First off, I want to share how extremely overwhelmed we are at the participation and generosity of Nate’s fans in his Birthday Wish! I truly thought we would receive $100, which would have knocked Ms. Susie’s socks off, but we have received more than $400 so far! Your generosity is so great that we’ve decided to give part of the money to Ms. Mollie, Nate’s amazing speech teacher, who helps kids of all abilities with speech delays. If you would like to participate in Nate’s Birthday Wish, there’s still time – we’ll be giving the Amazon gift cards to Ms. Susie on Nate’s birthday, Tuesday, May 20! Now, onto today’s episode of As Nater Tater Turns….
Nate has always had a love for art of all media — paint, clay, sculpting, you name it, he wants to get his hands on it. The love has carried over to the school setting; Ms. Susie reports that Nate is one of the most enthusiastic in the class when an art project is on the roster for the day. Many of the art projects have goals greater than artistic expression like exercising fine and/or gross motor skills, planning/sorting, etc. Every week, Nate’s folder is brimming with art projects that he’s completed or workbook sheets that helped him practice drawing lines or snipping with scissors. Chad and I always review each piece of paper with Nate and praise him for a job well done but, since we aren’t the classroom, we don’t really know how much Nate did himself and how much assistance was provided by a therapist.
Two days ago, this came home in Nate’s folder. Nice, right? We were impressed with how close each thing came to fitting within the allotted space. In fact, a little too impressed. I mean, he’s three. Someone must have helped Nate. That day, Nate’s journal didn’t make it in his backpack so Susie emailed me at night to say there were two videos on Nate’s iPad and she wrote a little explanation about them. One of the videos was of Nate assembling the above artwork. After Nate went to bed, Chad and I sat down to watch the video. In short, we were in awe.
To many of you who have interacted with neurotypical kids, this video will be nothing special but, for us, it represents things we’ve never seen Nate accomplish before. First off, Nate’s sitting at a table, attending to an activity in a very appropriate way–in the way you wish every child would attend to a task. Nate is so careful and thoughtful with the selection of each paper piece, the use of the glue stick, and the placement of each item. Incredibly thoughtful. And it’s a really long task (the video is more than three minutes long), which requires him to sustain concentration and focus. Then he realizes the task isn’t done until he puts the cap back on the glue stick, so he patiently waits for Ms. Susie, who’s filming the video, to realize this, which she does, and he fully completes his assignment.
I’m pretty sure I can hear Nate’s Birth to Three therapists (all fans of Nater Tater’s blog, of course!) cheering at this film because it’s jaw dropping. And we couldn’t be prouder because it’s such a clear demonstration of how Nate is thriving in school and taking to new things well. Granted, this is Nate’s performance after being a full year in Ms. Susie’s room; I’m sure it wasn’t this graceful at the start of his time there. However, it shows how far Nate has come in a relatively short amount of time — and now we plan to add mosaic-shaped paper and a glue stick to our restaurant bag to entertain Nate as we wait!