Ellen was lucky enough to be given some great craft sets for Christmas and no doubt we’ll be working our way through them all over the upcoming weeks and months. Given the choice of which to start with, she rather surprisingly chose her new jewellery making kit. Surprising because of everything she received, this looked the most challenging.
I soon found out why she chose it though, as the projects leaflet inside the box contained pictures of tiger and zebra earrings and pendants. Without hesitation, Ellen chose to make the zebra necklace.
This involved rolling out thin pieces of alternate black and white clay, sprinkling them with water and then pressing them together firmly by rolling a cup over the top. It was a great activity for our current RDI objective, because there were bits that she found really difficult, like moulding the hard clay between her fingers to soften it up, but also bits that she found much easier – like rolling the clay into long sausages. I was therefore able to use my ‘easy’ ‘a bit tricky’ and ‘difficult’ prompts fairly evenly thoughout.
Ellen has sensory issues surrounding her fingers and didn’t like the feel of the clay, so she tried using a pair of gloves initially, but when these proved too cumbersome she took them off. I found this quite encouraging as it seemed like her desire to make the jewellery was stronger than her sensory issues.After rolling with the cup, we then had to cut out two shapes, one 2p-sized and the other 1p-sized, before making holes for the thread and then putting the pieces in the oven to bake.
I have to continually remind myself not to step in and over-compensate for Ellen, it’s very difficult not to try and improve things and make them perfect. This is Ellen’s necklace and it needs to look like her necklace!The second half of the production process was much trickier, in fact it almost defeated me. Our RDI advisor had asked me ‘what does Ellen do when she find things overwhelming?’, well the answer is she tries to walk off and leave me to it! Getting the pendant threaded was fine but trying to fix the clasp to the end was almost impossible with the result that I pretty much took over. Looking back what I probably should have done was abandon the instructions and instead had a discussion with Ellen about an easier way to finish off – i.e. just tie a knot in the flippin thing! However, we perservered and it did give me the opportunity, many times, to say how difficult this bit was, but even so how we managed get it done in the end and I think you’ll agree it does very much look like Ellen’s own work! When we’d finished, we trekked off to McDonalds for Ellen’s weekly fix of a plain cheesburger and large fries. One downside of her increased confidence in doing her own ordering is that she’s started adding some ‘unexpected items’, like today’s chocolate muffin. Very happy with her illicit purchase, she laid out the cheeseburger, muffin and chips in that order on her lap in the car and proceded to eat them together as one meal – yuck!