Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Wild Child

The Wild Child was diagnosed with a reading disability and working memory problems last July. When we received the report from his testing occupational therapy was recommended to improve his fine motor skills. He also had hearing tests and that examiner recommended physical therapy for some core strength issues. (And his hearing is fine- hooray!) Following up on those recommendations has been a long process since we were focusing on his immediate reading issues first. (Which involves a LOT of time with the tutor, first in a daily summer program then following up twice a week every week during the school year.)

I finally got all the ducks in a row and he had his appointment for an occupational therapy evaluation today. To begin with, the therapist had him working at a table on things like writing, moving plastic coins from one side of the table to the other, stringing beads, and so forth. After that she got him up and moving in a gym-like area where he had to throw a ball, work on some balance activities, do push ups and jumping jacks, and so forth. While I won't get her official report for a couple of weeks, she did give me a few recommendations we can get started with, as follows:

Therapist Recommendations:
~ Karate is a good idea (thank you to my sister in law, who has been telling me karate would be good for him for a while now, which is why I mentioned it to the therapist in the first place)
~ Continue piano (he's been in lessons for several months now)
~ WRITE!! Start handwriting again; use a short crayon to force a better grip (since fine motor problems were noted in his testing last July I've let him be about writing until we could figure out what would be best for him)
~ Sit on a stability ball when working at a table (for balance and core strength)
~ Lay on the floor on tummy propped on elbows to do things (cards, games, etc.)
~ Bring in groceries (anything to build strength) (he already brings in the groceries for me most of the time so this is a "continue what he's already doing" thing)
~ Wash the car/wash the windows (use those upper body muscles)
~ Shuffle cards
~ Knead bread (anything to get his hands working)
~ Anything with pinching motions
~ Cut with scissors (holding them properly; he tends to hold them upside down)
~ “Wheelbarrow” exercise (OK, DH has to do this one with him since he's a big, solid boy)

Mentioned during evaluation and summary:
The Wild Child didn’t crawl enough as a baby since he walked at 8 months. (Toward the end of 8 months, but it was still really early.) This means he didn’t strengthen his upper body muscles the way he should have as a baby. When his larger muscles are stronger they will support the fine motor muscles and everything should fall into place for him. Therapy is recommended.

So there you have it! He'll be a busy boy this summer with 4 days a week with the tutor again and his therapy, piano, and karate. (Now I have to get him signed up for the karate, but there are a dozen different karate schools in the area so that shouldn't be an issue.) Luckily The Eldest and DH have promised to help drive him around so I won't have to be in the car constantly!

And so his file folder gets a little bigger. I took the whole thing in with me and I couldn't help wondering how many parents they see each day with fat file folders in hand. There were kids in there with issues that make his look like a walk in the park. We are so fortunate that he'll be able to overcome his challenges.

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