Assessment 2016--Little Brother
Little Brother turned 3 years old this school year. We set no academic goals for him because
A. he's a very, very little boy who needs to grow and play
B. our primary goal was healing and family integration
C. I needed time to observe and get to know him before setting any goals.
How is Little Brother doing?
He's healing: he's got lots of big, scary feelings in his small body, and they come out in bursts of crazy, out-of-control temper. However, he's learning how to control that temper, and his outbursts are fewer and of shorter duration than they used to be. We use the cues, "Quiet hands. Quiet feet. Quiet mouth," and those cues seem to be working. He does better if his quiet place is outside rather than inside (which is great in spring and autumn, not so great in winter or full summer).
His gross motor skills are awesome!
His fine motor skills are truly delayed, so are his critical thinking skills. He can neither dress nor undress himself; he struggles to feed himself with anything other than his hands; he can barely keep a crayon in his hands to scribble a few marks on a page, and he struggles mightily to solve problems such as how to fix a train track that has been disassembled by one of the babies.
He can learn processes as long as they are explicitly laid out and demonstrated for him. For example, he's potty training right now, and as he approaches the toilet he'll stand there motionless until I ask, "What do you do first?" He'll smile and say, "Take off my pants." Then I'll cue him to do that, followed by, "What's next?" And so forth and so on.
Sometimes we have to skip it all, and I just help him . . . there's only so much waiting a 3 year old boy can do when he has to go potty!
I've been doing lots of reading about sensory processing disorders. It was a comment by the OT who assessed him recently that got my brain going in this direction. I'm starting to think that some of Little Brother 's behaviors are due to bring a sensory craving kind of kid. He's certainly not extreme, but I see too many signs to ignore.
What does this mean practically?
We will let Little Brother continue to be a little boy who plays, runs, jumps, builds, digs, climbs, and explores as much as possible. In addition we will work on self care skills--taking off and putting on clothes, using a spoon and fork to eat, cleaning up toys, using words rather than tantrums to express himself, expanding his vocabulary so that he has words to use, and potty training. We'll read stories and provide lots of sensory experiences (i.e. sand play, water play, playdough, rough and tumble play, etc.). We'll also start some fine motor work with him, but nothing he'd think of as work; mostly we'll just play with Legos and Bristle Blocks and provide opportunities to hold crayons in his hands whenever summer thunderstorms keep us indoors.