The pictures below are from one of Natalie's recent Occupational Therapy sessions. She currently has 2 sessions per week each of OT, ST (speech therapy) and PT (physical therapy). Six total sessions a week keeps her busy in between her regular school activities with one on one expert assistance.
Natalie's weakest area has always been her fine motor skills. She has a long list of goals to meet to catch up to her peers, and she is making good progress. She recently was able to use scissors on her own and is getting better at holding her crayons correctly. Her hand/eye coordination is gradually improving. Since she didn't have the opportunity to crawl in China her upper body is not very strong. Her OT has her crawling down stairs on her hands and knees and doing downward dog yoga pose to help build strength in her arms and shoulders. Natalie loves these sessions. She works very hard and gives the therapist 100% of her attention. It amazes me that a 3 year old can stay so focused.
In the realm of PT, Natalie has made huge strides. She can walk up and down the stairs now by herself while holding on to the rail. She is beginning to be able to pedal a tricycle. Her running and overall balance have improved a lot. She still has a ways to go to catch up, but she has come so far for a child that could not walk on her own until she was 21 months old.
Natalie's speech continues to improve. There are three main types of ST: receptive, expressive and articulation. Natalie doesn't need any help in the receptive area. Before she turned 3 she tested at a 3.6 year old level...amazing for a child that had at that point only been exposed to English for 14 months. Expressively she is only slightly behind - not enough to justify therapy. Her ST is for articulation. Natalie has a fantastic speech therapist. Gary and I also work with her on pronunciation on a continual basis at home. Natalie's teachers, Gary and I are seeing her make a lot of progress. Her teachers say that she is engaging her classmates in conversation more since the beginning of the year. I think Natalie is gaining confidence in expressing herself as people are able to understand more and more of what she says. We still experience many moments a day of intense frustration when she can not make herself understood. Sometimes Natalie will break down into tears after saying the same thing 10 times and realizing that we are still completely clueless about what she is trying to say. It's not possible to console her or gloss over the issue by just saying "ok". She will say "No OK!" meaning that is not an appropriate response to what she is saying. As one of her previous teachers said "Natalie is wicked smart". You can rarely get away with any shortcuts around her.
A word of advice, if you have the slightest idea that your child might need some type of therapy act now. It won't hurt to get them tested. I so wish we had gotten all of this started sooner, but I'm very grateful for the services Natalie is receiving now.
from: Sue Golden
1 year ago