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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Giving Nora's exercises a Try!

Nora doing her interactive Metronome program in my PT clinic. 

This past week Nora graduated from  one phase of her 20 week program; the Interactive Metronome.

This was the component where she listened to a metronome beat on headphones and then clapped her hand or tapped her foot as the computer recorded her accuracy and gave her feedback. I really attribute this part of Nora's therapy to the progress she had made in music class. (Her music teacher commented several weeks ago that Nora was able to keep tempo much better since starting the program). The thing that struck me is how Nora was so agreeable to  doing it 5 days a week, for 6 weeks. The program is an intrinsically motivating one, and I just had to keep a solid point-reward chart going for her.

Last week I decided it was time to try the program myself, as we only had a few sessions left. I had yet to don the headphones and see what it was really like.  Nora gave me permission to take one of her turns and I gave it my best shot. It was HARD. Nora watched me, aghast, and said, "Mom, you're ruining my score. You have to tell Ms. Becka in Seattle that you took this turn and thats why my score will be low". I think of myself as being able to keep an OK beat, and I played the flute for 5 years growing up, but that didn't help me.

The other thing I tried was an exercise in her movement/listening program (CORE). She stands on a balance board with her headphones with music on. I toss a bean bag back and forth as she tracks it with her eyes, while maintaining balance on the board. Nora loved being the teacher as I had to work hard just to keep balance on the board. She said, "Mommy, watch the bean bag". We had a lot of good laughs out of that!

Trying these two parts of her program gave me a solid appreciation for how hard these exercises are and how far she has come in the 6 weeks. When we started, it was hard for her to track a slow moving bean bag just standing on the ground, and now she is able to do it while keeping balance on the board AND listening to her Mozart headphones.

On Monday we start the PACE component (Processing and Cognitive Enhancement) of her 20 week program. This is designed to help brain processing speed and its used for all types of ages of people from kids to adults. For Nora, it will help with her reading and memory. Medical students wanting to improve their memory capacity even use it! It is fun, with lots of quick, challenging, engaging various exercises and games. I'll have more short videos of Nora and I doing it once we're underway.

 I'm continuing to study up to be fully prepared for implementing PACE. I am learning how to run it via CD's, phone call, Skype and watching Nora's teacher Seattle training sessions with student.
 Running PACE with Nora a challenge I"m ready for. Its fun to go into it knowing that Nora and I will BOTH be challenged! (and I must admit, I have small, occasional "freak out" moments in my mind where I think "OMG. Will I be able to implement it?" but then I talk myself off the ledge by reminding myself that I didn't think I"d be able to implement CORE and well, by-gosh-I'm doing it! And its working fabulously.)

We just finished a LONG week of dress rehearsals for a dance recital which was today (x2), so it is nice to have that over with. (More to come with pics about her dance recital-so fun to watch!) It will feel good to just focus on school and Nora's program again. Trying to squeeze in extra dance practices became exhausting as the weekend approached. I remained committed to not stopping or pausing Nora's Seattle program and Nora was a trooper and powered through. I kept Nora from a couple of her dance rehearsals for fear of her getting too exhausted, which I think helped as well.

Tomorrow is Mothers Day-I'm hoping for perhaps a few hours to myself where I can ZEN out and not do anything. I"m realizing how much busier Nora's program has kept me going, because in some of my down time, I am prepping and learning about the activities which I will do with her.

It gives me such pride and drive, however, to see it working so beautifully for her. Nora has just been blossoming in so many ways the past 6 weeks and we have a more fun, spunky, connected relationship than we've ever had together.


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