Stories of Progress!

by Mary E. Scholer, OT/L, Executive Director

A 17 year old boy

He came in today, saying that he is riding a bike for the first time in his life. Over the weekend rode all around Lake Cunningham. This boy is not SPD or spectrum child, but lower functioning in school performance and significant motor problems (gross and fine). 

He has left side weakness and very poor tongue control, never being able to pucker his lips, many articulation error, never could move his tongue around in his mouth. Very limited diet as can't chew or swallow so many foods. Told the mom tonight that I have hope all this will change. 

Since I have been working on tongue and lip control, he is now able to pucker his lips to blow, can move his tongue to the weak side, put the tongue tip on the roof of his mouth (so can now say his own name and words starting with "T" and "Th". He has never been able to do this before. 

He is such a hard worker and the mouth work is more exhausting for him than running the mile at school in 13 minutes (which is very hard for him). He sweats bullets every time we work in his mouth, but not from anxiety, just sheer hard work. This boy is such a pleasure to work with, so highly motivated. The first session I met him (a few months back) I wasn't sure if I'd be able to help him much given his age and that he's already had several years of school based OT. His handwriting is now legible for the first time in his life!"

8 year old Boy (a twin), with autism

They were in a Russian orphanage until 2 and 1/2 years. I have seen him for 3 years. He's a spectrum child who had no desire for interaction with others and would tend to be aggressive if children approached him. 

I suspected a problem with his vision contributing to his resistance for closeness with parents and contributing to handwriting difficulties. His Mom got him tested for vision therapy. He had problems with convergence. With corrective lenses, not vision therapy, he started wanting to be cuddled. With much work at Simoneon Center his motor skills are now just about one year behind, but not more. His motor planning ability has skyrocketed!

His postural control is so good now, he no longer squirms around in his chair nor in constant motion when standing. His writing is gorgeous.

He used to take 3 hours to work on his homework. Now he can't wait to get home to do it, enjoying it so much. His mom called chuckling, saying she would have never believed it, but he's highly motivated to write stories now and can't get enough of this either. 

This child couldn't put a thought together to save his life last year. His strength is maintaining (unusual for spectrum kids without regular, rigorous input from PT or OT or family). He's doing all of the right stuff everyday now for himself. 

He wants friends now for the first time and is seeking them out, even understanding much of others perspective. He is only seeing me 1x per month now for monitoring since November.

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