Thursday, February 20, 2014

Getting Program Done

 One of the biggest challenges to getting a neurodevelopmental (ND) program done is finding the time to get everything accomplished. There have been times when this has been really difficult for us but it is often possible to  incorporate program into daily life. K herself is in dance & downhill skiing, & her sisters are active in several sports as well. It's pretty hectic even without trying to get any program done!

First of all it is important to know that it is okay to take a break if you need to.  There have been times when life has gotten so busy that  we needed to take a short break.  I find it best to plan a set date to start up again though as it's easy to put it off & days turn to weeks or even months. I've heard it said that doing a neurodevelopmental program is not a sprint but a marathon so you need to pace yourself & I think this is very wise advice.

Equally as important, it's okay if you don't accomplish what you want to in a day.  Let it go!  :) Tomorrow is a new day - wipe that slate clean & try again. 

 It's okay to be flexible too. We've occasionally tried a different , much less intensive program when I knew things were going to be extremely hectic for a short time. 

When I went back & read over this list it looks like we are constantly doing ND activities & fitting something in at every moment of the day.  This is not true.  There needs to be balance in life & although ours can be very hectic K gets lots of free time to do her own thing too.

The following list is a work in progress so I'd really appreciate if you can add your ideas to in the comments or by email to & I'll add them to this list so others can benefit.

Some  things can be incredibly simple such as playing audio stories, classical music or other music recommended by your neurodevelopmentalist while your child is playing.

The  biggest thing that helped me was to associate a program activity with some part of our daily routine.  We would not forget to eat a meal or change a diaper so we did a program activity with each of these.

When K was very little, even  before we started an ND program, we tried to expose her to all kinds of sensory input.  Dabbing a little essential oil or her or my clothing was very a very simple way to help accomplish this.

After the bath  was the perfect time to fit in some baby massage.

Potty training is a great time to do some activities while you have a captive audience! Flashcards, encyclopedic knowledge, even eye exercises!

& again with that captive audience............... we've used bath time  to get some of the above program activities done too.

Fitting program in to your daily life can mean simple things like tossing the stroller & letting your child walk even when it mean that a trip to the store takes a bit longer,

Instead of lifting your child up onto the change table, high chair, car seat, etc, have them grasp your thumbs & hold on as you lift them.

Label items in your house so instead of a planned flashcard session, so you & your child can read them as you come across them in your house during regular daily activities.

Our schedule changes but at times I have been able to get oral motor work done as I am making supper.

We  try to combine activities as well & that is how we are accomplishing our oral motor exercises at the moment. K has special glasses that she uses each day while watching TV or playing on the iPad.  While she is doing that I often have her do one of her oral motor exercises.                                                                                                                                                                      
We do digit spans each time K wants the iPad or gets into the vehicle.

Now that K is 6 she can be a little more independent at some activities.  In the morning when I am making breakfast I have her work on her math book as well as do some handwriting practice.  By the time she's done breakfast is usually ready too.

We try to incorporate crawling into other activities too such as crawling while we pick up toys.

 When she has a question we describe things in more detail than I would have thought to explain to my older kids.  Like in Glenn Doman's book where he says Don't tell your child its a doggy.  Tell them it's a breed of dog called a Golden Retriever, etc. etc. Give them  lots of specific information on the breed of dog. It only takes a few seconds longer to give a detailed explanation but the knowledge adds up.

While I'm not a fan of letting your child sit in front of a TV/computer screen all day & I prefer to watch with my child so I can be engaged with them, there were times when I had K watch BrillKids Little Reader to teach her words, concepts, encyclopedic knowledge.  I created my own playlists which had the content I wanted to work on with her.  Here is a link on their program & very generous discount program.

That is all that I can think of at the moment but please remember to share your ideas in the comments or send to my email. I need some new ideas too!

Here are some ideas that some other moms have shared:

Melissa said:
1. Know your program really well so it is easy to include activities when walking on the beach or playing. Just adding some jumping and ball throwing for example if that is a part of your program.
2. I write my program activities up on a big white board or on 4x6 index cards in big letters and place it somewhere I can see it easily. I prefer the index card method as then I can group and arrange and change the orders of the activities. I stick them on the door or wall with blue tack. Then when I am sitting down nursing my youngest I can look over the program and keep myself familiar. I clump them in logical groups to me so that I can remember them more easily when I am out, with the most important at the top so I know to work my way down. As I am doing program with toddlers, I cannot stick to a rigid schedule, so this allows me just to glance at the board and quickly pick the next activity that I think will be accepted well.
3. You mentioned this, but tagging program activities to daily activities is a great idea. Flash cards at the start of a meal time - done. I had trouble encouraging my son to do his processing activities, but he loves his supplements and gets many throughout the day, so now they have become a reward, he does a quick activity and gets his fish oil! It is great as suddenly he has a need to try.

Jennifer posted some great ideas on FaceBook:
We use car rides for a lot of our program. I have my 6 yo and 9 mo on program. We use the car for audiobooks, iPad apps, and audio processing. I also keep a small therapy bag in the car and let my husband drive most of the time (we work together). This allows me to sit in back with my little one and read books, do flashcards and anything else I can do while she's sitting down. Great blog post. Thanks for sharing!

I forgot to mention it in my post but we like to do program in the vehicle too.  Oral motor, eye exercises, & now that she is older I can hand K her math book or some handwriting sheets to do.