Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Some Things Kalisha Needs To Learn...Good Luck!

As I watched Kalisha struggle to cut her sausage patty and French toast with the side of her fork, it occurred to me that I should try again to teach her how to hold a fork and knife to cut her food.
She has tried to master this several times in the past, but she gets frustrated, we both get the giggles and we decide it isn't a skill that she really needs, anyway. Kalisha never eats 'chunks' of meat; chicken breasts, roast beef, ham, steak, chops. She eats ground or shaved meat, so cutting it with a knife is almost a moot point. It would be good for French toast, though.
My teenage grandson, (Kalisha's nephew) and Kalisha and I sat here last night and discussed all of the things that Kalisha can't do by herself. This wasn't a pick on Kalisha session; she was fully participating and we were all laughing.

I guess the reason this subject even arises is because Kalisha is always asking about how things will work after I die and she has to do things on her own. I try to keep that in mind and I think about it daily. What exactly are the things that she will definitely need to know? I'm sure you are wondering why I am considering this, now, when she is 27 years old. Actually, I wonder that, too. The truth is that when she was young 
 it didn't occur to me that one day she would have to survive without me. Thought I was immortal, I guess.
Last night, she asked who was going to pluck her eyebrows. I thought about that for a while and decided that if she lived somewhere that she had 'staff' who helped her, one of them could do it. Otherwise, I told her she could have them waxed. The same applies to trimming fingernails and toenails...put a manicure and pedicure in your budget, Kalisha, because even though she will occasionally paint her nails, I can't even imagine her trying to clip them.

When Kalisha was small, I thought she would wear shoes with velcro closures for her entire life. Surprisingly, she learned to tie her shoelaces. She really has a hard time with the tying, so when she gets a new pair of shoes, she puts them on, ties the laces and never does it again, She just slips them on and off with the laces tied.
She tried shaving her legs one time with a razor and looked like she had been in a war zone. She can't hold it squarely against her leg, so it slices the skin. Solution? Battery operated razor. Works great!

Kalisha's idea of hanging clothes on a hanger gets the job accomplished, but some of the shirt necks look like boat necks. (Remember them??) The problem comes with hanging coats or jackets on hangers. They are so much bigger than the hanger and therefore very difficult to hang up. About a week ago, while looking at our hall closet, which is very small, I had an "aha" moment. Why continue to struggle with hangers when hooks are so much easier? I took out the rods and replaced them with little hooks, big hooks, high hooks and lower hooks. Mission accomplished.
I already told about Kalisha's fear of the stove in an earlier post. The microwave is a great invention!
She could load or unload a dishwasher, but, alas, we don't have one. She doesn't do the best job of washing dishes but I continue to work with her on that skill. The upside is this: if she only uses the microwave, she shouldn't have too many to wash and if she wants to eat off of paper plates forever, would that be so bad??

We had a good laugh about putting the new roll of TP on the holder. It flies clear across the bathroom when she tries to put it on. My other children never did it either, but only because they were too lazy to put a new roll on, not because they couldn't. Solution? Buy the stand up kind of holder. Just slide the rolls onto it.

She can't use a scissors. It just bends over when she tries. We keep working on that,(since preschool) and sometimes I ask her to cut out a coupon for me. It may be missing part of the bar code or the date, and it sort of looks like she chewed it out of the flyer, but it will get done.

She can brush her teeth and use mouthwash, but absolutely can't floss her teeth. We have been working on this skill for several years, on and off. When she couldn't use dental floss (who can, really?) I bought her the little "swords"; I think they look like swords. No good! Then I bought the handle that is the same size as a toothbrush handle and you snap a new little 'flosser' on to it each time you use it. She can hold it but just can't get it in the right position. Her sister suggested mirror imaging. I put my hand over hers and floss her teeth while she looks in a mirror. I don't know if she will ever get this skill, but we'll keep trying, if we don't die of laughter, first. The cat is trying to learn, too.

It amazes me that she can put her hair up in a rubber band and twist it around the hair several times. She doesn't have to look into a mirror to do that. It seems that everything is backwards to her in a mirror.
Even though it is humorous when we are talking about it, I try to imagine what it would be like to have so much difficulty doing the ordinary everyday things that other people take for granted? And I am sure that she does have concerns about who will do things when I am not there to help.
I am a firm believer in making things as easy as possible for her to be able to do them. Don't we all operate that way? If the automatic washer wasn't easier we would all still be scrubbing clothes on a washboard or a rock in the river. I refuse to climb the mountain of "This is the right way to do it". I would rather stay in the valley of "What is the best way to help Kalisha get this accomplished?"

In my humble opinion, things that she can't do because of poor fine motor skills, fall into three categories:
1) with lots of effort, she could learn a variation of the skill  2) the task can be accomplished with some accommodations  3) she doesn't really need to learn the skill, anyway.


  1. Anonymous8:33 PM EDT

    i can also remember plenty of times being with you guys in the car and having to go 5 minutes before going into church or wherever. You asking " kalisha lemme see your teeth " . or " you need to wash you face and having a whole container of wetwipes right there. hahaha
    - elizabeth

  2. Gloria, I never use a curling iron or such instruments. I just cant make my hands go in the direction they should. Everything is way to backwards for me when using a mirror. Therefore, I keep my hair short. Problem solved!



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