On Friday we had another session with our Floortime consultant. It went well, despite Wee Girl’s changeable mood. The activities we tried included:
- Blowing bubbles #1. We put some water in a bowl with a bit of washing up liquid and used straws to blow bubbles. We need to work on Wee Girl’s oral motor skills, since she can’t suck through a straw — when we handed her one she used it to stir, and in normal circumstances she uses them as spoons (On the plus side this does make her drinks last longer). This activity caught her engagement very well, and she was indicating to us to blow more bubbles and pointing to the washing up liquid to request more in the bowl. On an unrelated note, we need more washing up liquid.
- From there we moved up to using a sheet as a swing. In other words laying the sheet out on the floor and encouraging Wee Girl to sit in it, so that we could lift and swing her. Unfortunately Little Man was fractious and didn’t want me to put him down. This activity has worked very well in the past, but after a couple of goes Wee Girl decided she’d had enough and started to throw a tantrum because she wanted the telly on.
- Bubbles #2. Luckily, this totally diverted the tantrum and we all spent a bit of time blowing bubbles and chasing them. I also encouraged Wee Girl to hold the wand but hold it up to my lips so that I could blow the bubbles — hopefully from there it will be a short step to her trying to blow the bubbles herself. We also tried some running and hiding so that she had to come find me to get me to blow some more bubbles.
- After that we ran upstairs and started playing in her bed. Wee Girl found a copy of Room on the Broom, and we discovered a new game when I thought to drop it down the side of the bed. It took a bit of showing before she realised she could go under the bed to get it, and this turned into a game of dropping things for her to get.
One thing I have learned from doing Floortime is slowing it down, concentrating more on her and less on language. A natural instinct with a child whose speech is delayed is to talk more, to fill their world with questions and comments — sometimes though it’s better to use fewer words, making them clear and relevant to what she’s doing.
Also important is watching your child for those nonverbal indications that she wants something, such as raising her arms a fraction for you to tickle her. And think laterally; ask yourself, how can I change this activity into a game that involves both of us?