Our journey through autism

Posts tagged ‘piano’

Other Progress

The summer was all about IM and SLP, after those programs finished he continued regular OT.

Occupational therapy: Bilal had major improvements since last year and we thought he was getting close to discharge, every time this comes up, I get super excited to be finally done with it all, but also really nervous, afraid to stop therapy but still need it. His evaluation came up beginning of September and he did well, but still had weaknesses with hand/eye coordination and more visual aspects of OT. Also his handwriting does need improvement so it was determined to continue with OT for at least another year and then re-evaluate again.

Vision therapy: Bilal did once a week vision therapy for the prescribed 6 month program and did really well and strengthened his eyes. She told us to continue with some therapies at home and come back in once a month and then once every 3 months just to keep track and make sure of things. Future therapies would require a bit more maturity to do activities like the 90s popular Magic Eye, relaxing and pulling certain eye muscles to see hidden images. She also said the light box therapy of SLP would be beneficial for Bilal’s convergence and eye teaming issues. In all honesty we haven’t kept up with our vision therapy exercises like we should. We really need to add it back in somehow because his OT and PT therapists say he’ll either need glasses or more vision therapy.

Magic-eyes-magic-eye-16383884-2551-1681

Magic Eye*

Physical Therapy: Earlier in the year Bilal was temporarily discharged from PT, he wasn’t gaining anymore from it, but the evaluation test didn’t give us a good score. There is a test for below 6 years old, that Bilal (then 6 years old) did great on. The other test for above 6 year old, he did really bad on. His therapist suggested to re-test him after he completed his summer intensive to really see whether he would need more PT or not but in the mean time we would put therapy on hold. Mid-September he was re-evaluated for PT on the 6+ years test and he did great, passed on all areas and she said the IM made a huge difference with speed, precision and overall focus and attention.

Myofunctional: We are still doing myofunctional therapy once a week, almost ready to move on to phase 2 swallows. Its a slow therapy, as its hard to change eating habits, something that has to be done every day and he can satisfy his hunger even if he eats incorrectly. A change like this has to be a conscious effort from Bilal himself and there is just no 5-7 year old that would bother unless his mother constantly reminds him.

Speech: He was discharged from private speech therapy in June 2013 and from school based speech therapy at the end of Kindergarten. He is speaking clearly with vast vocabulary and infrequent grammatical errors. His OT therapist suggested that he be evaluated for speech again which concerned me and it turns out that the specialists are called Speech and Language pathologists, and he needs help with the language part now not speech and articulation. Bilal has major trouble writing and putting together a sentence, he may know the answer verbally, but tell him to write it down and he’s lost, he cannot organize his thoughts into words to be written. Like with everything else, things don’t come naturally to Bilal, he has to be taught and trained to do things, to have tasks broken down into smaller parts, and then put all together in time as he masters each little goal. He will be evaluated next month and depending on the results on that will be taught how to organize his thoughts and write them, for example, creating word boxes, learning sentence parts, editing and proof reading, its like an English language lesson but therapy. This is exactly what Bilal needs, with homework he either has no clue what to write or he talks too much and doesn’t directly answer what the question is asking for. Looking forward to this therapy, the therapist I met said that after 6 weeks with her we’d see improvements. She’ll help him with his homework and give him tips and tricks.

Other activities: Bilal is still doing piano lessons, with a recital twice a year, he’s on his 3rd piano book now and is doing well, we went through a period where he refused to practice and a lot of crying, screaming drama but a bit after the SLP his attitude improved and his behavior during class is a bit more serious as well. Other than that, he has a science and technology after school class once a week, concentrating on how science sometimes appears as if its magic (getting an egg through a bottle) and then later on basic programming and robotics involving Lego. He also goes to Sunday school every week learning about Islam doing really well there and little by little trying to teach him some basic Arabic words, proper pronunciation is very difficult for him but he understands us well.

Overall like all his teachers and therapists keep saying Bilal is a happy typical little boy, loves computer games, Lego Mixels and just being silly and funny.

* The image that appears in the above Magic Eye is that of penguins.

Advertisements

Piano Recital

Last weekend was Bilal’s first piano recital. He did amazing and he looked really handsome and grown up in his shirt and slacks. He’s been playing piano since July of last year with Ms. Megan of MTSofGA and he’s picking it up really well. They’ve been practicing and working on his songs for a month and he played 2 songs with finger together placement. His playing brought tears to our eyes, we couldn’t be prouder.

I’ve said this before and its also been said by the mother of the autistic teenager that may receive a noble prize for his work in astro-physics. That you have to find the child’s “spark” find what he’s good at, something he has a passion for and concentrate on that along of course with all the other therapy. Try to turn his passion into therapy that will help the child in his other areas of weakness. As the child gets older therapy becomes work and boring its no longer a play date with an adult so doing something fun is important. Bilal has a musical ear and can carry a tune on key and all that so we looked for music therapy, he does tend to get silly and off track a lot but his teacher has been amazing and great with him. Playing the piano has been good fine motor practice with moving his fingers along the keys his sessions at OT improved as well. So my two cents of advice is to find that passion or spark and work on it, be it music, art, math, design, science, computers… etc. It may turn into the child’s career path or just something that gives him a confidence boost and helps along with life.

485662_10152867177155570_120461399_n

Bilal was the first one playing. Also his trophy.

