Wednesday, April 15, 2015

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY: It's the Little Things that Make Life BIG!

Thanks to Rachel for this encouraging "OT Month" guest post. (We pediatric OTs love our swings!!!)

What a Difference a Swing Makes!
Lexi is a cute-as-a-bug 4-year old with two long pony tails with giant bows.  She loves pink and purple and stuffed animals.  She has a history of motor skill delays and apraxia, with no specific cause discovered.  Lexi’s parents have her in dance, swimming and a Little Gym class, in addition to Physical Therapy.
When Lexi first came to see me, she was carried by her mother, and sat on her lap in the waiting room.  She moved hesitantly in new environments and her mother reported Lexi would fatigue quickly with physical activities.  She had considerable anxiety related to meeting new people and being in new situations.  During the evaluation it was determined that Lexi had considerable challenges with postural stability, trunk stability, bilateral coordination, processing movement (vestibular) input and motor planning.  It was also discovered that she loved to swing!
The swing became a staple part of OT sessions.  We started just sitting and swinging back and forth, moving to laying on her tummy, tall kneeling, and even standing, with Lexi moving between different positions to “rescue” her beloved stuffed animals from the floor and put safely in a bucket at the top of the swing.  Many activities and games took place on the swing to strengthen core muscles, develop postural stability, think about new motor plans and improve processing of vestibular input. 
Lexi has become much braver on the swing and loves the feeling of her “hair getting messed up!”.  Her mother is excited that Lexi does not lose her balance as often.  She easily tolerates her swimming class and requests to go to the park afterwards, instead of home for a nap.  Lexi’s mother was also so happy to see the new ways Lexi played in the snow on vacation. 
Rachel Ottley
Rachel was originally trained in Sydney, Australia, in 1994, and currently lives in Oklahoma with her husband and four kids.  She works for CAPES, Child and Adolescent Program Enrichment Services, providing comprehensive and coordinated mental health, physical and educational care recommendations to parents of children and adolescents who present with significant problems in two or more areas relating to their development.  Rachel teaches locally and nationally on sensory contributions to Toe Walking, Sensory Processing challenges and her favorite subject, Play. 
Rachel can be contacted at CAPES 918.747.8282 or rottley[at]

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