Generally, people will think that if a child is able to walk and talk, that child is called “normal”. But there is more than meets the eye.
I have been working with Jack for over a month. One of the therapy session is the game of the human wheelbarrow. Its purpose is to develop hand and arm strength and it made me realize Jack’s lack of hand gross motor skill. Jack will always want me to be a student so I pretend I am a student. Jack will have to lift my legs up so that I can use my hands to move. Jack tries to move my leg up however he could not make it. He said “teacher teacher, lift your leg up, lift your leg up”. But I remain unable to be lifted up. Via this game Jack begins to become aware of the concept of weight. What is weight? Heavy and light. Jack enjoys the therapy programme. I think it is because I go down to the level of a child to interact with them.
At one occasion, I invited him to stand on my play tunnel and to my surprise he dares not be up on the tunnel: I just realize he is afraid of heights. He doesn’t even dare to sit on the tunnel. However with a lot of encouragement and affirmation. Jack is now able to sit on the top of the tunnel. Wow, this is great. If Jack dares to sit on the tunnel it shows to me he doesn’t resist that much. One day he will have the confidence to stand on the top of tunnel. Many of us afraid of heights, e.g. to stand up on the ladder with 6 steps or more but we are unaware of our fear till we have to use the ladder. So it is with a child: how many of us will be aware of their developmental problems that will affect the later part of learning in life?
Along the way of working with Jack and observing him, I found out he is afraid of closing the toilet door each time he went into the toilet. I ask him why he doesn’t want to close the toilet door and he cannot answer this, he cannot not externalize his fears. It is my understanding that only when a child has gone through a traumatic experience, he/she will be afraid to close the toilet door. Maybe Jack has at one time gotten locked in the toilet? Jack has received intervention training daily since early December 2011 and as of today, Jack is able to have 90% of the toilet door closes each time he is in toilet. He also told me to close the toilet door for him … that is, almost closed but not till the knob is closed completely. It is important not to rush this process of unlearning traumatic induced behavior.
It may sound easy, but how many of us know totally the child? Many times we are too rigid, we rush the child into preschool with all the academic achievement instead of laying a proper foundation first. A child without a foundation, is like a house built on shifting sands. How will such a child survive in society?