Monday, May 30, 2011

Occupational Therapy: Doing Overtime in OT


What percent of your life do you reckon you've spent looking at something like that? ===>

The old OT room.  Occupational therapy to those of us in the biz.  It's unmistakable, what with all of those brightly colored bouncy things and lack of sharp edges.  And lots and lots of swings...and their ropes, chains, ceiling mounts, and carabiners.

I wish I had a series of pictures of Audrey over the years on the platform swing, sort of like those "evolution of man" drawings.  Between 1 and 2 years old, she mostly just sat up on the platform with her legs stock-straight out in front of her, white-knuckling it on the ropes.  The therapists would have to sing "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" to keep her from seizing in terror.  She was petrified, even though the swing is just inches off the ground and they were barely pushing her.

She finally graduated to standing and gradually swinging higher and higher.  She's laid on the platform on her belly, crawled over it as part of an obstacle course, and now look at her...she can't fit under it when she stands up.  She's come a long way, baby.

For some reason, I've always stayed in the room with Audrey during her OT appointments.  It's the one appointment that I can drag myself to when I'm sick or exhausted, knowing that I can prostrate myself on any number of giant bean bags, water beds, hammock swings, and padded...well, anything and everything.

Audrey's had nothing but wonderful therapists over the years, all of whom I've gotten to know pretty well, because, let's face it, that whole swing portion of the program is pretty low overhead for the therapist, and lends itself to lots of shooting the shit.  Audrey's OT's have been uniformly young and cute, and over the years I've gotten to hear about social lives, boyfriends, destination wedding plans, and trips to Peru (hi Lisa!).  It's nice to live vicariously through them for those 45 minutes before Audrey becomes my sole responsibility once again.

I've sat in my share of waiting rooms over the years as well, but I guess I take after my daughter (or she after me) in my avoidance of certain social situations.  Sometimes I'm just not in the mood for the old Disability Story Swap Meet with the other parents, and I'd rather be curled up inside a padded barrel with some headphones on.  Now there's a bumper sticker for you.

27 comments:

  1. I always go to OT too. I'm impressed with Audrey standing on that thing. 'Bot's not there quite yet--LOL.

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  2. We're on the waiting list for OT. I can't wait to lounge on something comfortable during an appointment for once rather than sitting in another uncomfortable chair.

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  3. I haven't been to our new clinic yet though am overjoyed it's 5 mins from our house now but there was never anywhere for a parent to sit in the room except a little cube chair. Mine does better when I am not around because she LOVES her OT more than me. Do you have some of the OT stuff in your house?

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  4. I never thought of OT that way, but you're right. We swing bi-weekly on any variety of swings (Little Miss is really loving the Air Pogo right now ==> http://beyondthedryervent.blogspot.com/2011/04/mischievious.html )

    Our office used to allow drinks in the therapy area before they got the new carpet and I always loved having my coffee while Little Miss was on the swing. Sigh...

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  5. I avoid social interactions at all costs when I am in the waiting rooms. Of course, I apparently am the only one like this, as time after time other parents engage me in conversation. Do you not notice I am reading this magazine/book/playing words with friends??? I don't really feel like swapping war stories, either. This is as close to me time as I get.

    I have never been allowed in the the therapy rooms. At Katie's current OT the door LOCKS so you can't come in. ha. At the one before that occasionally I was invited in to see her do something, but never for the whole time. Of course now we have to find OT place #3 as our current one is closing, and maybe then I will get to relax on a bean bag...aaaah...

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  6. Griffin got too big for the swing and ended up spending his therapy time watching Bold and the Beautiful on YouTube.

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  7. Way to go, Audrey! I concur--padded things are much nicer for a wait than waiting room plastic chairs!

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  8. Ahh yes...I know that swing well. CT would refuse to do anything else because he just wanted to stay on the swing. His OT finally took the swing down. Imagine how well that went over...he was pissed

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  9. My daughter only had the 16 visits to OT our insurance covered--somewhat. They never let me inside during these visits. She always had a blast at them though!

    Her OT needs weren't that strong, so she stopped going. I've found gymnastics class helps her much more! Go fig.

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  10. Reading this gave me a flashback of watching my son doing his OT. I never got to go in, but I was allowed to watch through a two-way mirror. I wish I could have chilled out in the giant ball pit.

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  11. It's not like I live my life inside a Pottery Barn catalog, but would it kill 'em to spruce up the OT rooms just a tad? They always look (and sometimes smell) like chimp cages.

    A nice, rich earth toned wall with some ambient lighting and a plant near a window would be so much more appealing than chalk-colored walls, florescents, and a scheme that makes it look like someone threw up Disney World.

    Then again, maybe you got me thinking of my dream padded cell.

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  12. My little dude is close to "testing out" or not being qualified for OT anymore. It's bittersweet. Great that he won't need that as intensively, but I will miss the OTs. They have been nothing short of a rock/shoulder through our journey with Autism.

    And yeah, who doesn't want to swing or zip down a shaving cream slide?

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  13. We love OT, and we're lucky enough to have ours come to the house, which means she gives us great at-home suggestions using great things like chewing gum (who knew it could be 'organizing' to chew gum, but for S. it actually works). The unfortunate thing is that I don't get to hunker down in any cozy swings or kid-caves. Sounds really fun!

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  14. OT class is my favorite part of the school week. In hindsight, I wish I had become an OT.

    Really fun job.

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  15. The one time I stayed out in the waiting room I had another mom tell me all about her son's pooping problems. I now go in every time and veg out in a bean bag...good times.

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  16. Audrey is so tall! Look at her on that swing! Tootles loves the swing but they put an inner tube inside the square and make him balance on his knees. He keeps trying to stand up and the OT makes him sit down?! Obviously, I'm in there too - it's an old trailer behind the school and I always feel like I weight 8 tons when I walk in cuz everything shakes in there. No bean bag for me. Just an old chair. :(

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  17. Ear-buds. My subtle hint that I don't want to talk about kids bowel movements.

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  18. @BWMFA: We don't have anything, but I've thought about it. I know a lot of people that have mounted the swings in their basements. I would have to have it professionally done so we don't bring the whole house down on top of her.

    @Jen @Aimee @Lizbeth: Glad to hear that I'm not the only anti-social one...but I already knew that about you all.

    @Danielle: Audrey is slightly obsessed with the "helicopter swing" so I know the feeling...she would not take kindly to it going away.

    @Double A: On the plus side, you avoided all of the bodily fluids in the ball pit.

    @Kara: Mmmmm....padded cell.

    @AllieF: We had home OT at one time, but you definitely miss out on all of the fun equipment!

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  19. When my son was in OT and PT after his accident, I felt the same way-avoid all social intervention of "let's compare stories". I wasn't there to make friends, just get my son back into shape and into the world again.

    It has to feel good to see Audrey progressing so well.

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  20. Ha! I may or may not have been laying on bean bags this afternoon in a padded room too. We've always done private OT, so we just kinda act like we own the place when we're there :) My 7 yr old has gotten too tall for standing on the swing too, but does that stop him? Oh heck no!

    Kristy @ www.darnneardomestic.com

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  21. We've had the same OT since Moe started, and she's great. Young and cute, recently got married, and when Moe bit her she just said "isn't the first time, won't be the last."

    Moe loves all of the swings especially the stretchy lycra one. But try getting him to string a bead? Forget it.

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  22. OT is the best therapy ever. Just saying. I'm not partial or anything.

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