Showing posts with label Encouraging Independence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Encouraging Independence. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

"How does Caleb....?"

Welcome to installment two of a new blog post series that I like to call: "How does Caleb....?" The first video I shared last week was a huge hit and many of you have already made requests for things that you want to see Caleb doing. Today I'm sharing a video of Caleb getting in and out of the bathtub. This was a HUGE deal for us. Putting Caleb in and taking Caleb out (especially when he is all wet and slippery) of the bathtub was hard. He's heavy. Not to mention he is getting older and he needs to be able to do these things on his own. So, we figured out a way that he could do it on his own. Here's how he does it (don't worry he is fully clothed in the video). :)

It took a lot of practice for him to be able to do this. It was not easy at first. We've had that green cube chair for years and have used it for many things. It makes a great transition seat for Caleb when he is getting into the bath and he also uses it to help pull himself out.

Here is a link to see these chairs on Amazon. You can flip it different way to get different heights. We use it all the time. 

Independence with the bathtub has been so great. It has truly saved my back!  I hope this video is helpful to some of you. Several of you have asked to see how Caleb gets in and out of the car. I'll work on that one soon. Feel free to leave other suggestions if there is something else you want to see. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

"How does Caleb.....?"

As Caleb has gotten older, and heavier, we have spent a lot of time working on getting him to do as much as he can on his own. We have focused mostly on those situations that required us to lift him. He's big...and heavy. I can't pick this kid up forever. So, we spent the last year really working on getting him independent in those areas that we had been carrying or lifting him. It has made a huge difference! I almost never lift the kid now. We started off small, just picking one thing that we wanted him to do and we worked on that skill until he mastered it.

I get asked a lot "How does Caleb....?" Fellow SB parents want to know how Caleb gets in and out of the car, on and off the potty, or in and out of the bathtub. I thought I would take some short videos of Caleb doing these things on his own and share them. I figure there is a chance they might help a fellow SB mom or dad out there.

Here is a short video of Caleb getting on the toilet.

We bought a yardstick at the home improvement store and Caleb uses that to turn on the light. We keep a chair by the toilet so that he can use that to help him get on and off.

If there is anything you want to see Caleb do, let me know...maybe I can take a video and share it. :)

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Encouraging Independence...and saving mommy's back

Caleb is heavy. His wheelchair is heavy. Lifting that kind of weight multiple times a day has taken a toll on my body, and by result, made my chiropractor rich. Side note: my chiropractor just took a week long vacation to the Bahamas...I'm pretty sure I paid for that trip. So in an effort to save my back and our bank account, I've been trying to avoid lifting Caleb. In the past, we have always carried Caleb to and from the car. Well no more of that!

We bought these foam puzzle mats:

We lined the mats along the wall in the garage, giving Caleb the perfect road to crawl on.

He crawls to the car.

He gets on his knees.

Gets up on his feet.

Climbs into the car.

Bumps his booty in the seat.

All by himself.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Chore Clipboard

Okay so we haven't actually implemented this new chore system but I wanted to share it anyway. I mentioned in my previous "behavior modification system" post (i.e. mommy is losing her mind from repeating herself a bazillion times a day), I am desperate to put systems in place that keep me from repeating myself over and over and over again. My ultimate goal is to have so many systems in place that I never have to talk again. Just kidding...sorta. With the success (after some tweaking) of our "Yay!" and "Oy!" sticks, I decided to create a new system to tackle chores, or a lack-thereof. I'm not sure the boys even know the word "chores" because they have never been asked to do any. And I mean never. There are several reasons for this but basically the biggest reason I don't ask them to contribute around the house is because I can do it faster...and better. I realize this is not a good reason and I'm not doing them (or myself) any favors by allowing them to avoid chores. So, starting this summer the boys will have a few chores.

I spent some time looking at different chore charts, I didn't see any one system that I loved but I did find ideas here and there that I liked so I combined a couple of different ideas and created my own system.

Side note: Do you ever feel like you spend more time "researching" ideas on Pinterest than you do actually making those ideas a reality?

 Introducing: Magnetic Chore Clipboards!

 Here's what I did.

I bought 1 inch round labels, used the template to print out a few chores.

I bought these 1 1/2 inch wood circles. I liked these because they were nice and thick so they seemed pretty sturdy. I spray painted them silver just to give them a bit of color and I just happen to have spray paint handy (when you make cardboard creations for Halloween you tend to have quite a few cans of spray paint sitting around). After the paint dried I stuck my chore labels on and did a light coat of modge podge (Mod Podge?, Modge Pod?, whatever it's called I love it) over the top to make sure the labels stay put. Finally I hot glued a magnet to the back of each circle.

