Hand Over Hand in the Home Can Be Fun

By Melissa Lake – Contributor

I have been using a program this summer called Hand Over Hand to keep my son Logan busy learning.  We work on a few things each day to perform tasks better.  I work hard at helping him do the best he can with them, and by employing whatever method works for him.

When I do Hand over Hand, I stand behind Logan or to the side depending on what is needed for his project.  I like to do this with him to get an idea of why something is done a certain way.  It makes one really think how hard it is to break down an everyday task when you have background noise, such as doors shutting, kids talking, cats meowing, the television, and so on.  It’s kind of amazing to think that my son’s Autistic mind does not stop thinking even during sleep unless he has his medication properly through the day.

Some tasks we are working on include doing dishes, sweeping, and laundry.  He is already sorting socks and shirts.  He has turned 10 and has an interest, so now is a perfect time.  Logan does not need a lot of help, and if shown the proper steps, I am sure he will be able to do small batches of dishes standing next to a helper who reminds him how well he is doing.  I see Logan growing in long strides every day.  He is also learning how to shop in the store and place groceries in the cart.

Logan enjoys making his own kids’ cuisines and pizzas in the kitchen.  Butter on toast is like a sensory candy for Logan because it smells so good, and he prepares it himself.  He lavishes the taste of warm toasted bread that smells like a bakery.  His secret favorite treat is Goober Grape and Peanut butter straight out of the jar, so he just grabs a fork or spoon and has his “joy”.  Walking up to hot stoves is a no, but microwaving and trying to toast anything is a go.  He now pops his popcorn at 3 minutes instead of 4 or more just to make sure there are no more fire ALARMS.  He enjoys the foods he makes, so proud of the creation he has made.

The act of talking with someone on the phone has moved up a step as Logan says “Hello,” “Love You,” and “Goodbye,” and pauses to listen to the other person talk.  Of course, he really loves to talk with his dad on the phone in different character voices.   As for reading, every word is one big leap into becoming the great student his school will be receiving in a month.  Everything is sight words to him!  My favorite is “We L come.”  Sounding the word out, now he just says it.

It seems like a lot of work to teach someone how to function in daily living, but who better than his family who loves him and wants the best for him? I have even found Logan on the piano just singing joyfully to a nice, soft tune (piano lessons are next).

I don’t think the Hand Over Hand assistance will go on forever.   Logan is learning rapidly.  His last year of progress proves he is definitely a hands-on learner, and with consistency through school.  I see him needing little help as an adult. We will see:)

3 thoughts on “Hand Over Hand in the Home Can Be Fun

  1. Melissa, such fantastic sharing! Admittedly Vincent does not have the same limitations or progression as Logan, but every day is a learning experience. I didn’t realize that Hand Over Hand was an actual practice, but I’m so glad I’ve done things the same way with Vincent! I have discovered over the years that my son is very much a visual, hands-on learner, and him actually seeing something done, and then repeating it himself is the best thing I can do for him. We’ve mastered sweeping the floor and putting away laundry. This summer he’s almost mastered cutting meat himself! 🙂 And he was very excited to learn cooking skills this year, even though it was simple stuff like the toast and popcorn. It’s so amazing for me to read your articles and have the great boost of knowing I’m not alone in raising a child with an autistic “disorder”. I’m now working on learning to hold doors for ladies. He’s got the helping others thing down, so I’m hoping this step will come easily! Thanks so very much for your sharing, and the constant encouragement that our children can and will fit right in with all the “normal” people! These articles of yours really help me get through the tough times with my son, and learn to enjoy the good times even more.

  2. Oh Connie, I guess the comment I left you did not stay, I am sorry to leav you hanging dear. Yes, it seems to be a lot of common sense, but a lot of people try to think that deeply into the situatation and find such struggle, I have seen you become a very happy person, friend, nntertainer, and nurturer when talking about the times with him. I cannot wait to meet him, and FYI in September I am making it my buisness to come visit you one weekemd with the boys, and hopefully Chelsea/ You have beeh warned;)
    Much Love

  3. Melissa, having you all come and visit would be fantastic! I would find ways to get everyone to fit in my house, as long as they can put up with my two dogs. These dogs LOVE children, and I think especially Deuce would be fantastic with Logan. Deuce and Vincent were joined at the hip all summer, and of course Ginger is brand new to the family, so she is still figuring out how the house works. But she has been so very awesome with the kids that come around here so far, and I imagine she would do great with your children as well. I am also going to make it a point to come and visit your way very soon! I just have to plan a vacation somewhere in all these parties for food. 🙂 But we’ll make it work either way, it will be a blast to be together again! Take care of that wonderful family of yours, and we’ll for sure talk soon.

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