Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Comparing Therapy Service Providers - Part 2

When Goldie was a year old, a pediatric therapy provider moved in 2 miles from our house. Considering we live in a pretty rural area, this is quite a blessing. Otherwise, we would be driving 25 minutes to the nearest outpatient therapy office.

At Goldie's 3 year check up I asked her pediatrician for a prescription for a speech and occupational therapy evaluation. I made an appointment for the evaluations and brought the prescription with us.  After the evaluation, it was recommended that Goldie receive two sessions of speech and OT weekly, for thirty minutes each.

Initially, things got off to a slow start. with therapist B. She was there for two weeks, then left. Goldie worked with her supervisor until therapist A was hired to replace her. The supervisor was wonderful, had heard of Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson, and noted in Goldie's chart that we would like to use her techniques.
The first quality I noticed in "Ms. A" was that she has high expectations for the children she works with. I love this about her, but I've seen other parents scoff at her ideas. Some of the things she works on are: making choices, labeling, indentifying, using two words together, using sentences, and speech sounds. She also, does oral motor work, but I'll get to that later.
Goldie has begun to use a lot of words and phrases. When we talk to her she always repeats back part of what we said. I've heard a lot of new words from her doing this. Goldie can tell us "I want ___". She also understands "if/then" statements. This comes in handy for transitions and when she wants to do something and I need her to do something else. For example "If you wash your hands, then you can have a snack."

Occupational Therapy
Goldie took to her new OT, "Ms. M", right away. Ms. M also has high expectations for Goldie. I have to admit that even I was skeptical at first because of Goldie's low vision. She does much more than simply work on fine motor skills. Goldie does many activities while sitting on a swing or therapy ball to improve her core strength, balance, and eye hand coordination. They also work on dressing by having Goldie remove her shoes and put them on before she leaves.
I have seen an improvement in Goldie's arm, hand and core strength. She is also beginning to dress herself independently and can completely undress herself.

The Best Part!
Both therapists work together on oral motor activities to help Goldie with drinking, tongue and lip movements, etc. This was nearly impossible when Goldie was in the birth to three program and was not an option within her IEP. I wrote more about it here.

More Details
The office has mostly bare walls with an occasional B&W photo of children. It is very neat and clean. Goldie has little to no distractions (most days).
Goldie enjoys being there and trusts her therapists. So do I.
There has not been as much consistency as I would like. Her OT is on maternity leave and they have 2 different OT's covering for her. Then, when I was making our fall appointments the scheduling person switched Goldie to a different speech therapist. I don't know what made me ask if she made the appointments with Ms. A, but I was glad I did. I let her know it was absolutely not acceptable to shuffle my child around and the situation was rectified. It bothered me to find out that it was intentional. They were moving all of her Thursday kids to a new therapist's case load. Now I know to be on my toes when making future appointments.


Ria said...

It's so nice when the therapists work together on some goals. Some things just overlap and it's good to get input from different perspectives and approaches so that issues can be addressed in the best way possible. It's even better when the therapists have high expectations for our kids. I appreciate that with Matthew's therapists too. Sounds like Goldie is doing well. That's great that she understands if/then statements. we're still working on that. And being able to undress herself and learning to dress herself - that's great! It's like a culmination of fine motor, gross motor, and self-help skills. Thanks for sharing what services Goldie is receiving now. It gives me an idea of what Matthew might do when he goes to school in October after our IEP meeting.

Ruby's Mom said...

I have been happy with our experience with private therapy.Ruby is doing well with speech and has started drinking from a sippy cup.She has also just in the past two weeks started being able to chew and swallow some table foods.The ST and I were super excited.
I enjoy reading about Goldie and am looking forward to learning from your experience with home school :)