loved all of your RDI activities and when I get that far I will definately keep them in mind. You are very creative! I can't wait to start RDI and I love to hear stories like yours and your son's. I, too, believe it's the journey that's important. Keep up the great work.


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