Following directions…listening…waiting…taking turns…compliance and flexibility.

 

One of my biggest challenges at times can be a little one’s compliance and flexibility…her ability to actually attend to the task…and be flexible and tolerate certain expectations.  Now of course the receptive component in a little one’s overall development has an impact on how well she is able to be flexible and compliant.  By this I mean…if she is not understanding and processing language…then she for sure may not understand the expectations…and when a language demand is placed upon her…she may have a melt down….she may appear to be a “misbehaved” child…when really she is just not understanding what is being said to her.  When she has developed a stronger foundation with regard to receptive language…and I know that she is understanding more…than I may be ready to place more demands on her.

So picture your little one…she is very rigid…likes things a certain way…you can not mess with her routine…very self directed…she has a hard time following directions…not because she does not understand…but because “she wants things the way she wants them“…she is NOT flexible…she is NOT compliant…she has a strong temperament….and she is very routinized.  She has trouble handling transitions. For example, there are some little ones who have a difficult time when there is a piece missing in a puzzle…when Mr. Potato Head’s nose does not fit in just right…when its time to clean up.

So for these little ones….I start to think about when they go to preschool ( I should have stated this is specific for little one’s around 2 1/2 years of age)…..back to the preschool thought…how will they sit at circle time…how will they wait..will they listen to the story or the activity..will they be compliant…and how flexible and tolerant can they be maybe when the weather bear is missing his umbrella…and today is a rainy day! Oh no…what can we do?

Co-treating for me…is a great way to learn and grow as a therapist…so the other day when working with little J…the session went like this:

 

J was sitting on the floor…she had to sit and WAIT

and then listen to the direction.

Therapist: J…look at my eyes…

J waits..sits patiently…criss-cross-applesauce…she sits waiting..looking at the therapist’s eyes….now she needs to listen.

Using the puzzle above…or any other three-piece puzzle…I love Melissa and Doug…

Therapist: J…look at my eyes….listen…I am going to put the cow under the couch.

***Now this is a pretty big deal for J…because this is NOT how you do a puzzle…she knows how to put the pieces in…so will she be able to “deal” with the fact that we are putting the puzzle pieces in places they should really NOT be.

Ah…she handled it well…

 

Therapist: J…look at my eyes…listen…I am going to put the horse on mommy’s leg.

J is still sitting…she has not moved..her legs still crossed..she listening to what the therapist is saying…she’s waiting…yea…I like what I see.

 

Therapist: J…look at my eyes…listen…I am going to put the sheep next to your brother.

 

**Great to include the sibling…because this is not part of the typical therapy routine…can she handle it…will she be compliant…flexible….she struggles with it a little..but we can re-focus her.

 

Okay….so now let’s do the puzzle.

 

Therapist: J…look at my eyes…listen….get the cow and put it in the puzzle.

She does!

Therapist: J…sit down…look at my eyes..listen…get the sheep and put it in the puzzle.

She does!

Therapist: J….sit down…look at my eyes…listen…get the horse…and give it to your brother.

Oh boy…this was very hard for her…she struggled…got upset…threw her head back.  Hard to be compliant and flexible..when your routine is thrown off…and this is a skill that you actually  struggle with.  These are all pre-frontal lobe skills…your executive functions…the ability to be flexible…to transition…to be able to tolerate and deal with your own frustration..to problem solve…to be compliant in a given situation….to handle transitions.  So we will continue to work on these skills for little J.

What I liked…what I saw…she sat for about 5-8 minutes…she waited…she listened…she followed directions…and she is learning how to be more compliant and flexible…how to transition.

Great work J!!!

About Kim

My name is Kim Marino and I have been practicing as a licensed speech and language pathologist since 1993. I work on Long Island providing diagnostic evaluations and services to children from birth to age 21. My experience is vast and am proud to say that I work with children that may present with articulation and phonological concerns, oral motor feeding concerns, Down Syndrome feeding, cognitive rehabilitation, auditory processing delays, receptive language delays, cleft palate feeding and sound development and expressive language delays. Most importantly, I am the mother of four amazing children and am happily married to my childhood sweetheart. I feel blessed to have my four children and so lucky to share this journey in life with my husband. I always had it somewhere in my head that I wanted to develop a blog or a website of some sort so that I could provide families with an additional resource....so that parents could help their little ones become a better communicator. And as I was developing this blog....I realized that I also needed to share the stories about my life and my children....and the funny things along the way that help to keep me smiling. Whether you are a working mother or not...finding balance between home, children and life can be a challenge....I hope that my blog helps to bring a smile to your face..and also some tools to help you help your little or big one. I hope you enjoy! Kim
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