Parenting is a lot of work on it’s own.The to-do lists never end, as well as the worrying about if what you are doing is right. Parents a child with special needs adds even more onto the list, but there is a way that you can roll a lot of goals into one activity!
Several of my clients have asked me if I had a CD of songs I used in session so that they can incorporate them into their child’s day. I’ve always been a little nervous about doing this, and I’ll tell you why: Improvisation.
You see, the songs I utilize in session are constantly changing. They change based on who I am working with, how I am feeling, what goal is being addressed, etc. I get a little nervous about recording them in one format, when it’s not the same format all of my other clients experience and benefit the best from.
Example: On Monday of last week, I realized that the Fourth of July was coming up (I know, I’m really bad about holiday lead ups). So, wanting to incorporate my current goal of turn taking with that client, I made up a quick little song about fireworks. It went:
On the Fourth of July there are lots of colors,
There are fireworks in the sky (repeat)
We see the (color) ones, blow up! (etc etc)
When it came time for the fireworks to blow up, a scarf was selected and tossed in the air on the word “up”. We would take turns picking colors and it was a LOT of fun!
The song, and activity with it, changed a lot as I used it throughout the week. I left out what holiday it was to be filled in, we used numbers and color cards to sequence the color and number of ‘explosions’, we even changed the words around to make it into a guessing game of which color the other person was going to choose.
Now, I could have made my life a lot simpler and used the same version of the song and same activity with it for each child, but who would that have benefitted? No one except me. It brings back the thoughts I had in One Size Does NOT Fit All, that therapy is not a hat or costume or jacket designed to fit everyone no matter their size. Therapy, even down to the way I use my voice in a song, should be individualized to meet the needs of the person benefitting.
So how is this beneficial to parents? By improvising with everyday activities, you can change thing sup for your child, give them unexpected little surprises, and focus on different developmental and skill areas! What popped into my head was that the dishes aren’t caught up, so it is eat cereal with a fork day! Imagine the work on fine motor skills and motor planning!
Tell me, how have you improvised today?