Today we finally managed to get together with our DIRFloortime Practitioner for a session after too many weeks of illness on both sides.
We began by watching a video from the previous session, where we were playing with sand. At one point I pretended the sand was icecream and went to eat it. It took a couple of seconds before Wee Girl realised, but then she screamed (a happy scream) and stopped me. I’d forgotten all about this, so I’m glad I had the chance to watch the video and remember.
These sessions are always a lot of fun, with the focus usually on slowing down and building anticipation. This not only allows Wee Girl some vital time to process what is happening, but also gives her a chance to respond and take control.
Often when we play with our children there’s a lot going on and we switch between actions and games without even realising it. If you’re feeling anxious, it’s only natural that you speed up, trying to get as much interaction in as possible, but this can mean that a lot of opportunities for engagement are missed.
No More Jibber Jabber
While in many cases it’s important for a child to be surrounded by language, it can also be overwhelming, particularly if the child has processing difficulties. Too much noise becomes meaningless jibber jabber, especially if you’re not putting effort into making your words relevant and meaningful. It’s too easy to be talking for the sake of talking, and if you’re not getting anything back, your voice could be becoming robotic, your words flat and lifeless. Been there, done that. It’s exhausting, particularly because I’m not a terribly talkative person anyway, so talking all the time is something I find deeply unnatural.
One huge thing I have learnt is how to shut up, to not bombarb the child with comments, but to concentrate on making what I say relevant and meaningful. It’s a lot less knackering for me, too.
We’re Going to Need a Bigger Boat
And finally, the breakthrough. As part of building anticipation, I’ve been using the Jaws theme tune before I tickle her. Recently Wee Girl has been making a repetitive noice, which I just knew was meaningful but I couldn’t place what it meant — a sort of ‘diddit diddit’ noise. Today I twigged — she’s copying me! How did I miss that?