Our journey through autism

Posts tagged ‘physical’

Other Progress

The summer was all about IM and SLP, after those programs finished he continued regular OT.

Occupational therapy: Bilal had major improvements since last year and we thought he was getting close to discharge, every time this comes up, I get super excited to be finally done with it all, but also really nervous, afraid to stop therapy but still need it. His evaluation came up beginning of September and he did well, but still had weaknesses with hand/eye coordination and more visual aspects of OT. Also his handwriting does need improvement so it was determined to continue with OT for at least another year and then re-evaluate again.

Vision therapy: Bilal did once a week vision therapy for the prescribed 6 month program and did really well and strengthened his eyes. She told us to continue with some therapies at home and come back in once a month and then once every 3 months just to keep track and make sure of things. Future therapies would require a bit more maturity to do activities like the 90s popular Magic Eye, relaxing and pulling certain eye muscles to see hidden images. She also said the light box therapy of SLP would be beneficial for Bilal’s convergence and eye teaming issues. In all honesty we haven’t kept up with our vision therapy exercises like we should. We really need to add it back in somehow because his OT and PT therapists say he’ll either need glasses or more vision therapy.


Magic Eye*

Physical Therapy: Earlier in the year Bilal was temporarily discharged from PT, he wasn’t gaining anymore from it, but the evaluation test didn’t give us a good score. There is a test for below 6 years old, that Bilal (then 6 years old) did great on. The other test for above 6 year old, he did really bad on. His therapist suggested to re-test him after he completed his summer intensive to really see whether he would need more PT or not but in the mean time we would put therapy on hold. Mid-September he was re-evaluated for PT on the 6+ years test and he did great, passed on all areas and she said the IM made a huge difference with speed, precision and overall focus and attention.

Myofunctional: We are still doing myofunctional therapy once a week, almost ready to move on to phase 2 swallows. Its a slow therapy, as its hard to change eating habits, something that has to be done every day and he can satisfy his hunger even if he eats incorrectly. A change like this has to be a conscious effort from Bilal himself and there is just no 5-7 year old that would bother unless his mother constantly reminds him.

Speech: He was discharged from private speech therapy in June 2013 and from school based speech therapy at the end of Kindergarten. He is speaking clearly with vast vocabulary and infrequent grammatical errors. His OT therapist suggested that he be evaluated for speech again which concerned me and it turns out that the specialists are called Speech and Language pathologists, and he needs help with the language part now not speech and articulation. Bilal has major trouble writing and putting together a sentence, he may know the answer verbally, but tell him to write it down and he’s lost, he cannot organize his thoughts into words to be written. Like with everything else, things don’t come naturally to Bilal, he has to be taught and trained to do things, to have tasks broken down into smaller parts, and then put all together in time as he masters each little goal. He will be evaluated next month and depending on the results on that will be taught how to organize his thoughts and write them, for example, creating word boxes, learning sentence parts, editing and proof reading, its like an English language lesson but therapy. This is exactly what Bilal needs, with homework he either has no clue what to write or he talks too much and doesn’t directly answer what the question is asking for. Looking forward to this therapy, the therapist I met said that after 6 weeks with her we’d see improvements. She’ll help him with his homework and give him tips and tricks.

Other activities: Bilal is still doing piano lessons, with a recital twice a year, he’s on his 3rd piano book now and is doing well, we went through a period where he refused to practice and a lot of crying, screaming drama but a bit after the SLP his attitude improved and his behavior during class is a bit more serious as well. Other than that, he has a science and technology after school class once a week, concentrating on how science sometimes appears as if its magic (getting an egg through a bottle) and then later on basic programming and robotics involving Lego. He also goes to Sunday school every week learning about Islam doing really well there and little by little trying to teach him some basic Arabic words, proper pronunciation is very difficult for him but he understands us well.

Overall like all his teachers and therapists keep saying Bilal is a happy typical little boy, loves computer games, Lego Mixels and just being silly and funny.

* The image that appears in the above Magic Eye is that of penguins.


Adaptive Aquatics

One of the things we really wanted to get Bilal into was swimming. He loves the water but he has no structure and of course cannot swim or float independently. I searched a lot online for somewhere that offered adaptive aquatics that’s swimming classes but with teachers knowledgeable of special needs requirements. My searches came out bust or places too far away to be practical. At the special needs camps expo I was on the lookout for swimming classes and thankfully found a center called Unique Therapy Services, they offer adaptive aquatics and aquatic therapy. They offer the classes at a local hotel’s swimming pool and one only 5 minutes away. We set an appointment and went. It turns out is run by a middle aged couple and a couple other therapists. Most clients were present for aquatic physical therapy with a lot of underwater stretching and exercises. Bilal had the option of doing either one but as he’s already taking PT, OT, horse back riding and soon also hippo-therapy (will elaborate in another post) I decided he didn’t need more therapy just normal swimming lessons will be enough. The teacher is in the water with him while he’s wearing a swimming vest around his chest and waist and they throw out rubber ducks or other floating toys and go swim and collect them, he’s learning to kick properly, to blow and spit if the water gets into his face, and just gaining confidence in the water and he loves it, a huge smile on his face the whole time and always saying “by myself” and wanting to get the farthest toy and swim around the whole pool, he even changed the vest to a thinner belt and learnt to bounce in the water till the water reached his nose. The teacher says he’ll be swimming in no time. They offer classes in sessions of 4 lessons each so we’ll take 2 sessions and see from there, by the time he finishes those it will be summer so perfect timing. 

Physical Therapy

Back in January we had trouble with bike pedaling, and the OT goals were way too broad so his OT therapist suggested he be evaluated for PT and if he’s eligible then she could concentrate on more specific goals for OT. The PT therapist said that Bilal had the strength and could even do push ups and sit ups but he lacks the proper method of doing things, when he runs his arms and legs flail all over the place and he cant throw or catch a ball properly, and he needed to learn to pedal. I suggested that the school evaluate him as well but he wasn’t eligible for that and they gave me an article about the difference between educational and medical therapy and what’s covered with each and how they are different and such. So now we’re doing private PT once a week at the same center he goes to for OT. He can pedal a tricycle with no trouble at all, but cant pedal a bicycle at all, I guess the muscles needed in each is different, but its great we can go to the park and ride together and maybe he’ll learn to pedal a bike now that he’s getting PT.

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