Progress to date

Alhamdullah Bilal continues to make progress with all his therapies and classes. I’ve heard it more than once from his therapists that he’s their little success story. Quick update list below.

Speech: His private speech therapist is considering depending on his annual re-evaluation in June to discharge him. His myofunctional therapist is almost done with articulation and will soon move on to improving chewing and swallowing. I’m looking forward to that as he’s a messy eater, looks like he’s a famished caveman devouring his food, he tends to over-stuff and gag. Strangers understand him now clearly and he’s able to ask and answer questions. He can read some words, and spell and he’s great with math and numbers and patterns.

OT: His private OT therapist is considering depending on his annual re-evaluation in September to discharge him.

PT: In January he had his annual evaluation where he met all his goals except those concerning throwing/catching a ball and upper body strength. It’s mainly for fine tuning and a lot of the time she works him like an athlete getting specified exercise. He’s doing so well that his therapist is considering using Bilal’s progress in their case studies and she’s asked me to write a summary to be placed on the center’s website for other parents to read about.

Piano lessons: He’s down to only 1 color sticker on the piano, he knows his finger placement and his notes to date and he’s just a little music genius when he’s in the mood and not acting all silly. His teacher is saying he’ll be ready for the spring recital in June. Cant wait, he’ll do 2 solos and 1 duet with her.

Swimming: Bilal’s taking typical swim lessons at the YMCA and he’s completed the first class (PIKE 1) and just started PIKE 2, this class has a total of 4 kids and so far he’s the weakest swimmer but he can repeat it again if needed, overall he’s doing well.

Horseback riding: He’s riding solo, steering the horse by the reigns, going through the obstacle course all the while trotting and posting, he looks like a little cowboy.

Socially: The other day we were at McDonald’s and at the table behind us a group of boys maybe 7 years old were playing with their wind-up toys and Bilal was watching them the whole time while he ate with a smile on his face, one of their toys fell below our table and Bilal gave it back saying “here you go” and when the boy took it and said “Thank you” Bilal got this huge smile on his face it was adorable, we urged him to go play with them, so he went up “Can I play with you?” thankfully they said yeah and he tagged around with them the whole time, not really with them as they were already friends and older but they still included him. He didn’t look weird only shy like any typical kid.  He’s playing really well with his younger brother, sharing, taking turns, asking and answering questions, fighting, again all typical. Another thing, we’re currently potty training his little brother and doing the whole sticker chart every time he goes in the potty so the first day we were of course making a big deal, cheering, stickers, high fives etc and Bilal was getting jealous as expected wanting a sticker when he went to the bathroom too. I sat him down and explained to him that he was feeling jealous but that he shouldn’t because he’s a big boy been using the potty for 3 years now and when he was learning he got stickers and toys, and a fancy potty chair and he learnt and did a good job but now it’s his brother’s turn. Just needed to say it once after that every time his brother used the potty he would cheer along with us and run and get the sticker chart for his brother looking truly and sincerely happy for him.

Other: due to his speech delays we concentrated only on English therapy and speaking it around the house. Now we’ve added more Arabic and he’s picking it up slowly a few words, not too badly pronounced and soon inshaAllah we want to include him in a Sunday program to learn more Arabic and Quran and have more Arab or Muslim peer interactions and maybe friends. They also do a little of Spanish at school which he enjoys and picking it up well.

I cant say it enough alhamdullah (Thank God) he’s doing amazing and I also cant help I get all teary when I think about it, so proud of him.

Adapted Piano Lessons

I’ve mentioned before that Bilal had an ear for music, he’s always singing or humming something from school, TV the radio, he gets the tune right but the lyrics are a mess but because I’m able to recognize the song right away I help him out with the words. We tried music therapy but his class mates were way lower functioning than him and holding him back and it was more play with music than actual music, they barely got to play with the instruments just a quick couple bangs and it is put away because they’re acting up, so we only did 1 semester of that and moved on to swimming.

One day out of the blue I heard him bang the “where is Thumper?” or “Are you sleeping?”  song on his xylophone and later in the day he played it on a small toy piano that came with a Happy Meal, where he learnt it or was it just musical intuition we dont know, but his dad rushed out that day and bought a keyboard. Hubby has played with it more than Bilal has but its around the house where he can try out different things and maybe learn more. When I went to the Special Needs Summer Camps expo earlier in the year I met with another center that offered Music Therapy, called Music Therapy Services of Greater Atlanta in  Downtown Roswell  and I spoke with the representative telling her we were interested in music but worry about class mate developmental levels and the like and she said they offer several classes and options trying to find the best fit for the child, I thanked her took her brochures and left, we also met the center that offered the adapted swimming lessons that day and went with that soon after. So with the keyboard at home and summer camp over we decided to check out music therapy I gave them a call and they said they offered adapted piano lessons and they offered a free 30 minute consultation lesson first to meet the therapist she meets the child and we discuss options. Bilal loved it and we quickly decided to do an hour lesson a week. She is impressed with his musical ear saying she has tune, melody and pace. They mainly play the piano and learn the black key patterns, high and low notes, and he started learning musical notes, because he loses focus quickly and starts acting silly they play other musical games like dancing or drums or guitar, so he learns to appreciate other instruments and enjoy music in general. He’s a quick learner and she said he’ll move from Book A to Book B quickly. Ms. Megan is great she has a beautiful voice and is really good at her job dealing with Bilal’s silliness and keeping him focused.

Tag Cloud