Thursday, 31 January 2013

Therapeutic Play.. for children in need.

Many may be aware of what Play Therapy is, some may have heard but do not know much, some may have not heard about Play Therapy before.
So, what exactly is Play Therapy and who can benefit from it? – Please read the article below.

Helping a Child Through Play Therapy

Adults often think of child’s play as mere fun and games, or a way to fill time. Actually, imaginative and creative play assists a child’s cognitive growth and emotional adjustment. Through play, a child develops self-confidence, a positive self-image and learns to express feelings, make decisions and cope with real-life situations. As such, play can be therapeutic, helping a child deal with and overcome problems that inhibit his normal development.

How does play therapy work?
Play therapy offers a child a safe place to play out-rather than talk out-his thoughts, feelings and problems. The therapist chooses toys that encourage “fantasy play,” such as clay, sand, water, drawing materials and puppets, as well as toys that enable a child to act out real-life scenarios. The therapist builds a warm and supportive relationship with the child, thereby encouraging the child to open up through the symbolic language of play.

During a therapy session, few limits are set and the child is given complete freedom to control his play and actions. In such a protective, yet empowering environment, the child generally leads the therapist to the source of his emotional disturbance through his activity and behavior. The therapist uses developmentally appropriate techniques to help the child let go of negative or restricting feelings and develop coping mechanisms to use in real life.

Who can benefit from play therapy?
All children go through stages or an occasional emotional “crisis.” But some children have serious problems, often caused by:


Family violence
Divorce, separation or other changes in a family situation
Severe burns or disfigurement
Chronic illness
Deafness or other physical challenges
Learning disabilities or other mental challenges
Often, a child needing help displays the following traits or behaviors:

Poor academic performance
Poor relationship with peers or siblings
Passivity, withdrawal
Bedwetting after toilet training
Reading problems
Social immaturity
Speech difficulties
Refusal to speak
Preoccupation with sex
Excessive worrying, anger, sadness or anxietyPhobias
Aggressive behavior or acting out
Knowing if a child needs professional help is not always easy. Ask your family physician or a mental health professional for guidance.


I’m currently a Therapeutic Play Trainee, looking for suitable case studies.
As such, I welcome any individuals if you have any referral or recommendation or if you need more information; please drop me an email at
I have listed herewith, what you'll be expecting.

What’s after initial contact?
I’ll need the referrer to fill in Referral Form and the teacher/parent/guardian/child (if he is older than 3.5 years old) to complete the SDQ questionnaire. This is to determine whether the child needs therapy and if I’m suitable to take on the case.

What’s next?
If concluded that the child’s case could be taken on, we’ll have to sign on a confidentiality agreement. This is necessary to protect you and your child from breach of confidentiality.
Then, we’ll work out a plan on where and when the therapy will be held.

How long is a session?
Elaboration on Play Therapy: 1) 45mins of therapeutic hour (the child will be exposed to all kind of play, eg. sandplay, storytelling, clay, puppets, arts, music etc)
2) the therapeutic hour is non-directive approach, led by child, the therapist follows
3) 1 case study usually take about 12 sessions depending on SDQ outcome (sometimes more)
4) 1 session per week

As a trainee, I can only take on 2 cases a week, thus, I appreciate your understanding if my schedule is full, I believe we can make some arrangement thenafter.

How do you know if it works?
After ¾ of the therapy journey, the same SDQ forms will be answered by teacher/parent/guardian/child. The result will be evidence.
Do note however, of the statistics:
¢  For all children referred 70% will show a positive change
¢  For those who are abnormal/at risk 76% will show a positive change
¢  For those who at considerable risk 82% will show a positive change
¢  For those at the extreme 88% will show a positive change
¢  So you could say ‘between 70% and 88% will show a positive change depending on the severity of the problems

How much do I charge?
I charge absolutely nothing for the therapy as a trainee. However, I do not have a therapy room, if you are not able to provide a room for therapy at the comfort of your own home, I would have to seek your understanding to absorb rental of a therapy room.
Rental of therapy room subjected to availability, the cost right now is $30 per session.

Is your room suitable?
 1.     A play room, or play space that is safe in terms of confidentiality, physical security and consistency.  This must be consistently available and kept clear of extraneous equipment or materials for the times of play therapy sessions.
2.      Absolute privacy during every play therapy session, with no interruptions, respected by every member of the family.

I look forward to embark on this meaningful journey to help children in need.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Puzzle Craze..

The very first puzzle IZ has gotten was from a gift exchange on Christmas Day in 2011, right after he turned 1 year old. A Melissa & Doug Farm Animals Peg Puzzle.

Got this from the Gift Exchange!

