Guest Blog by Em (Filbert's Mom) and Filbert
Filbert’s Bio: I am soon to be nine years old. I love being outside biking or swimming. I am a Harry Potter fan. I enjoy exercising and singing. My latest love is piano playing and snap circuits. I have been doing RPM since November 2014. I have accomplished so many hard goals.
We have loved being a RPM family for almost 2 and-a-half years. Coming from a play therapy background there were holes in Filbert’s academics that needed filling. However, academics only take about two hours per day leaving many hours to fill as a homeschool family.
Soma’s blue book Developing Motor Skills for Autism really sparked my passion for my son to have independent skills and hobbies. All of those take motor planning, which is a struggle for autistics.
Our family decided to divide our time 50-50 between academics and motor skills. Upon starting in November 2014, my son could not dress himself, feed himself, zip, and do many other skills. I was now armed with the tools to teach him. We began with motor modeling — assisting Filbert hand-over-hand 2-3 times, then having him immediately try himself. Consistency is key. We picked a few skills and exercised persistence.
Improvement comes slowly, but it comes and is so worth it. Many of the initial skills we started with took 6-9 months to master. Several took us 2 years. The pride and independence Filbert now has was worth every day we spent working on these.
We broke our list down into three categories: self-help, exercise and hobbies. Our first self-help skills included self-feeding, self-dressing, zipping, putting on shoes, cutting, and teeth brushing. Exercises included lots of stretching and core strengthening (a weak area for us). We now do Special Fit with Mike Ramirez and find it very helpful. Our hobby journey started with foosball, crochet, and tracing/drawing.
Working on all these motor skills has given Filbert a defined role within our family and community. Prior to having diversified motor skills, he ran around our house whenever he was not engaged in something. Now it is as if he does not need to run out of his own skin and can control his body much more effectively. Just like all kids, he has chores and he is such a help! His hobbies also allow him to do joint activities with friends, participate at Boy Scouts, and take piano lessons.
Below are some videos of where we are now. Through his hard work and the support of our team he has blossomed! Excited to see where this next year takes us. Remember the only mistake is not to try. Get started!!!