Autism Blogs Directory suggested that people write about blogs we like. One of my favorite blogs is the Professor Mother Blog. I’ll admit I’m partial to finding blogs written by parents of girls with autism. Her writing and her stories about her family are just captivating. I’m inspired by how she challenges her children and treats them with honor and respect. I’m also inspired by her honesty and her ability to look at the bigger picture. I thank her for reminding me to remember the value of the trip when it seems like the road goes on forever.
I bought a fitball disc for R. recently. It is very similar to the sitting/balance discs in the therapy catalogs. It is a little larger and one side has raised nubs and the other side is smooth. I thought it would be useful for R. to put her feet on to give her extra sensory input. I also hoped she might stand and balance on it or at least walk on it.
She did not know what to do with it at first and wasn’t real impressed when I sat or stood on it. I stood it on one end and made it spin, and that became a favorite game. She would let me use the disc to give her pressure on her back or feet. Then one day I found her happily running back and forth in her room landing on the disc in the middle each trip. I noticed she had pulled the plug out and completely deflated it. She wanted to use it flat and she fixed it herself. I inflated it just a little bit and she has been finding all kinds of uses for it on her own.
She always seems to know exactly which side she wants to use. She sits in her beanbag or in my lap with her feet on the disc. She sits on it bottom down, lies down on her belly or back and even rests her face on it. She puts pillows on top and then lies down or rolls around. It gets most use as a stomping pad in an obstacle course. She recently found her old baby changing pad and a wedge that goes under the crib for newborns and added them to the obstacle course.
We were lucky that our former speech therapist found a trampoline on her street. None of her other families needed it so she gave it to us. It really helped during her long days of in home therapy. She had an outlet for her energy and the jumping helps to regulate her senses. I never thought about all the different ways that a trampoline could be used until one became part of our household.
Of course she can jump on a trampoline. She can jump barefoot, wearing shoes and socks, or just socks or even fuzzy socks. She can land on her feet, crash onto her knees or bottom. She’s not ready for hopping or fancy footwork, but sometimes I’ll catch her leaving toys on the trampoline and jumping around them. Sometimes she likes it if we hold her hands while she jumps -she gets even stronger stimulation. I will put a fuzzy body pillow on the trampoline and she will crash onto it. She came up with the idea of piling up all her stuffed animals on it and then crashing and rolling.
The therapists always called this game popcorn. We will place small toys on the trampoline and bounce them from underneath. She loves this, especially when the pieces go high and fly off onto the floor. She will collect them all and set them up in the middle of the trampoline, even standing them up if it is possible. We have used rubber ducks, small plastic animals, little people, letters, legos, pegs – almost anything will work. I always say ready set or one, two and she will fill in go or three. She’s starting to say all three words when she wants me to do it again.
When we were first teaching R. to use PECS, we would put the trampoline up against the wall and leave the trampoline icon where she could reach it. She really wanted to play on it so this worked really well.
We also use the trampoline as a table/platform. She will set up her dishes and cups on the trampoline although lately she prefers the dining room table. She will bring toys and sit on the trampoline on her own to play. It is also a great place to bounce balls and test the bounce-ability of objects. We also roll balls, spin tops and send cars racing across it.