The following stories reveal, in a general way, some of the types of issues that OT can address. You may or may not see the child in your life listed here. You might, however, read a sentence or recognize a behavior that is troubling to your child. If so, we welcome your call to discuss whether OT can help.
JAMES: A BOY ON THE GO
James is an energetic 5 year old boy who loves to run, jump and crash. He has a hard time sitting still, and even more difficulty with activities like drawing and cutting. In fact, James doesn’t even use the same hand for these activities all of the time. He cannot hold a pencil effectively and gives up easily. Mealtime is a mess, because he cannot seem to eat neatly, and still prefers to use his fingers rather than a spoon. Leggos are “OK”, but he becomes frustrated with puzzles and games. His grandma, who is raising him, is very worried, as he is due to start kindergarten soon, and he does not even seem interested in drawing, cutting or coloring activities.
Back to top
ELLA: SCARED OF THE WORLD
Ella is 4-1/2 although she is small for her age. If given a choice, she will sit quietly and play with her sister’s toys, although they are intended for a younger child. Ella is terrified of the playground. The swings, monkey bars, slide and climbing structure are to be avoided at all costs. She does not even like to step foot onto the tan bark surrounding the equipment. It is almost as if she cannot balance on the uneven surface. Ella’s mom tries to encourage her daughter to participate, as she really needs to build her strength, but it is a losing battle. Ella is sometimes found under the equipment with her hands over her ears, as if the entire experience is much too loud for her. Ella’s mom worries that Ella does not interact with the other kids, but every time she takes her daughter to a birthday party or other event, Ella becomes so upset, that they are forced to leave after a short time. Sadly, Ella’s mom has just started making excuses not to attend social events with other kids.
Back to top
PABLO: A DISORGANIZED GENIUS
Pablo is 9 and although he has many interests, school is just not one of them. He has a difficult time understanding assignments, and often misses the “big picture” of an activity. His handwriting is quite messy, as is his desk and his backpack. Pablo can often be found sitting and staring at his work, as if he has no idea where to start the given task. He struggles to sequence the steps involved in school work. Even home chores he has done a hundred times, like setting the table or taking out the trash seem confusing to him. His Dad is frustrated that everything takes so long to complete—if it ever gets finished at all. Pablo is quite bright, and his teachers sometimes comment that he “is just not working to his potential”.
Back to top
MAYA: MEALTIME NIGHTMARES
Baby Maya just turned 15 months old. Her family is worried sick because Maya still prefers the bottle and has a hard time eating table foods. She was starting to each about 4-5 different foods, but now even those are difficult for her. Strangely, sometimes she will eat one food for a few weeks at a time, only to reject that food and never return to it. The doctor has urged the family to “get some food in that baby”. Meal times are a nightmare for everyone involved, Maya’s parents are doing all they can to get Maya to eat, but the problem just seems to be getting worse. Someone once told them that a child will “eat when they are hungry”, but they are terrified to wait that long.
Back to top
TYRONE: LIFE WITH AUTISM
Tyrone is 7 and was diagnosed with Autism three and a half years ago. His parents have read up on the condition on the Internet, but there is so much information, some of it conflicting, that they cannot figure out what is right for their son. Tyrone is in a regular second grade class, although it was a fight to keep him out of a special day class. He does “OK” sometimes, but other times the class environment and all of the expectations just seem too much for him. Tyrone currently receives speech and language therapy. His motor skills, like his school skills seem “OK” sometimes, but other times he is unable to do the simplest thing. It is very hard to tell how he is progressing, because he refuses to participate in many activities. His focus and attention are very inconsistent and he becomes fixated on the strangest things. Tyrone can talk, but it is difficult to get him to do so. This makes it almost impossible for him to make friends. Tyron’s parents worry about his social interactions, but then they also worry about all his other difficulties.
Back to top
SAMANTHA AND ROSE: CHAOS AT HOME
Samantha and Rose are 6-year-old twin sisters. They were born very early and needed to stay in the hospital for several weeks before going home. The doctors have said that they are developing normally now and that there is nothing to worry about. The girls’ mom wishes the doctor would come to the house before school in the morning, or during bath time, and see how NOT normal things are. Samantha is not so bad, but Rose is just a terror. Everything in the bathroom sets her off on a screaming tantrum. Brushing her hair or her teeth is a gigantic task, which leaves both mother and daughter exhausted. Rose is terrified of the shower, and because she refuses to tilt her head back to have her hair washed, she gets soap in her eyes and cries like she was being tortured. She will only wear certain clothes, and then only if they have been washed many, many times. Socks and shoes will often cause a meltdown, but the school has written to say that she cannot stay in class without shoes on. Everyone is suffering. The family cannot even go on weekend outings, as neither girl will walk on sand at the beach, eat any unfamiliar food in a restaurant or tolerate sitting on the fabric upholstered seats at the local movie theatre. Rose is becoming a tyrant and her mother sometimes just “gives in” to avoid another terrible scene. The household is always tense, and the girls’ mom also worries that she is not giving Samantha enough attention because Rose is just so demanding.
Back to top
CHRISTOPHER: AT RISK
Christopher is 3 and attends the local preschool. Christopher does not have any overt “delays”, but his teachers are concerned that he has little access to toys and almost no opportunity to go to the park, the zoo or on other “kid adventures”. He does not have the play or explorative skills typical of his classmates. Christopher lives with his parents, his 3 siblings and a several extended family members in a small, very urban apartment building. His dad works two jobs, and another on the weekends, just to make ends meet. Christopher’s mom has had difficulty with depression and substance abuse, and although see seems to be doing better lately, she often goes “up and down” in her ability to function. From the teacher’s view, his parents both seem very caring and concerned about the wellbeing of their children, but also quite at a loss in regards to effective parenting. The teacher is also concerned about burdening the family with any other responsibilities, but he feels it is his obligation to help Christopher develop more effectively.
Back to top