His fine motor skill was not so fine then.. and his hand-eye co-ordination was not well co-ordinated so to say.. Haha!
However, I think it was a great gift. It could not just aid him in developing his fine motor skills, hand-eye co-ordination, but I could also teach him about farm animals, and sometimes even counting.
From then on, I’ve never missed any chances to LOOK AT puzzles when there’s sales or whenever we passed by children’s toy department.
I remember Jann Phonics shared with us, that there’s no need to purchase expensive puzzles, the key is variety.
I’ve got the following in orders.. but sadly IZ was not the least interested in any of them. He was easily defeated once he was not able to place one properly, despite all the encouragement and try-together.

Got these for a few dollars in Giant

Bought these from some sale, but these are not genuine Melissa & Doug puzzles.. they delaminate easily! :-(
And I think the illustraion for each piece (underneath) was confusing for IZ

Good to learn about shapes

He couldn't do this at all, until after "life-changing" puzzle below, he could do these ranging from 5-9 pcs odd-shaped puzzles easily

As he was obsessed with clock, I bought these.. as you can see, the shapes are exacly the same, so, for someone who can't count yet, it was confusing. Now he could recognise the numbers, but he still can't understand this yet.

Bought these Kumon Step 1 puzzles, 2 sets each of 2 pcs, 3 pcs, 4 pcs and 6 pcs to start him with puzzles as I thought the above were all too difficult for him, but after the life-changing puzzle, this became too easy that I had to mix all of them together for him to "solve"!

Until the week I brought him to stay for a week with my parents while helper was away on home leave. I packed and sent the 28 pcs floor puzzles home before our arrival. Thank to my brother being the delivery man.
As my niece has not much toys, except for A LOT of SOFT TOYS and BARBIE DOLLS, I brought the puzzles out. Even when I knew IZ was the least interested.
Boy, was I wrong. With my niece doing it together, IZ found interest in that particular puzzle! He could play with it a few times a day and mastered it within a day. The next few days, while my niece got bored “NOT PUZZLES AGAIN”, IZ still worked on the puzzles diligently. I think that was the “life changing” puzzle!
So while we went shopping at Popular, I saw a box with 23 pcs of a Humpty Dumpty puzzle and a hardcover book. IZ went crazy seeing the Humpty Dumpty, so I bought and let him have a try.
This puzzle does not look like the conventional type puzzles with even sides. But IZ was really determined to play with it. Starting with the Humpty Dumpty’s face, slowly he made his way to his limbs and the wall. As he played, he sang “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall…”
Within 2 days, he managed to do it on his own.
And so the puzzles craze grow.

"Life-changing" puzzles

23pcs Humpty Dumpty Puzzle in odd shape


Bought these online, genuine Melissa & Dough, really different kind of quality

Obsession for clock continues.. the clock doesn't just teach about numbers, but time, colour as well as shapes

Bought these for S$2.90 each at neighbourhood shop

Saw this 35 pcs puzzle on promo, it may be difficult for him, but he likes being challenged

35pcs Carnival Puzzle

Bought this and another pattern for $2 from Daiso, not bad quality

Happy with new puzzle

Bought these from Qoo10, shipped from Korea

12 (was in progress in the previous pic), 16, 18, 24, 30 pcs Pororo Puzzles

A week after recovery..

What's a week after recovery? Still recovering..

Like snakes changing skin, so is IZ..

Initially we applied Papaw cream after he napped or fell asleep.. Then now I changed to applying Vaseline.

Looks like long way to go, but at least they look like they are not leaving scars..

I hope!

End of One Week Quarantine
Adult gets HFMD too
IZ Back to School

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Lesson C for Cake: 26th Jan'13

We were  playing puzzles and all sort of things when he suddenly pointed to the letter A feely on the wall and insisted I take it down for him.
“I want take out” he said.
I asked him why, but he just repeated that he wanted to take it out. So I took it out and handed it to him. He brought the feely to his desk and then he ran to the study. He tried to open the door.
“Mommy bag!” and banged on the door.
I was puzzled, didn’t know what he was referring to.
Impatiently, he went back to his desk, and pointed on the floor beside it, and said “Mommy bag put here!”
Then I got it.
He wanted to do lesson!
I asked if he wanted to do lesson, he said "YES!"
I was really happy coz he asked for it after just 5 lessons. And I was happier coz I am now more prepared than ever to do next lesson anytime.
And so we sang the greeting song, I had 100% of his attention, and he was especially excited when it was his turn to wave and say “hello mommy”.
Then I told him we are learning the letter C, and produced the feely I pasted with cotton. Again, I told him, C for Cotton. Suddenly he ran away to the pool of puzzles on the floor and said “cotton candy”.
I was really impressed he could “relate” the cotton I mentioned of the cotton wool on the feely and cotton candy on his puzzles.

