Sometimes kids with apraxia have difficulty following directions or following an orderly sequence of events. They may need extra time to absorb what is being said/asked of them, and may need directions repeated during the middle of a task. Help them out by offering to strengthen those skills through some fun games. Just remember to vary the activities to keep them interested and engaged.
1—FOLLOW THE LEADER/SIMON SAYS
Equipment: Kids and time What you do: You’re familiar with these childhood games. Start small—simple actions and concepts go a long way in these classic “do as I (or Simon) do” games. Make it more challenging by adding in 2-3 commands for each turn, “Stomp your feet, turn around, touch the ground.” Why Bother: Attention to detail and memory are stressed, as well as receptive language and sequencing skills.
Equipment: A Memory game, or objects from around the house.
What you do: Instead of playing memory in the traditional sense, pull out just a few cards (2-3, up to 5 depending on your child’s ability and tolerance). Talk about what’s on the cards. Place them face up on table or floor. Tell your child that you will be taking one of the cards away while he covers his eyes (no peeking). His job is to tell you which card you took away. Variation: Let your child be the teacher and quiz you. You’ll be amazed at how much more engaged they are when they’re in charge. Switch it around so you’re the teacher again. As your child gets better at this, try taking 2 cards away and then 3 from a set of 5 or 6. Kate did so much better at this activity when we used actual objects that she can touch and relate to. Try it and see if it works for your child.
Why Bother: Develops memory skills, attention and focus—all of which kids with apraxia can struggle with. Also works on vocabulary
Equipment: Camera and kid
What you do: Take pictures of your child completing various activities around the house, washing hands, setting the table, getting ready for bed, heading out the door. Keep the steps in the routine manageable—say no more than 5 photographs (steps) of the same routine. Print them out and laminate or glue on note cards. Have your child arrange them in order from start to finish. Want a challenge? Have him arrange them in reverse order!
Variation: Take photos of an item that changes over time…think seeds to sprouts to flower (or trees in and out of bloom), seasons, or baby to child to mom to grandmother.
Why Bother: Kids respond best when they are center stage. So, taking actual photographs of your kid doing everyday things will be a motivator to remember steps in an important household routine.
Have fun and let me know what works for you (even if it’s not part of this list!) firstname.lastname@example.org
Coming Up in the “Apraxia World:”
- Windy City Apraxia Meeting on Friday February 18th 7-9pm. Contact Holly Olmsted-Hickey email@example.com for this FREE event!
- March on Leslie4Kids will highlight several non-profit groups that are helping spread the word about apraxia and special needs.
- Interest group for those who would like to meet at a local Panera for “Small Talk,” –an education/disscussion/networking group all about apraxia!! If you or someone else you know is interested in this group, please let me know. I am collecting a list of interested participants now. firstname.lastname@example.org