Next I made my clipboards. I bought a few small clipboards, about $1.33 a piece. I spray painted them black (this step isn't necessary but like I mentioned before, I have quite a few cans of spray paint so I figure why not use them). I wanted the clipboards to be magnetic but I wasn't sure how to make that happen. I thought about buying magnetic paint but it cost like $20 and I wasn't entirely convinced it would work. So, I went to the local home improvement store and bought these:

I have no idea what these are but I got them in the building supply section and they only cost .60 cents a piece.

I cut them down the middle so I had flat metal plates to add to my painted clipboards.
I glued the metal plates down.

Basketball for Caleb and Race Car for Benjamin.

I also glued magnets to the back of each clipboard so I can stick them to the fridge. 

This is how I envision the system working: I will place a few chores on their boards each day. As they complete each chore they move that chore circle to the "DONE!" clipboard. They must do everything on their clipboard.

 Simple enough, right?

I figure this will play out one of two ways. One, the boys will be completely resistant to the idea of contributing and it will prove to be an uphill battle (that I will win) to get this system rolling. Or Two, the boys will be so enticed by my beautiful, creative, magnetic clipboards that they will jump at the opportunity to tackle their chores so they can move the circle to the "Done!" clipboard. 

I'll keep you posted :)

Oh, and I have a few more things up my sleeve that I will share soon. I've been a busy girl with all these ideas. I think it has something to with my decision to homeschool. For some reason, that decision has led to other decisions. I'm telling you, this momma has been a busy bee.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Encouraging Independence: Picking out clothes

We've been dealing with some attitude issues with Caleb. There has been a lot of eye rollin' and "whatever!" lately. I know some of this behavior is just him growing up, stretching those attitude muscles, and testing boundaries. I also think a big part of it stems from him wanting to control. I was thinking about the fact that he really doesn't have a lot of control over things in his life. So much of his day is planned for him. Because of Spina Bifida and all the things it effects there are certain things that have to take place at certain times of the day (you fellow SB parents know what I'm talking about). There really isn't a lot of wiggle room when it comes to his medical needs. It has to be done and it has to be done at certain times. Period. To some extent he doesn't have control over his own body either. His body isn't able to do all the things Caleb would like for it to do and sometimes his body does things he doesn't want it to do. He doesn't get a say. He works hard at school all day and then he comes home to an hour of PT three times a week. It's work. He doesn't really want to do it but he has to. He doesn't get a say. So, my point is that I think some of Caleb's behavior could be a result of just plain frustration along with just normal 7 year old attitude. I've been trying to think of simple ways I can give him some control. It occurred to me the other day that I still pick out his clothes for him! Why am I doing that? He's 7, he can pick out his clothes. So, he started picking out his clothes a few days ago but it has been difficult because the closet isn't terribly accessible. I've had to pull out shirts one at a time so he could decide which one he wanted. He needed a way to see all of the clothes in the closet easily. I had the perfect solution to this problem. Here is what I did. I took pictures of all of his clothes and then created a collage in Picasa.

This worked perfectly. I did a collage with just t-shirts/short sleeves and a collage with long sleeves. I was able to get 25 photos on each page. I printed each page out and put them in protective sleeves. I went ahead and did Benjamin's clothes too. That 4 year old is always looking to control something so I figured he can start by picking out his clothes.

Seriously, this looks way more complicated than it was. It was so easy and really only took me about an hour to do. Picasa made it super easy to create a collage, I didn't have to edit any photos or even crop anything.

Benjamin looking over his shirt choices.

"Hmmm...what should I wear tomorrow?"
Caleb loved this. I think choosing his own clothes really makes him more proud of his appearance because he got a say in it. 

His outfit choice for today. He's so stinkin' handsome.
He really likes to layer things. He chooses a short sleeve shirt and then a long sleeve shirt to go under it.

Benjamin's outfit choice for today.

This sweet boy has been sick all week. I took him to the doctor on Monday because I was certain he had croup and an ear infection. Well it turns out that he actually has a touch of pneumonia! I had no idea. He has been on medicine since Monday and I think he is getting better. He still seems pretty tired but he is playing more.

So anyway, picking out clothes is our first step at giving Caleb, and Benjamin too, more control. I'm going to think of other simple ways to encourage independence. It may not be the cure for all the eye rollin' and "whatever!"s but it can't hurt. I'll continue to share some of my ideas on the blog. I figure if this is an area that we struggle in, someone else might be struggling too. If you have some "encouraging independence" ideas you would like to share, then leave a comment.

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