Relating cotton candy and the cotton on the feely
Then we listened to the rhyme of C. This time, he listened to me the second time, as I took out the crocodile and sang. He liked it when I moved the crocodile as if it was creeping towards him.
Then it was C items time! Excitedly he took out one by one. This time, I didn’t put in chocolate. He still couldn’t get capsicum or crane, but it doesn’t matter, he will be there.
Today, I find myself doing better in the C items, when I paused for him to play around with the items. He has wonderful ideas to play with them.
C items

Trying to put the cow on a car ride

Probably this would be a better way


And then we did the art & craft for cake.
Glue & Pat decoration paper & cotton wool

Setting up the candles

He counted 1-2-3 candles!

And we sang Happy Birthday To You

Our accomplishment thus far
Past Lessons:

You can also follow IZ's Lernen-Reise on Facebook for more personal and up-to-date learning fun

Friday, 25 January 2013

Power of NO!

The last few days, since IZ recovered from HFMD, he has been saying “NO” quite a great deal all the time.
I’m not sure if he suddenly discovered the POWER of the word “NO” or he suddenly discovered he is more vocal that he wants his voice to be heard, obviously more through his NOs…
Requests to him to bathe, brush his teeth, eat his meal, change his diaper, are all replied by a NO.
“NO IZ take bath!”
“NO IZ eat!”
“NO IZ change diaper!”
“NO IZ diaper full!”
“NO IZ brush teeth!”
And he refused to tell us when he needed to poop, and he rather poops squatting, into his diaper, and refused to wash his buttock too! Arrgghz!
While I would have smacked him if it happened few weeks ago, I didn’t.
I told myself not to let my hands react faster than my brain.
So what did I do?
I walked away when I find my patience is tested. It’s still difficult, as my patience is still as thick as a piece of paper, but I’m trying.. trying really hard.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Lesson C for Crocodile: 23rd Jan'13

We are at letter C this week! Yippie! I’ve managed till B the last time I tried, I’m sure we’ll get this going, GAN BA TE NE!
Gretting song was a breeze, he looked into my eyes, waved and sang “hello mommy” when it was his turn. It’s so fun!
We started the lesson by tracing the feely.
IZ knows the letter C, so I told him C is for.. and he said CRO-CA-DAL! Oh, well done IZ, C is for CROCODILE. And C is for COTTON too, and let him feel the cotton on the letter.
Then we listened to the rhyme of C. As usual, for the past 4 lessons, he couldn’t sit till the second round of the song. Am thinking if I should just pause the CD after the first round. Hehehe..
He was again, very excited when we took out C items from the treasure bag. I had a full bag this time. And I like to watch the excitement. Hahaha!
Feely & C Items - see his hand reaching for the chocholate?!
(He knows all except capsicum and crane)
But I did a mistake, I shouldn’t have given him the piece of chocholate! He was too distracted eating it.. hmm.. all this because he didn’t eat proper dinner. Hubby warned me not to give snack right after dinner so that he’ll not skip dinner every night.
Eating chocholate hungrily

How a crab walk? Side way!
Art & Craft

Art & Craft

Eating again


Crocodile & the monkeys.. when I sang the song of Crocodile eating the Monkeys, he says, the monkeys are in the Crocodile's mouth.. haha!
(I have not coloured them, waiting for THE DAY he could do proper colouring, then I do not have to buy too many colouring books eh)

Back to drawing.. and so I drew C is for CROWN!

Past Lessons:

You can also follow IZ's Lernen-Reise on Facebook for more personal and up-to-date learning fun

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Issac writes..

He has been drawing for the longest I remembered.

He could make deliberate lines and circles, even things with meaning before he turned 2. I do not mean to benchmark him against the milestone as a mean of comparison but I am always interested to know if there's anything we could do to bring his passion to soar further.

While I do lessons with him, I do not force him to know or memorise all the letters. In fact, we have been identifying letters only randomly, as and when. That is why I do not put up A-Z on our wall but a letter each time, a letter he learnt each time.

There's a reason for this: I do not want him to feel bored when his teacher teaches him ABC.. or would they even teach him ABC? There's no such thing as ABC theme no? :-p Ocassional identification is all he needed to be excited about lessons, get praised when he is able to get it, and work harder on those he doesn't know, to get his reward = praises.. haha!
Hubby and I knew he knows letters when he exclaimed A and B when he saw the letters on the lift at our block.

Occasionally he would go O or some other letters when he sees them.

This week, he surprised me by writing a few letters while watching the Leap Frog, Letter Factory. Ocassionally, he would say "I want watch Letter Factory"...

He wrote these without looking at the tv. Watched the tv, turned his back and wrote on the board. I didn't test him, he just showed me he could.

24mo: He said "A" after he wrote this

25mo: Letter H - he didn't write this in "correct strokes" - but I don't mind at all

25mo: Letter L

25mo: Letter O

And he "decorated" the O to a Humpty Dumpty - this shows learning is fun!

Letter Q - almost there!

