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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Therapy Thursday

Every Thursday, the four of us (Luke, Grace, Bella and myself) make the drive up to Legacy Salmon Creek Hospital. We park our well loved green mini van in the parking structure, hall the stroller and diaper bag and anything else that we might have brought along, across the sky bridge. Walking across the sky bridge immediately brings back memories of going to my doctor's appointments during my pregnancy with Bella. Therapy and my OB-GYN are located in the same building. When the automatic doors open up, the kids fight over who gets to push the the button for the elevator. After breaking that argument up with talk about turn taking, we proceed down one floor. Our large entourage enters the little waiting area in Suite 200: Pediatric Rehabilitation. They know Luke by name so check-in is a breeze and he begins talking with all the other kiddos waiting their turn for therapy. Luke knows no stranger.

Luke eagerly anticipates Joy's arrival. Joy is his occupational therapist. Occupational therapy is designed to help kids with challenges in fine motor movements (such as writing), vestibular difficulties (such as balance issues) sensory difficulties, etc. She helped me realize that Luke had tics, which lead to a referral, which resulted in a diagnosis: Tourette Syndrome. This particular Thursday, Luke was having a lot of tics. His therapy began with work on a swing. He had to propel himself through space using his core muscle groups. He played a bean bag game which required visual tracking and motor coordination. (See picture).

Next he cleaned up the bean bags by having to make baskets into the container. He thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of this activity and was exuberant about his participation.

Next Luke was put into a "body sock". This helps give pressure and information to his body about where it is in his environment. This "body sock" began calming his sensory system down after all the excitement with the swing. He did several activities while in the bright blue sock. Isn't he cute? This mama thinks so!

The last part of therapy was conducted in Joy's room. Luke practiced shoe tying (which he was successful at), writing and letter formation. Pictured below, Luke is using a therapeutic listening program. There is very soft/faint music playing in the background in specific tones. This helps with attention and concentration. He is working at unscrewing these nut and bolt type toys. This help his fingers with dexterity and helps his brain get his fingers in the right mode to work on handwriting. They are always so good about giving Luke rewards and fun breaks that keep him motivated to keep working and improving.

Before I knew Luke, I never knew places like this existed. I didn't know about therapy and rehabilitation. Luke introduced me to this world. A world that he has always known. Luke was 5 months old when he began therapy and has been in therapy every since. We did take one year off last year, and unfortunately this mama knew that he needed to be back in therapy so we jumped through all the hoops to get him to this new place (which I LOVE!) I have been all over to many different places but this therapy center is awesome. The staff is so supportive and they love Luke. I am so grateful for the help he receives and the support I receive. They are truly a blessing to our family. So you might be wondering...what does therapy like this cost. is $340 a session. A session is 1 hour. I praise the Lord that we are blessed to have insurance that cover most of the cost. Somewhere I need to find $135 dollars to buy the listening program for him. Unfortunately, things are tight for us right now, so the program will wait, but I have faith that Luke will get the listening program in the near future. I heard I can try craigslist for the headphones and cd's. That would make them cheaper. I think as Luke's mom, that is one of the most difficult parts of raising special needs I see things that can benefit him, like the listening program, but everything costs money. And I am one that has a difficult time feeling guilty and then it makes me feel like a bad mama because I know something that would make life better for him, but I can't afford it. Money, or lack there of, has been the main drawback to me staying home this year. Ugh. So... there you have it. My first big vent about what would make things better for kids with special needs. Money...a necessary resource that is in short supply at our house :) I know money isn't everything and I am truly thankful for everything I have, but some days it would be nice to buy some of the things that would help Luke.

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