Friday, December 4, 2009

OT issues

Lauren needs OT services. What are OT services? Good question! Everyone knows what a physical therapist does and what a speech therapist does. Occupational therapy remains a mystery. My best friend, Cathy, from college is an OT and I had some idea of what she was studying to be but I never really got it until I had a child who desperately needed those services.

Cathy has explained it to me this way and it is a simple explanation but it's the one I've found that makes the most sense. She says "We help people get back to doing their job--- whatever their job is at that moment in time". My job is to go to work, type on a computer, do housework (sooo wish that wasn't my job), and care for my job. Lauren's job is to play, write, do school work, and be a 6 year old.

Lauren has been going to this OT since around the 4th of July. I've never met her but I have to be at work at 7:30 on Fridays and OT starts at 7:15. I was going to go in February, one of the many things I'm going to do on materinity leave. I rarely take time off because I'm saving all my leave for when I have Omega.

All is going well, so I thought until today.

The private OT (Holly) has been working with Lauren has come to the conclusion that Lauren has a processing problem in her brain which is why she has such difficulty writing. She is able to draw straight (relatively) lines but gets confused when she has to switch directions. Since there is only one letter (I) that you can make and go only one direction, she doesn't think Lauren will ever be able to write or even form basic letters.

Problems with this: Lauren is still considered a VERY young child in regards to writing. I will admit that next to her focus/attention problems her fine motor skills are her absolute weakest skill (she scored at age 6 in the 2 y ear level on the VMI (visual motor index). Lauren has never been diagnosed with an underlying neurological disorder which would lend it self to such as statement. Now, I'm still not convinced that Lauren doesn't have an underlying neurological disorder besides Autism. We just haven't found one as of now.

Anyway, when I heard this I decided to not sit at my desk and cry which was my first response but I called her OT at school who has been working with her since 9/08. She does not agree at all with that assessment. Teri (school OT) even said that even if she believed that it is still way too early to make that type of assessment. They do a lot of Hand over Hand( HOH) exercises with Lauren. Teri has noticed a difference in her this year as Lauren is now attempting to force her hand to go a certain way making letters. She knows which way an F is suppopsed to go, she may not be able to make it go that way independently but she knows which way it is supposed to go. Secondarily, she can now make an L. It is readable and legible. Not on a 1st grade level but it's there.

I also called Cathy. We had a quick conversation as there were six young children screaming in the background. Three of mine and three of hers. She always makes me feel normal. She's never woked with Lauren on a clinical level but also indicates that based on Lauren's diagnosis and test scores and age, she would not be able to make that type of assessment at age 6. She said she would feel uncomfortable making that assessment at age 10-12 let alone 6.

Anyway, I have Lauren's school OT calling her private OT. Maybe I'm missing something. Holly also said she doesn't think OT should continue due to the above reason. Teri (school OT) also said if we are going to jump to this conclusion we absolutely need to get her neurologist involved. That's not something Holly has suggested either.

It boils down to us needing someone convinced that Lauren can succeede despite her limitations. Lauren doesn't know what she not able to do and she doesn't know that there is anything wrong with her. I don't ned someone working with Lauren who has come to this conclusion at such an early age.

Bob also asked multiple times if she felt that Lauren was going to have a hard time writing and she stated that she was never going to be able to write.

I remember when Lauren was under 1 and had been diagnosed with Failure to Thrive. There was one doctor at our practice that made me feel horrible. I kept going to see him until I was a crying mess. I then made new appointments with a new docotr within the practice. I was so scared to say something to him or to switch right away when I felt uncomfortable with him. That's not the case anymore. It's amazing how mcuh more confident I feel advocating for Lauren at age 6 then I did at age 1.

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