Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Bring on the Accronyms...ABA, OT, ST

The last two months have been about as calm as a school of piranhas in a feeding frenzy.

Yeah.

I won't get into the grisly details about our visit from a stomach bug, or bore you with our loosing battle with allergies and house work.

I'll skip right to the major changes.

We have finally started therapy. We have had almost weekly visits from an Occupational Therapist who possesses a miraculous understanding of sensory issues and how connected they are to every other body and mind function. She does a lot of teaching me about specific reflexes and sensory integration, and each week gives me new protocols to use on Kit.

One of the biggest things I learned? I was right on that her sensory issues are a major cause for many of her challanges, especially where her sleep and speech were concerned. But I would never have been able to address her issues on my own.

I am working toward administering the protocols every day, or at least some every day, but real life application of these goals is proving, well, easier said than done. This is in major part due to the fact that our daily family routine is still not running smoothly. So we end up just maneuvering hour by hour rather than sticking to our daily plan. I need to really work on this.

Especially since our new schedule also includes two sessions a week of ABA therapy through the local university's Autism Program for both Kit and Zak. Each attends an hour on Monday and an hour on Friday every week.

Zak's instructors are working with him toward these goals (for now):

1) independently working through a set schedule, especially when it contains mostly non-preferred activities

2) becoming aware of his tendency to interrupt, and learning to cope with waiting and properly entering a conversation or gaining attention

3) increasing his tollerance and strengthening his physical writing abilities because getting his thoughts from his mind out through his body, specifically in the task of writing, is especially exhausting for him

4) helping him learn to walk beside another person instead of in front of or behind as this will help strengthen his social reciprocity

As he gains independence and mastery over these others will be added.

Kit is working on these to start:

1) gradual separation from me (she does not have this problem with Daddy)

2) gradually working on interacting  back and forth with the instructors

3) language and play skills

Kit had a hard time and was very overwhelmed by the initial assessment. And the third visit she almost completely shut down and started obsessively eating the m&ms that were supposed to be her positive reinforcers. I cried after that visit.

But then Daddy took her the next few times, and as suspected, she fully engaged, to the point that at her most recent visit she went with the instructor to the work room all by herself, and did the whole session without Daddy in the room! Amazing, but a bit heartbreaking for me.

I'm taking her again this coming week, and we'll see how it goes. I think this girl simply delights in keeping everybody on their toes!

We've also had two visits from the speech therapist, approximately eight weeks apart, during which time Kit's language has literally exploded! The ST remarked that what Kit has needed all along was occupational therapy. But she is still available to keep assisting wherever needed or as challanges arise.

I can't help but feel that if Kit had gotten OT at the beginning when I first requested a referral that perhaps she never would have lost her speech in the first place. Frustrating.

But we can only move forward, so that is where we are headed.

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