P/S: other than Leap Frog DVDs (yes, they do wonders as IZ learnt to count to 20 from there too, I believe), we should also thank Ah Nah and my bro for spending time to teach him at home while we were at work.

Adult gets HFMD too..

Dear Hubby had fever on Mon, and went to see doctor. Yesterday (Tue), his buddy spotted a red dot on his palm. He told me about it at the end of the day. I asked if he had ulcers, he said yes, and thought I knew. Well, I didn’t know, otherwise I may have asked him to check with doctor if he has also contracted HFMD.. for sure from IZ.
He had 3 spots on his palm at the end of yesterday, and so we went to the clinic together with IZ. I saw that Dr Jasper was on duty, so I asked hubby to bring IZ in during consultation. I was not worried that IZ will get the contagious disease, as he’ll not get back the same HFMD strain from his daddy.
Doctor confirmed that hubby has gotten HFMD. He was given 3 days of MC. Seems like adults do not need to go back to the clinic to get clearance? But he was told it would be worse on adults than on kids.
And so, hubby also asked doctor about IZ’s One Day Clearance Certificate. He was surprised we were given the “fit for school for one day” statement, and said the computer may have done a mistake.
And so he wrote for us a memo clarifying that IZ has recovered from HFMD and fit for school.

Edited on 28th Jan'13:
Adults have to get clearance before getting back to work too!

Hubby went to clinic to extend his MC as he was still having painful throat, though the spots on his hands and legs were vanishing one by one. Sign of recovery.

Doctor said it's no longer contagious. So we can all bunk in the same bed again. :-)

End of One Week Quarantine
A week after recovery
IZ Back to School

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

IZ's Speech Reise

As I've shared when he was 19mo (IZ's Speech Reise: 6th Sep'12), he was nowhere near vocal.

He speaks more when he past 22 months milestone.

And by 24 months, he is talking.. non-stop.. even in his sleep..

No prize for who can guess what he speak about the most.. what else but clocks and Humpty Dumpty..

Now, at 25 months, he could recite (or singing- off-tune) of Humpty Dumpty in his express version, as well as Five Little Monkey, not the WHOLE song, but the first phrase. That's good enough for me.

He would order us to "sit here" or "sit there", "Daddy come", "I want eat donut" (the "to" missing somewhere.. I know.. :-p), "Ah Nah please help.."

If you ask him about what colour is this thing, he would say "red colour" and not just "red".. well, most of the times, not all the times..

He's still confused by "you" and "me". He would say "daddy scold you" or "no TV for you".. hahaha!

Currently, I'm enjoying his dreamtalk.. "I want iPad!" repetitively while he sleeps.. or "I want drink water!".. or "I want milk!"

The best part about them knowing how to talk?

"Big packet, I want change diaper!"


"I want see doctor!"

IZ Back to School: 22nd Jan'13

We went to the doctor to get clearance on Sun at the End of One Week Quarantine but doctor was not able to clear him due to the spots on his palms that are not completely charred.
Last night I checked on him again and found that the spots are black, so I thought it’s time to bring him to the doctor again. At first I wanted to let Ah Nah and my bro to bring him there, but I’ve decided to let my reputation at work scarred a little more by texting my M that I would be late to work to get clearance for IZ.
I want to be with IZ in most if not all of his important moments.
One good thing about IZ, he's not scared of doctors. I've seen some kids screaming their lungs out at the sight of the clinic entrance, worse when they were entering the doctor's room. Thank goodness I do not have to go through that. Pretend play is indeed useful in IZ's case.

Eating biscuits while waiting for our turn to see doctor

So we went to the doctor, and were given a Medical Certificate stated:
FIT for School/Childcare for a period of 1 day(s) from 22 Jan 2013 to 22 Jan 2013 (inclusive).
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the statement, and I clarified with the counter staff.
ONE day?!
As in he is fit only for today? Tomorrow cannot go to school again?
She says, yes, confirmed, ONE day.
“Correct me if I’m wrong. Did I read this as fit only for ONE day to school?”
She confirmed again that it’s not wrong.
Then it dawned upon me that the doctor stated ONE day, as in he is fit to go to school today. Anything happened AFTER today, he’s not liable. I’m not sure if this is norm.
Nevertheless, I brought him to school despite having about an hour to school dismissal. We arrived at the end of snack time.
He cried when I passed him to Ms. Fizah, but he was fine after. Luckily my friend is on leave today and she took pictures for me.
It’ll take some time for him to get used to going to school again, but I’m sure he prefers going to school than quarantined at home, ANYTIME.

The boy watched from far holding on to his comfort item

This looks like even further.. but well, at least he wasn't crying

Witnessed an accident on the way to the clinic.. SCDF arrived after we're done with doctor..

End of One Week Quarantine
A week after recovery
Adult gets HFMD too