I will be blogging about our experience at Surfer's Healing camp, hopefully some time soon, but there are video clips from our day that I want to include in the blog and I need some time to edit those together.
This post is to share a first for the boys and I – today, the three of us played our very first game together. I had asked the boys' therapists some time ago if they could think of a game that I could play with both boys. I wanted an off-iPad activity we could do inside, together, that would be fun for them. I knew it would be a challenge because Oliver and Owen are so different in terms of skills, challenges and preferences, but I wanted to see if it was possible. One of the therapists suggested trying to teach the boys Picture Bingo – she's enrolled in a graduate program so she could also this as a project for her studies.
Here's what the boards look like:
As you can see, they are 3×3 grids with pictures on either 8 or 9 of the squares. There are 5 boards in total. Each player picks a board and puts their own picture on it. In this example, Owen has the favourite characters board and I have the favourite songs board. The players take all the cards off the board and give them to the bingo caller. The caller holds up one card at a time and asks who has the matching picture – the first player to fill their board gets Bingo!
One of the things that Owen finds tough is imitation – not just in terms of vocalization but also with respect to gross and fine motor. It proved difficult for him to raise his hand unprompted to indicate that he had a matching picture on his board. So, instead of requiring him to do that, the therapist got Owen to point to the person's picture to indicate whose board had a match to the card being held up by the caller.
I know how much of a super-star Owen is at matching but even I was impressed with how effortlessly he kept track of all 3 player's boards. He pointed to the correct board every single time – and before I even had a chance to work out which board was the right one.
The game was fun but we were incidentally working on some pretty cool skills as well. Scanning and matching obviously but also sequencing, waiting, turn-taking and in Oliver's case lots of opportunities to practice pronouns ('I do' 'Owen does') and context appropriate commenting.
Both boys got a reminder when they only had one square left and if Oliver won he said 'I have Bingo!', if Owen won then I held out my hand and he placed the 'Bingo!' card in it.
Here are some pictures of the boys playing with Oliver's current primary therapist:
Waiting to play. I know this picture is out of focus but it is actually the least fuzzy one I have – they were pretty excited at the prospect of getting to play with me there.
This is Oliver taking all the pictures off his board in preparation for play. Owen was mulling over which board to choose. He ended up plumping for the Eric Carle board. Those who know him will not be especially shocked by this.
And we're off! We're all set up and getting started. First match goes to Oliver.
Owen has A Very Hungry Caterpillar match – look at that beautiful smile. I'm so thankful to the team at Surrey Place for working with the boys on this – watching them play was wonderful and getting to play with them was even better. I see lots of games of BINGO! in our future.