Thursday, April 5, 2012

Occupational Therapy

The longer I'm a mom, the more I realize how powerful intuition is.  I don't know how many times I've been glad that I followed my intuition, or wished that I had followed it.  When Luke started OT at a local kid's therapy center, I was happy to have found a place that was close to speech therapy and happened to have an open slot the hour before speech.  Even more happy to have found a place that accepts our insurance.  The last one means just a co-pay, no other out of pocket.

From the beginning though, I wasn't very happy with the office.  It took me asking twice, and Luke going through two sessions, before I received the written evaluation done at our initial visit.  The therapist was consistently 10-15 minutes late taking him back for therapy.  The office is huge, and the waiting room is always packed.  There must be 10 therapists working there, and it definitely has a factory feel to it.  My biggest issue though is, not once did the therapist discuss with me what I could do at home with Luke.  Once a week therapy will not help if the parent isn't educated on what to do at home.  We have homework for speech every single visit.  OT should be the same.

There was one episode that added to my unhappiness.  A boy, who I now know has a mental disability, slapped Luke across the face at our last session.  Something Luke did set him off, and he reached across the good sized distance between them, and slapped him.  No, that wasn't the office's fault.  But as I said, the office is huge.  The waiting room is like a circus.  So while they had no control over the act, the office itself creates that atmosphere by cramming too many people into one practice, in my opinion.  Taking a young child, such as Luke, into an office crammed full of people that may or may not snap when a 3 year old does something they don't like, is stressful.

The final straw was talking to Luke's speech therapist.  She is familiar with the OT practice, and does not have a favorable opinion of them.  One of her current employees started out there.  She confirmed my feelings that it's a mill setting.  Too many patients, high turnover rate for therapists.  They're insanely busy because they're one of the few places that take insurance, and they take pretty much every insurance you can think of.

So, I withdrew him today.  I'm on the hunt for a new OT, preferably someone close to us so that going on a non-speech day won't be a big deal.  I feel more and more that Luke needs OT services for sensory issues, so getting him into a new office will be a priority.

"Exponential Growth"

That is the term Luke's speech therapist used to describe his speech progress yesterday.

Let me just say I was an emotional mess yesterday, but for a good reason.  It started during the drive to speech therapy.   Luke and I had our first extended conversation.   He wanted to stop at the McDonald's play place.  I said we couldn't.  His response? "Why Mommy?".  To which I responded, we have to go to speech, Ms. Ginny is waiting for us.   His response to that? "Ohhh, Ginny!".  And so we went back and forth for a good couple of minutes.  It was by far the most back and forth that we've ever had.   Best part?   Most of his speech was understandable.

When I picked him up after his speech session, his SLP was emotional herself.  She began the conversation talking about how she feels he has had an exponential growth in speech over the last couple of weeks.  She talked about having a conversation with him (her first also), about one of the toys (a bubble blowing toy lawn mower...the noise scares him, and he was able to tell her that, and that he didn't want to play with it).  She talked about how it's kids like Luke that make her want to do the job that she does.  How rewarding it is to see a child go from his words being locked away, to having the freedom to express himself.  She talked about how smart Luke is, and how he is becoming more and more comfortable with her using PROMPT on him.

Needless to say, by the end of the conversation both of us were working hard to fight back happy tears.

When I was putting Luke into his carseat, I lost it, began to cry. Luke looked at me and just said, "why mommy?".  Then hugged me.