Category Archives: Occupational Therapy

No Diagnosis Frustration–Please Label My Kid!

We’ve been having one of those times around here. Things are going well, and Angel is doing well, but I’m getting so frustrated because I hear “you don’t have a diagnosis”. We do have a partial diagnosis of speech and language delay and fine motor skills delay, but it can be very difficult to get support services when you don’t have a concrete diagnosis. If Angel had autism, we would be have a much easier time getting support services. But since we don’t have that, we have to continually push for things.

Let me clarify that I don’t think life would be easier if she had autism. What I’m saying is that for kids who have autism, there are supports and services available. I know the wait list for services can be long, but at least there is something. We have been working with someone about Angel’s aggressive behaviour, and she was asking us questions about how Angel acts and what she does, and she told us that she didn’t have any community services to refer us to because Angel doesn’t fit in any of the categories. She also noted as I did when we first started trying to figure out what was going on that a lot of Angel’s behaviours fall into what you would expect from a child with autism. So far, the only thing we know for sure is that she doesn’t have autism.

We had to fight to get Angel an IEP. Part of that happened because our principal changed and the new one didn’t know what the old one had promised. We let them know before she started school that she was going to need help. In senior kindergarten, we asked for an IPRC meeting so that Angel could be recognized. She’s in grade 2 and still not recognized as having special needs. Never mind the fact that she gets speech and OT at school and that she is working at a kindergarten level in math, she still doesn’t meet the qualifications.

I just get so tired of hearing that! An occupational therapist once told me that Angel presented as “normal”, meaning there wasn’t anything in her outward appearance or actions that would make you think there was something different about her. Sometimes, I wonder if this is why we have trouble getting people to recognize that she does need help. Earlier, I said that we have a partial diagnosis for Angel. I say that because I don’t think that speech and fine motor delays cover everything. I know that there is something else going on, but what it is exactly is what I don’t know. I know that she has sensory issues, I know that she has trouble understanding concepts. I also know that she is a bright little girl who is very curious and loves experiments. She is very loving and enjoys playing with her big sister. She’s a great kid. She’s becoming such a neat little person and I love getting to see her point of view on the world. So, we keep moving on, muddling through, and climbing the hurdles that they put in our way. We’ll find out what is going on someday, and in the meantime, we’ll keep working on improving the areas where she is struggling–label or not.

Label sheet - freebie

And Another Waitlist Bites the Dust! Occupational Therapy in September

Remember this guy? Portrait of an articulated skeleton on a bentwood chair

He’s a favourite of mine and you’ll see him in many of my posts about waitlists because to me, he is the embodiment (or unbodiment) of what it is like to be on a waiting list for services. It seems that waitlists are just part of having a special need. Well, he can take a little break. After waiting about a year and a half, we got the call that Angel will be getting Occupational Therapy at school. Of course, this call came with only 3 weeks left to the school year, but it’s still an improvement.

I received a call from the OT yesterday that she was going to go to the school this week and meet Angel and send home all the paperwork. This means that she’ll be able to start OT in school in September. Finally.

Angel’s speech therapist called yesterday too. She said that Angel had been doing well in their time together and she sent home some exercises for Angel to work on over the summer so she doesn’t lose the progress she’s made. We are getting somewhere now.

We’ve talked with the new principal and were informed that they don’t like to do IEPs for grade 1s, but that she would have one for grade 2 next year. They have been making accommodations for her anyway, but I’d like to have something more formal in place.

Anyway, as we say goodbye to our latest waitlist, I invite you to sing along….

Occupational Therapy Discharge

It has been a long time since I’ve updated and the main reason is that it has been crazy around here!  Over the last month, 3 different members of our extended family have been in the hospital for a variety of reasons (everyone is doing fine now).  On top of that, the routine of school and work is keeping us all on our toes.

Be that as it may, it’s time to do some catching up.  Angel finished her brief intervention clinic for handwriting before school ended last year.  We had our last reassessment with the OT around August.  For the most part, Angel met her goals.  She was able to print letters (upper and lower case), button, zip, and use snaps.

What I’ve found is that although she can print the letters, Angel has trouble putting them together.  She likes to print words and will often copy words or sentences, but the letters don’t tend to match up as words.  One of my favourite things she’s printed is a card that she made for me.  It started “To Mom”, then she asked me to spell each word from a phrase she learned in OT, “The quick brown fox.”  That was all that fit on the outside.  On the inside, she wrote a jumble of letters that I should have recognized, but didn’t until she told me what it said.  Here’s what it looked like:

Angel's printing
For those that don’t have 2 pre-teen girls in the house, it says, “Justin Bieber”.  Angel thinks he is her boyfriend, so I guess she is practicing writing his name.  She copied it from a birthday invitation she received.  As you can see, she does a fairly good job with her upper case letters.  We have managed to tame her excessive use of extra lines on the letter E for the most part.

Other things our OT recommended were hand exercises (she shakes when printing, so they think she may need to strengthen her hands) and general strengthening exercises to help build Angel’s large muscles to help her to print.  One suggestion was wall push-ups.

When all was said and done, Angel was discharged from the program.  It was a combination of aging out and receiving the maximum services for OT allowable.  We received a referral to a fitness club through the clinic and Angel is still on the waiting list for OT through school.

The brief intervention clinics were a big help for Angel and she’s got the basics of printing down.  We are definitely getting somewhere, but we will need to be doing a lot of printing practice to help Angel to improve.