Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Honing the Team

There are only a few weeks of summer left, so I'm sitting down to do some brainstorming about Collin's upcoming school year, as he will not be attending preschool again this year (more on that later). Along with planning unit themes and fun activities, I'll be revisiting his NACD program, his PT priorities, his feeding strategies, and a new addition: a binder full of suggestions from his new occupational therapist.

We have been through a lot of OTs in a few short years; many of them were really wonderful but didn't work out for scheduling or other reasons. Our most recent occupational therapy was hippotherapy, and while I loved having that experience for Collin, it just wasn't a good fit for our family overall.

Our therapy team is small and incredible and that's how we like to keep it. I'd rather do without a particular therapy than push on with a poor fit. So we just took a break from OT until our beloved feeding therapist mentioned an OT in the area she thought might be a good match for Collin.

This woman has 27 years of experience and specializes in several areas, including reflex integration. Reflexes - our bodies' built-in mechanisms for survival and stability during our early months - are typically integrated when we no longer need them, but if a brain insult occurs (like, say, catastrophic seizures or near-coma-inducing-anti-seizure-meds) during that time, it can impede that process. If those reflexes stay present, they can actually interfere with development.

At least, that's what some people think. Other people think reflex integration is bunk. And that's okay. I don't care either way. I know there is little or no evidence backing it up (which really just means not enough studies have been done and has nothing to do with whether it works), but when you have a kid like Collin, who doesn't come even close to fitting any mold, you find yourself less concerned with large bodies of evidence.

There are two things I love about this woman aside from her expertise:

1. By the end of the first meeting, she said, "You know, I really think Collin is understanding a lot more than he is able to show us."

2. She uses an educational model. That means she did an evaluation, then a consultation in which she discussed her thoughts with us and sent us home with a binder full of specific suggestions for Collin, along with rationale. It's very similar to NACD and many of her suggestions were NACD-esque as well, which I liked to see. We will go back in six weeks to see how Collin is doing, tweak the "program" and get some additional training.

I'm feeling good about this move. I love to get a new set of capable, insightful eyes on Collin whenever possible and I love to be empowered to help Collin myself in his most comfortable and learning-conducive environment. Hopefully this is the OT match we've been waiting for.

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