Sunday, December 5, 2010

I will see you in December

I may have been neglectful in my blogging efforts but don't think that NIKKI has not been busy. She has been working at least 3 days every week and is getting quite use to the routine of going to work with me. My office was moved this year to a new building and she has adjusted quite well to this change. This building allows her a bit more freedom to roam around and my coworkers are always generous with the snacks they have hidden in their desks. (She knows exactly who keeps snacks in their desk!!) We have been doing a lot of activities to show the kids NIKKI's skills. For December we are doing the book/CD The Twelve Dogs of Christmas. If you are not familiar with this book it uses dogs instead of things... for example instead of 5 golden rings it says 5 Golden Retrievers. When we get to this part in the song NIKKI barks! Lots of fun! But instead of going on and on with words, I will let the pictures do the talking....
I don't remember what was happening here but I thought it was just such a sweet picture!
In this class we played Simon Says with was a impromptu game to get the kids up and moving. NIKKI played too. This has led to the idea of incorporating gross motor skills into our group sessions. Can you imagine...Simon says sit...the kids and NIKKI sit. Simon says jump...the kids and NIKKI jump. Simon says get the idea. We are also working on an obstacle course for the kids and NIKKI. Many of the students in the classes we visit need work in all areas of motor development. These will be fun activities to get the kids moving!
Is this cute or what? This little guy was so excited to meet NIKKI. This was the first time in this classroom. Many of the students in this class have autism. The teacher reported the some of the kids participated more than they typically do in class activities. Dogs can be such motivators.
The adult in this picture is Lindsey. She is a physical therapist too. She is now one of NIKKI's new handlers. Lindsey is on NIKKI's favorite people list...she loves Lindsey. It is so awesome that NIKKI responds so well to Lindsey.
This is Nancy and Amelia. Nancy is also a physical therapist and NIKKI's other new handler. Amelia is one of our Assistive Technology (AT) specialists. Amelia has been helping Amy (our other AT specialist) develop activities for classes. We usually go in as a team to work on the activities. NIKKI also responds well to Nancy. With both Nancy and Lindsey handling NIKKI, NIKKI is able to work with so many more students. Hopefully I can convince Nancy and Lindsey to blog about their work with NIKKI. I am sure they too will have wonderful stories to tell.
You know I saved my favorite story for last....Sam. Oh how I love to visit Sam. Nancy (Sam's physical therapist) wanted Sam to work on jumping so she had him working on jumping into and out of the hoop on the floor. He decided that he wanted to teach NIKKI how to jump. So as you can see in the first picture - Sam is demonstrating for NIKKI how to jump through the hoop. And in the second picture she jumped through the hoop! Sam's excitement is the best part of this whole thing. We ended that session with Sam saying "NIKKI, I will see you in November." During our November visit we worked some on the playground equipment. He has regressed a bit on the equipment during the summer break and we are hoping that NIKKI can give him the courage to use the equipment again. At the end of the session we took Sam to the after school program to wait for his mom. Sam wanted to tell the kids in the program about NIKKI. So before a roomful of about 40 kids, Sam told his peers about NIKKI and then showed them her tricks! Oh my goodness! I cannot express to you how proud I was of him! And NIKKI followed every single one of his commands! Sam is truly my inspiration for my work with NIKKI. As Sam said goodbye to NIKKI that day he said "I will see you in December". Oh Sam, I wish you could only know how you touch my heart.
And yes, we will see you in December!