Sunday, May 8, 2011

Isn't it amazing to talk to people who understand! to have friends that you can be totally honest with and who totally understand where you are coming from and how you feel. The world of disability is hard. It brings out the best and worst in people. You gain friends you loose friends. You gain strength you loose strength. At times you feel out of control like your whole world is falling apart. At times you feel so empowered that anything is reachable. You develop a sense of determination to do anything in your power to give your child the best life they can have... to help them reach their fullest potential no matter what it takes. Without the understanding of friends and family you could never succeed. I am so blessed to have an amazing family both in Australia and Israel. This trip would not be possible without their support. They say that true friendship is never lost in time! I have always believed in this and have been through stages in my life where i haven't had contact with people for years to reunite to the same friendship..How blessed I feel to be reunited with a friendship. One i believe was always there but was brought back through two amazing and inspirational children.

 Noam, Israel and this trip has given me so much. I don't have the words to describe how this trip has and is changing my life.... I am learning daily to understand my child and myself and how we work together!

 Today at the institute
we played with horses, we did some puzzles, we played with those lying down and standing up icy pole sticks... we attempted to use them to create a square. We used a white board to copy the square made of icy pole sticks to a drawing.... MY fear was that with all the stubbornness of not wanting to co operate the concepts were being lost. For the final session we
went with Sara to the park next to the institute. I wasn't sure how Noam would go trying to cooperate in open space with slides and play equipment to distract him. As Sarah wheeled Noam around the park in his pram showing him all the lying down and standing up lines she explained the important link this had to his understanding of the world around him and his every day environment. Once out of the pram and running around Noam found two icy pole sticks on his own.He picked them up and showed them to Sarah and I "SQUARE" he said... Sarah picked up another stick and together we sat. Sarah made for Noam the letter N. Noam knows his alphabet and was excited by the letter 'N'- Sarah pointed out to him that the letter 'N' was for Noam. 'WOW' said Noam. Noam picked up the sticks and proceeded to make the letter 'N' on his own! HE GOT IT!!!!!
Where to begin?
It's been a few days since I have blogged. In the world of 'Noam' a few days can mean a million experiences and a million emotions.
That pretty much describes the past few days we have had.
I am not even sure where to begin. I think the best thing to do in a situation like this is to simply write and whatever comes out you can either enjoy to read or just skip altogether!

Last Thursday was an interesting day at the institute. Besides the usual tears and anger we saw snippets of Noam's capability. An amazing little boy with so much going on in his head. His determination and passion together with his stubbornness has in the past two weeks made me cry laugh and be proud. Last thursday we had many sessions but one which stood in my mind was that with the head of the intensive program. Chana is a woman who i don't know very well, but one that I already admire. Not only is she compassionate and wise she sees beyond what's being displayed on the outside and see's the child for who he is! In reflection i have to say that all the therapist see 'Noam' Their understanding of the 'child' their development and what makes them tick intrigues me more and more every day! In trying to open his mind in a systematic way through play i was amazed at the imitation she was able to pull out of Noam! I have always and will always believe that a child learns through play! What I have learnt over the years with Noam is that his play at times needs to be directed and realistic! what I have learnt through feurenstien is that his play needs to be 'mediated' there is a difference one which i never understood until now! Over the years we have had many issues with Noam mouthing things!! from all types of objects to his thumb. The answer has been to give him this stimulation in a more appropriate way! A rubber strip maybe.. on thursday it was brought to my attention that his need for this stimulation may very well be  not only due to his lack of language but also the types of food he eats (or should I say doesn't eat)!
Hmmm food for thought!

I have to take a break this evening from this blog, sorry i had so much to say but
i As I sit and type  to you all it is 8pm in Israel... Tonight marks the start of Yom Hazikaron - Remembrance day! The Siren rings and I stand in silence together with a country that mourns!


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Soliloquy - "Narration given by a mediator directed at the child without expectation for the child to respond or give eye contact but rather immerse them in a verbal environment"
This is a concept of embarrassing language that sounds easy but is actually a difficult skill to master! To gain the skill will be to develop a communicative child who feels comfortable and develops a greater understanding of and within  the world around him. 
This is a skill I am beginning to embrace, explore and use. Never fear, next week i will begin to tape Noam's speech sessions with Rina... Magical....

