I think that Corrigan’s speech therapist is a really nice lady. Corrigan, however, thinks that she is the bees knees. Why? She brings bubbles. Lots of bubbles.
I was all sorts of jealous when I saw that she had these neat bubble containers that do not require you to take adult-sized fingers and fish around in the gooey, soapy water for the bubble wand. Nope. She gently squeezes the bottle and the wand simply pops right up for blowing. So cool. Expensive compared to other bubbles, but I want them, I am tired of slimy fingers. Because slimy bubble fingers are all I have to worry about. Hehe.
Bubbles are a really effective therapy tool and are really helping Corrigan out in many ways.
1. Bubbles encourage eye contact. Corrigan avoids looking at other people’s faces, especially when they are within a few feet of his own face, so placing the wand next to my lips and waiting until he looks directly at my face before blowing really encourages him to look at me.
2. Bubbles have helped Corrigan learn to point. It has only been recently that Corrigan has used his fingers for pointing. He had been grabbing our hands, walking us to where (or what) he wanted us and used our hands to touch what he wanted but he never really understood the concept of “pointing.” As you can see…he is really working that skill now!
3. Bubbles have helped to improve his upper body range of motion. Corrigan suffered a little bit of Erb’s Palsy after birth. He was born via C-section so it is believed that, because he was wedged so tightly up around my ribcage, that the excessive amount of pulling they did to get him out damaged some nerves in his right arm. He had a few months of physical therapy for the problem and it mainly resolved itself as he learned to pull up and crawl but his range of motion for his upper body, especially that right arm, has always seemed “tight” to me.
Bubbles encourage him to get those arms up…way up!
4. Communication. Pursing the lips and learning to blow help strengthen the tongue for sounds produced in the back of the mouth. Corrigan is not able to blow (yet!) but he mimics the lip position needed to blow and he makes a very good “o” with his lips.
Corrigan has always found ways to communicate his needs without the use of words. We have been using basic sign language with him for awhile now with some success but it delights me more when he makes up his own signs to get what he wants. For instance, the sign for “eat” is not even close to how Corrigan signs that he wants food. I taught him to participate in “asking the blessing” at meals by pressing his little hands together in prayer and keeping the prayer simple. Now, when Cor is hungry, he comes up to us, slaps his hands together in prayer and loudly says, “A-a-a-a-a-a-men!” We know to get him something to eat immediately.
Corrigan made up his own sign for “bubble” (or who knows, maybe it is the sign for “bubble” and we don’t even know..have to look it up) which includes making his lips in the “o” formation, taking the flat of his hand and tapping it gently, and repeatedly against his lips. Yesterday, he saw the bubble bottle on top of the stereo, came to the kitchen and grabbed my hand, walked me over to the stereo, looked up deliberately and “signed” his word for “bubble.” It is pretty cute…don’t you think?
5. Counting. Corrigan loves numbers. He is fascinated with finding them on license plates and around the house. He loves to hear someone count. He gets even more excited if someone holds up their fingers while counting. He really likes watching people’s hands and fingers. He enjoys maneuvering his own fingers to count as well (see the blog header on the page!) and can say “two” and “five” (which sounds like, Tooooo and Bive) We pop bubbles while counting…which Corrigan finds hysterical.
There are so many other therapy uses for bubbles but these are the outcomes that are working for Corrigan right now. It is really thrilling to find a teaching tool that holds his attention and brings pretty sudden changes in learning.
It is so thrilling that I take back what I said about slimy, sticky bubble fingers. I will take those any day of the week if it means that Mr. Corrigan learns!~