Ben loves Occupational Therapy (OT). He gets this once a week, in addition to his PT that I’ve already described. OT tends to be alot more fun for Ben, and he doesn’t fuss nearly as much as he does during PT sessions.
Since birth, Ben has not been able to coordinate sucking, swallowing and breathing, so he has been completely tube fed. Although he was initially able to suck on a pacifier, he seemed to lose this ability (and instead developed an extremely sensitive gag reflex) at around 1 month of age when he began having severe problems with reflux. One of the goals of our OT sessions is to improve Ben’s oral motor skills, in the hopes that one day he will be able to transition (at least partially) to eating by mouth. Lately, our OT sessions have also included getting Ben to reach and use his arms, and helping him to sit independently. So there is a little bit of overlap between PT and OT, which is cool. Reinforcement is a good thing.
I worked the late shift so I was able to be there during Ben’s session this morning. Ben’s usual occupational therapist is out on maternity leave (and we miss her because she is awesome), but the OT who is filling in for her is wonderful too! She is also the parent of a young adult who has special needs. We started out with oral motor skills, and gave Ben some tastes of sweet potato. Ben really enjoyed that, and actually ate and swallowed small amounts without any difficulty.
After that we practiced reaching for his yellow duck. His therapist would move it around and he laughed and giggled! He did a nice job of reaching too. Last we worked on sitting, and he did relatively well. Still needs alot of support. He was tired by the end of the hour.
Some people question the value of Early Intervention services, but I think EI has been wonderful for Ben and our family.