Play dough leaves and shelf-stacking

The play

This Wednesday it’s raining and horrible – definitely the day for an indoor project!  Because we made sooo much play dough last week and because I noticed that Ellen wasn’t that comfortable actually handling the play dough, I thought it would be good to do another activity with it to try and get her more de-sensitised.

Part A – Ellen and I pick leaves together.  Because of the rain, I decided to do this bit myself, as they also needed drying before we could use them.  But on reflection I think I should have insisted she came out…minus one to me 😉

Part B – Making the play dough prints.  It’s a very simple task – you roll the play dough out, choose your leaf and place it face down on the play dough.  You then roll over the leaf making an imprint in the play dough and finally carefully cut round the shape.

Ellen was very attentive and did touch the play dough much more than last week.  She found the rolling simple, the bit she struggled the most with was actually cutting accurately (or even vaguely!) around her leaf shape.  I don’t know whether this was to do with a lack of confidence, not understanding the task or lack of dexterity but we had a ‘stand off’ of about a minute where we just looked at each other – I was waiting for her to ask for help, she was waiting for me to offer.  In the end, Ellen gestured the knife towards me and pointed at the play dough.  I took this as my invitation to help and cut round all but the final quarter of the leaf.  I then indicated that I wanted her to cut round the final bit and she did – success!  We then piled our leaf shapes and original leaves on plates.  Another beautiful decoration for the kitchen for my husband to admire!

Play dough leaf prints

Play dough leaf prints

The job

Ellen also has a weekly ‘job’ at our local village shop.  It is a community shop and the staff are lovely and welcoming and very happy to have us.  The first week we went was a bit of a disaster.  This was mainly my fault because I had just told Ellen we were going to ‘work’ at the shop without setting in place any structures.  Result – me spending most of the time chasing Ellen round the village and persuading her to go back into the shop, much to the amusement of a delivery man who was having a coffee.  The staff and I then formulated a plan that each week they would ensure a few items on the shelves needed replacing and that Ellen would do the shelf-stacking and then leave.  The plan is to gradually build up the amount of items each week before adding another task.

This week Ellen found FIVE items to put on the shelves.  Ellen completes this independently in that I stay at the front of the shop and help her identify the items which need replacing.  She then goes out the back to find the items while I stay at the front.  There was even a challenge this week, as the raisins she needed to find were in a box.  Ellen brought the whole box out and I helped her to open it, she then took out the two packets and put them on the shelf – voila!  There was a slight stand off when I handed her the box to take back – but this glad to say I won this one fairly easily – plus one to me.  The staff commented that Ellen was much more comfortable in the shop this week and didn’t seem quite so keen to leave, so now may be the time to think of another task she could complete?

Ellen’s reward for such great work?  A trip to McDonald’s!  The staff in that branch are actually getting to know us now – wish they had a loyalty card….

Ellen shelf-stacking at the village shop

Ellen shelf-stacking at the village shop


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