>My Own Medicine

>So, I’ve been doing a little OT work on the side for various friends and friends of friends. It seems like it’s been so long since I’ve actually practiced and not just told other therapists what to do. Ha! It has been humbling in so many ways I can’t even describe. But, on the other hand, it’s been so wonderful as well. I’m seeing progress with many little ones and I LOVE it! Part of me would really love to go back to the clinic I like it so much. But, I remain very convicted from my aha moment up in Colorado that Suzy needs me right now. This time will happen in a blink and there, unfortunately, will always be other children who can use my love and expertise in a few years. For now, I’m so happy doing a little of what I love in regards to career and also spending such precious time with my own little ones. Thank you again, sweet Rob for working so hard to afford me this luxury.

One of the most humbling parts of working and seeing other kids make gains is the realization that I’m not doing as much with Suzy as I should be. I am aware that I shouldn’t be her therapist. That’s not my plan. But, I can do a few things that will make her life better. I believe sometimes I work so hard at NOT being her OT that I don’t do little things that would really make a big difference. So, we are getting back on the horse next week with her listening and brushing program. Both of these were recommended by her OT, a trusted colleague. I just need to be better at the follow through.

I also should work with her on her coloring and pre-writing. Uuugh! This is going to sting! I preach to people about how kids shouldn’t be writing until five or six because their little hands just aren’t ready. However, her preschool is starting the process this year and if I don’t intervene now, she will definitely learn some bad habits that will be so hard to break in the future. So, I’ll be working on the writing fundamentals at home for the next few months.

If you want some tips, I’ll try and be better about documenting our progress. First of all, I have to explain to her that letters go from top to bottom and left to right. It’s a simple concept that so many teachers fail to clue the kids into.

Also, her grasp will be much better if I start her on a verticle surface. It forces her wrist into extension and helps her fingers grasp better. A thing called Tenodesis…. I’ve tried these things with Suzy in the past and was met with melt downs. So, I just figured she wasn’t ready. Then, I worked with another little guy impromptu and gave him some chocolate for each letter that he formed correctly. How had I “forgotten” this simple trick with my own kid? So, for each letter she copies correctly, Suzy gets a small Lego. When she gets six Legos, she gets a marshmallow.
Suzy also resists coloring and frankly is all over the place. I know she’s behind her peers. But, it’s not really developmentally behind. However, I could help her improve. I want her to be proud of her papers in her classroom. I didn’t do it this time, but I will be breaking her crayons. This way, her grasp will be better and she won’t be as likely to push so hard. I had her weight bear on her left side while coloring with her right. This is another way to help with the increased crayon pressure that leads to fatigue.
Lastly, we cheated. OT is known for making modifications. This is a Wikki Stick. There is now an off-brand called Bendaroos. Same idea. If I circle about 1/4″ around the target area, it provides a tactile boundary for her to color within. When I remove the Wikki Stick, it is undetectable. I’m hoping this success will be the push that finally motivates her to want to color. Sometimes she gets so frustrated at the imperfection, that she doesn’t want to try. That then leads to increased imperfection due to lack of practice.
My last little trick I am using is the simple visual timer. I know Suzy doesn’t like to do this type of thing. If I can turn over a little gel timer and she knows she will get a marshmallow at the end, she is much more compliant. Huh,… kinda like the technique I train others on…. Hmmmm…

So, there you have it. Is this helpful to anyone?

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