Saturday, June 20, 2009

Occupational therapy update

Some people have asked how OT is going, so I thought I'd give my thoughts on it now that Ainsley's been having two 1-hour sessions each week for about the last month. She really hasn't been going that long, but already we think we've seen enough of a difference to keep with it. Her very sweet therapist, Theresa, has been working mainly on getting Ainsley used to/comfortable with movement and developing her ability to do complex tasks (like putting blocks in certain containers) while moving. A couple of weeks ago Theresa discovered that Ainsley is especially uncomfortable with things that involve rolling on wheels and moving in a circular direction. They were doing an activity that required Ainsley to lie, stomach-down, on a board with wheels and all of a sudden Ainsley got very upset and started crying. Theresa tried it again a few days ago but at a slower pace/for a shorter time and noticed that Ainsley started to get very irritable after a short time. Theresa thinks she's definitely found a sensitivity in Ainsley to this type of movement, so she plans to work on slowly building Ainsley's tolerance to it. Theresa also suggested that, at home, I have Ainsley ride her tricycle more so she can get more used to that movement. Ainsley does not like riding tricycles and refuses to touch her scooter. She absolutely hates the idea of riding a bicycle - when I've suggested that we could get her a bicycle for her next bicycle she has vehemently refused to consider it.

Based on my own observations of Ainsley, I agree completely with Theresa's suggestions and am hopeful we can improve Ainsley's tolerance to movement. We have planned a Disneyworld trip for November and I worry that she won't want to ride any of the rides (particularly the flying Dumbo ride and the Teacups) because of her sensitivity. In the past we've noticed that she's particularly sensitive to carnival-ride-type movement (even the carousel upsets her sometimes) so we are hoping to see some improvement in the next few months.

The other thing Theresa has been concentrating on is developing Ainsley's fine motor skills. Theresa has concluded that Ainsley's muscles, including her hand muscles, get tired very easily and that interferes with her ability/willingness to do activities involving coloring/drawing/writing. Theresa has worked with her a lot in practicing coloring with a large Crayola marker and has taught Ainsley how to hold it the right way. At home we've been drawing and coloring a lot with the markers and I've also been having her do "sewing" with these Melissa & Doug lace-up animals to help her learn to control her hand muscles. I can tell she's improving in the fine-motor-skills area - she is doing much better with her coloring and writing.

In sum, so far so good with the therapy. Ainsley loves the sessions (we still call them "gymnastics") and Theresa and we feel that we've seen progress even after this short time.

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