Today Noam had an OT session like no other... It started off as most sessions so far... angry, crying and not a very happy Noam.. After a little TLC and some clever diversion techniques the therapist Rachel did some work with plastic pipes that stretch and icy pole sticks... I wasn't really sure about what she was doing but once she explained it to me i was amazed! She was teaching Noam the concept of the 'stick lying down and the sticks standing up. Why? because this is how they teach pre writing.  It sounds strange i know but really when you hear the reasoning behind it, it's truly amazing. Noam has now leant (within ten minutes might i add) about horizontal and vertical lines... in the next session we will take the next step of teaching him to Draw a square, then other shapes, then letters! WOW I can't wait to sit it all come about.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Slowly getting into the routine of the day, Well i am anyway! Noam is struggling a little with the idea of participation! In true Noam style he is testing the waters with every therapist he sees! Lucky for them they are experts at diverting the negative behaviour to positive. I guess in a way I am happy he is showing these behaviours as these are the things Naish and I struggle with everyday. These are the things i need help with the most! For those of you who know Noam even a little, one of our biggest concerns is his tendency to abscond. Funnily enough this hasn't changed in Israel however...we are working on it! The therapists are determined to win and although Noam is a tough opponent it seems that they may have the upper hand! throughout his speech session today Noam tried to run out.. instead of locking the door (as some of the other therapists have done) the speechy aloud him to leave the room as long as he asked if he could! hmmmm after the third time he started asking, after the fourth time of leaving the room he realised that mum wasn't coming with. That made it the fourth and last time in that session that he left the room! Interesting don't you think?
The key to success so far seems to be language! we haven't even touched on things and already as Noam becomes confident with his use of language I am already seeing slight changes in behaviour and ability!

The day ended with another 3 hour walk for me while Noam slept the afternoon away... I walked to the 'old city' with the purpose of visiting the market I once loved so dearly! As i walked i noticed the absolutely amazing changes made to the streets of Jerusalem. As for the market, stairs, stairs, stairs and more stairs. PRAM = NO MARKET!  Oh well at least I had a nice walk there

Monday, May 2, 2011

Another day in a magical city!

Tomorrow is another day, Well it was, today I mean... another day! A better day.
To explain a little about what is happening for those who are interested! Noam and I are at the institute for 4 hours a day. There are four sessions a day, each one hour long! We are seeing a few different therapists each day. A psychologist , occupational therapists, speech therapists and special Ed teachers who have or are doing PHD's in Furenstein's approach! It can get a little overwhelming for Noam (an myself) to be changing therapists every hour but he is getting used to the idea! ( I think next week some sessions run for 2 hours with the same therapist)

  Some of you may think that 4 hours a day is not much considering we have come half way across the world. I felt the same until i saw the state Noam was in when we finished today. Lets just say Noam in the pram sleeping, mum drinking coffee trying not to sleep! The intensity of what happens in those four hours is amazing. 

It's a little hard to go into detail exactly what happens in each session and i am really hoping to be able to film some sessions (keep forgetting to ask)... I think i have learnt more in the past few days than i have in five years.
Mina if you are reading this, I GET IT!! Mediated therapy the importance of the the use of language between Noam and adults....Narration, explanation  I GET IT!! The speech therapist blew me away today. Mina you wold have been proud of this kid who used his words and learnt some more... learnt to ask and had a discussion about a book.
I have so much to learn. I am on an emotional roller coaster and didn't realise how hard emotionally this would be.

To finish  off the day We had a play in the park at the end of the street! Kezza it is fenced and brilliant!!! Noam made some friends his interactions were immaculate (if that makes sense).
i feel like this is the start some someone new!

Jerusalem really is a magical city! 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Life As A Documentary

I am sure that this experience is going to bring on many changes in both of us! Noam has been great but over the past few days has demonstrated behaviours i have never seen! He has begun yelling at me in a way that scares me. His frustration at his inability to effectively communicate verbally has over the past few years become more and more frustrating to all of us! If i could have one dream in life  it would not be to win tatslotto or to have the house i have always dreamed of. besides good health and happiness I also dream for Noam to be able to speak... I dream of the day i am able to know what he is feeling, thinking and knowing.. The psychologist today explained the about the importance of conversation. She explained the need to not talk for Noam but to narrate... consider his life as a 'documentary'  narrate what you do how, you do it, how your going to do it and why your gong to do it! I always knew the importance of narration in Noam's world of understanding and speech... today in watching a master at work the penny finally dropped! I hope that I too in time will have the skill to make narration apart of our every day life!

The big day

WoW! What a week, what a day! We arrived in Jerusalem today! after searching and searching the streets of Nahlaot we finally found the institute and the apartment! I don't think i will elaborate on the little adventure as it was a little stressful and exhausting.... lets just say we arrived and are now all settled!
Arriving at the institute all emotional from the trip here I think it was fate that we began with a visit to the child psychologist!  Between Noam throwing things and screaming and me crying she had a field day!! LOL... It all ended with a happy Noam and a happy mummy! She was inspirational. Her ability to calm Noam and redirect his negative behaviour to positive, beautiful and constructive interactions was something you generally only read about! I defiantly have a lot to learn and so far at least one great teacher to teach!

Got to put the boy to bed so for now! See ya