Saturday, October 18, 2008

Occupational Therapy or fun at Lauri's playground

Bubble lady mentioned to me last fall, that Shea might have some Sensory Integration issues. Ok. What's that?

Wikipedia says, "is a neurological disorder causing difficulties with processing information from the five classic senses (vision, auditory, touch, olfaction, and taste) the sense of movement (vestibular system), and/or the positional sense (proprioception).

I thought I knew what Bubble lady was talking about. I had noticed that Shea leads with his head; meaning he would whip his head around, bump up against you with his head, lay his head on you and push.

I had also recently noticed that he would get overexcited in group situations and "melt down". He didn't seem to have the coping skills or the language to be able to deal with the excitement and craziness of being surrounded by lots of kids like for example; a playground.

A friend referred me to an on-island Occupational Therapist.

What is Occupational Therapy? Good question. Wiki comes in handy again, "use of productive or creative activity in the treatment or rehabilitation of physically, cognitively, or emotionally disabled people". That sounds about right but it just looks like they are having lots of fun to me.

Enter Bouncy lady or Laurie's playground into our lives. Shea really digs this. Laurie has a big platform swing with ropes to hang onto. She has big jumpoleen's full of therapy balls to jump in. She has big suspension climby slings with different tensions to scramble into. She has a hammock with a big cozy pillow in it. There are tubes to climb through and balls to throw. The place is an absolute wonderland in less than 400 sq. ft. Shea would live there if he could.

She also brings many years of experience working with folks of all ages with all sorts of issues. She seems to have a multi-discipline approach, is always bringing up her observations and suggestions and is really the sort of expert I truly value working with Shea.

We really thought he needed this sort of action and interaction during the winter months when outdoor play is limited. And, we were right. He really loves it. Lauri went away for the summer and we missed her greatly but we jumped right back on the bandwagon this fall. It has become a a key component of Shea's therapy.

Thank you Bouncy lady!

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