How did I fit in math, practicing patience, social skills, hand/eye coordination, speech and attachment therapy all in one lesson?  Like this:

I like multi-tasking.  Okay…I love multi-tasking.  The best is when I can cover more than one thing at a time with the kids during school.  I can’t always have group activities since the kids are on different levels but often enough I can find something that can adapt to multiple learning levels.

For example, today we did a math game with Uno cards.  I laid out about half the deck on the table.

I also brought out the counting cubes and began to explain the game to them.  You turn over two cards.  If the numbers on the cards add up to 10 then you get to keep the cards.  If they don’t, you turn them back over and it’s the next person’s turn. (Practicing patience when it’s not your turn and not being rude when someone doesn’t get a match & you do)  If you don’t know what the two cards add up to (no one is allowed to tell you) then you use the counting cubes to figure it out.  Some of the boys have a hard time counting something without counting faster than their finger is moving.  This is where the hand/eye practice comes into play.

The Draw 4 card is worth 4 and the Draw 2 card is worth 2.  Then there’s the wild, skip, and reverse cards.  What do you do with them?  I made it up as I was explaining the rules to the boys since I was making up the whole game based solely on a photo I saw on Pinterest.  For example, if you turned over a number 4 card and a reverse – you automatically get a match IF you can tell me how much the reverse card is worth in order for the two cards to equal 10.  (The reverse card equals 6 in this case.)

I had told the boys that whoever got the most matches would get one piece of candy.  About half way through the game, Niki was asking how to play and then came up with the idea for more learning!  At the end, all the boys had to count their cards (their matches) and tell me how many they had.  For instance, Zach had a total of 12 cards.  If he could tell me what 1/2 of 12 was then he got that many pieces of candy.  Surprise, surprise they all got the answer correct.

The candy is a chewy candy and you can’t just chew it a couple of times and then swallow.  This is where speech therapy comes into play.  We’ve done so many variations on this mouth activity but it strengthens their control for their tongue, jaw movements, etc.  It’s an absolute necessity for us to get this practice in regularly.  (To give you an example why we need to do this – Justin used to swallow pieces of chicken whole without chewing it once.  He’s come a long way since then but still has a little further to go.)  They also have to pick the leftover candy out of their teeth with their tongue.  Big plus!  Then teeth brushing for oral stimulation.

There was some attachment therapy in there as well since I spent time interacting with the boys and it was overall a positive experience.  It’s hard to explain why something this simple really was such a big deal…it just was.  It’s days like this where I feel like I can not only keep going but I might just be able to conquer the unconquerable mountain.  (Until I slip somewhere along the way again and have to pick myself back up again.  Those slips are always humbling but I always keep going.)