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Posts tagged ‘visual-motor’

A Doctor Who Makes Phone Calls?

Today, I had a follow-up call with Dr. Mike, the psychologist who conducted Mae’s neuropsychological evaluation.  He’d called to see if he could offer any assistance and guidance.  He wanted to know if we had any questions for him now that we have had a chance to read and digest the evaluation report.  He asked how things have been going.

Wow.  I didn’t know there are doctors who make such calls.  Granted, he may be following a standard protocol.  However, my human resources/employee relations nose knows when someone is following a script and going through the motions and when they are doing their job well, and Dr. Mike is most definitely doing his job well.  He strikes me as bright, committed and genuinely interested.

I told him that Mae seems to have matured a lot since the evaluation.  She has a greater appreciation for consequences and is showing more self-control.  I told him that cognitive behavioral therapy with Dr. Laura has been going well, and we’ve only had a couple of major in-school incidents since January.  I spoke cautiously, pointing out that we’re coming upon some major transitions with school ending, vacation in SC, and then the beginning of summer camp.  Also, since spring started and I began wearing short sleeves again, Mae has been rubbing on my arms (which is downright annoying for me personally; I have learned through this experience that I don’t particularly like to be touched).  We’ll see if she begins to touch her classmates’ and teachers’ arms.

I did have a question for Dr. Mike about Mae’s motor-visual skills.  She has lost interest in the puzzles we bought for her, and I asked Dr. Mike how much we should encourage her to use them or if there is something else we should try.  He recommended that we not push her too hard.  He says that she is so strong in so many other areas that she’ll do well anyway.  That’s a relief.

Dr. Mike said that it sounds as though we are doing the right things and that we should continue to monitor areas where Mae has difficulty.  He said again that he is making himself available if we need assistance or have questions.


Puzzle Me This

Mae and I made a trip to the mall this morning to buy gifts for the birthday parties she and Jay attended today.  I ended up buying toys for Mae and Jay too, spending way more than I had planned.  It wasn’t Mae’s doing.  I told her before we walked into the mall that we were shopping for the birthday boys only.  She walked by the Disney store and pointed it out casually.  We breezed past the Lego store and the Pillow Pet kiosk.  She wanted to look at lots of things, but she didn’t ask for anything until we went into the Mind Game store.  Who can say “no” to educational toys?  That store is a trap, and I fell for it.  So, I applied my bookstore rule — I’ll never say no to buying at least one book, provided they behave and listen well in the store.

It was all good because I had been looking online for manipulative puzzles for Mae anyway.  Dr. Mike found that Mae had significant weaknesses in visual-spatial and visual-motor skills, which means that her brain has trouble processing what her eyes see, and she may have difficulty using feedback from her eyes to coordinate movements.  These skills impact a child’s ability to comfortably hold a pencil, tie shoes, button, snap, etc, all things that frustrate Mae easily.  Last summer, the occupational therapist identified these challenges; however, Mae’s therapy at the time focused on her sensory processing issues because we wanted her to decrease her tendency to touch or stand too close to others.  Well, it turns out that it’s all related because poor visual-spatial skills make it difficult to judge how close to stand to someone else.  At any rate, if we address these issues now, it should help with her writing and other tasks that utilize motor skills.

Just last night, Mae complained about her fingers and arm hurting while she was writing in her journal.  It’s clear that she is holding her pencil too tightly and using too many fingers.  I showed her another way to hold the pencil and suggested that she not press so hard.  She gave that a shot and then switched back to her way, telling me, “Mom, people can do things different ways.  Everybody’s different.”  Well, ok, fine.

Dr. Mike recommended puzzles to help improve her visual-spatial and visual-motor skills.  I bought Brain Twist, a three-sided pyramid that can be twisted and turned to match colors and flipped inside out, and Nanodots, a set of strong, small magnets that can be shaped into endless possibilities.  (Hubby just had to ask Dr. Mike, “What about video games?”  And, the answer was, yes, video games are good practice too.  Hubby had already made that argument to me ages ago because I was trying to resist buying a game console for Mae, and he just wanted to delight in hearing a professional say it.)

So far, she’s loving both the puzzles and, hopefully, she’ll stay interested in them along enough that they will be beneficial in the long run.  Meanwhile, at least she’s having fun with them.

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