Sunday, April 1, 2012

Breakthrough for Oliver!

Okay, two posts in one day goes against blog etiquette, but I had to get this in the record.

I've been working with Oliver on his shapes, colors, and letters for some time now.  Since he doesn't talk, it's pretty hard to assess his progress with learning any of it.  Our normal routine was to pull up and go through all of the colors, then use his MagnaDoodle to write out all the letters and go over their sounds, and draw all the shapes.

When we got his PECS set, I started using the color cards during his Starfall time.  I tried to get him to use the cards to pick which color we would click on next, but he wouldn't do it.  I don't know if it was too abstract for him or what, but it just didn't work.  So, I stopped the cards and just continued going through the colors with him.

The week before last, while planning out Henry's upcoming year, I started thinking about how much Oliver enjoys his shapes bean bags.  When I checked Amazon, I saw that the same company makes color, letter, and number bean bags, too.  So, I went ahead and ordered the color and letter ones (the number set is next on the list).

They arrived on the 22nd and, since then, I've brought out the color bean bags every day during Oliver's Starfall time.  I tried to get him to pull a color out of the bag, but, again, he wasn't too interested.  But, I persisted in at least getting him to hold each bean bag as he watched the color information on the screen.  He liked squishing the bag and listening to the rustle of the filling, so it wasn't that hard to do.  There was only one "extra" color, gray, in the bean bag set, so I'd just leave that one out and use all of the rest with the corresponding Starfall color.

Well, today, Oliver got the colors bag off of the shelf on his own.  He pulled out all of the colors except gray and put them in a pile on the floor.  Then, he picked up the blue bean bag and brought it to me.  I immediately pulled up the color page on Starfall and clicked on "blue."  And Oliver climbed into my lap and I could see it click!  He kept looking at the bean bag and looking at the screen.  When we got through blue and went back to the main page, he hopped down, picked up the black bean bag and brought it to me.  Then the brown one.  Then, he grabbed the purple one, but when I clicked on "purple," he looked down, shook his head, threw it down, and picked up yellow instead.  So, I clicked on "yellow" and he got a big smile on his face.

We went through all of the colors a second time.  Then, he dropped the bags completely, climbed on my lap and proceeded to point to each color that he wanted me to click on

I know that doesn't seem like a big deal, but this is the kid that doesn't point.  He pushes and pulls us to what he wants, puts our hands on the lids to open them or on the handles to open the doors, but he never just points at something.  But, he did today.  We went through all the colors that he wanted and he was so happy to be able to really show me what he wanted.

Needless to say, we've spent a lot of time on colors today.  I'm hoping that this will help him with communicating his needs in other areas.  I'm also hoping that he'll continue to make good progress through this same combination of tactile and visual learning.


  1. Sounds like a huge victory for Oliver! Wow! What a blessing for homeschooling! There is nothing better than being able to see...with your own eyes...the moment that your child "gets it"!