Category Archives: Occupational Therapy

Finding Things that Work: Compression Shirts

We’ve been having a pretty busy summer, and overall, it’s been a good one.  We had an “ah-ha” moment when we were at the lake with family.  Angel had been in a kayak and when she was finished, she kept her lifejacket on.  Since she was the only one her size, no one realized she was still wearing it for awhile.  When we noticed, we asked her why she was wearing it still.  Daddy was the one who figured out that she liked the hugging feeling.

I had read about Compression Shirts from Smart Knit Kids’ Twitter feed. One of the descriptions of the compression shirts really described what Angel needed. It said that it felt like a comfortable hug. So, I visited their site, found their Canadian distributor and went ahead and ordered them. I wasn’t sure how Angel would like them, so I showed her the pictures and descriptions.

Angel liked the bralette and compression tank options, so we ordered one of each to try. They came in the mail in a few days and Angel had the package opened and got a shirt on right away. She thought it was funny that the bralette was so small, but it was stretchy enough to fit her. We’ve discovered since then that it is a little too tight, so the next one I order will be a size bigger.

The results? Angel tried both shirts and alternated between them. She loved them both. I didn’t notice too much of a difference until she took one off part way through the day. My mom had been watching her and told me that she noticed that when Angel took the shirt off, that’s when she got all drapey and laying over me. Before that, she hadn’t been on me at all. Wow! When someone else notices the difference, you know it is huge.

Suffice it to say, we are going to be ordering more very soon so that Angel has enough shirts to wear to school everyday.

I’m trying to let Angel self advocate. Sometimes she doesn’t want to wear the compression shirts, and to some extent, that has to be her decision. On the other hand, when it makes such a big difference, I try to encourage her to wear it when she is extra clingy or I know that we will be going out. I’ve only put my foot down once and insisted that she wear it when she didn’t want to. I sat down with her and explained why I though she would be better off wearing the shirt. She didn’t want to, but she did and she was fine. Sometimes our compromise is that she can try without the shirt, but bring it along in case she needs it later. She will stick it in my purse and away we go. It’s nice to know that we have an option if she is feeling overstimulated.

This is not a sponsored post. I’m happy to share my feedback because these little shirts have made a huge difference for my daughter. Maybe they can help another child too! I highly recommend them. There are no tags or scratchy seams to deal with. They are comfortable, and the material is breathable and moisture wicking. They really thought about the design of these shirts when they made them. They wash up like a dream and are really easy to layer over. I’m really glad that we found them and that they are making such a difference for Angel.

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….