Warning: Extremely long post...again!
We received the approval for Sweet Pea to start center based therapy on Tuesday and so she went to her very first class on Wednesday! She will be going Monday, Wednesday, Friday and her first two days went great! Wednesday she was fussy all morning so I was more than a little nervous about how it would go. We left home about 8:20, but not before Mommy attempted to get a first day of school photo of the little girl. She wasn't cooperating, but these didn't turn out too bad considering her mood.
We arrived around 8:40am, but she had fallen asleep in the car. I tried to get her out without waking her up, but managed to hit her head on the car trying to get her out so that was an utter failure. Poor girl not only got woken up, but rudely! She calmed down very quickly and so we headed in and she got right to playing. She played with blocks and a musical instrument and everyone was coming over to introduce themselves and meet Sweet Pea.
After class officially started at 9am we went into the OT focused therapy group and played in the room with swings for the first 20 minutes. Sweet Pea was crawling around a bit and watching the other two kids in our group. She then got adventurous and crawled through a little tunnel they had created:
After that we attempted to put stickers onto the sheets of paper on the wall. Sweet Pea loved the stickers, but when she would put one on the wall, she would then peel it back off. That was working her fine motor skills so that was fine, but it was pretty funny. Then she decided that ripping the big pieces of paper on the wall was more fun so we ended that game after a few futile attempts at getting her to behave.
The second part of the hour long focused therapy group time was spent in the speech room where we worked on putting little animals in and out of bags. Then we moved onto playing with pegs in the pegboards. A couple of her other therapists have this toy and so it wasn't new to Sweet Pea, but she had never before (that I'm aware of at least) stuck a peg into the hole without assistance. She did on Wednesday though!!!! Only one, but I was very proud of her and she was pretty darn proud too. I didn't capture it on film, but here are some of her playing with the toy anyway:
After focused therapy group time ended we had a nice little snack where Sweet Pea enjoyed some vanilla pudding and goldfish crackers. She is supposed to use a paper towel as her plate, but she insists that it is to be tossed onto the floor and the crackers are to be eaten off the table directly. That isn't a battle that I'm going to fight, but the teachers said that most kids do that so maybe eventually she will learn since the other kids all seem to.
When snack time ended we moved to circle time and sang a few songs and then split into the first of four 15 minute centers. Sweet Pea was directed to the ball pit first and that was a good choice since she loves the ball pit!
That is the end of the photos because the speech therapist pulled me aside to get a detailed history on Sweet Pea. I spent the next hour with her going through what we do for oral motor and speech and everything else even slightly related. Sweet Pea lasted about halfway through the four 15 minute sessions and then something set her off and it was touch and go from that point on. I let the therapists/teachers/aides try to calm her since they will need to be able to do it while I'm not here. It is really hard to sit and listen to your little girl cry, but I knew that she wasn't in pain or anything, she was just tired. I collected her about 11am and tried to feed her some milk as it seemed she might crash out on one of the gals and I really wanted to get some food in her before she took what I knew was going to be a long nap. She rallied after the milk and was able to join the group for closing circle time and was trying to climb and stand all over the place so she had definitely rallied. When class ended we gathered our things and left and not 2 minutes into the drive home, Sweet Pea had crashed out and remained that way for 90 minutes (don't worry, I transferred her into her crib when we got home). It was a very successful first day and I couldn't be more proud of Sweet Pea or happy with our decision to push to get approval for center based therapy. Some of our therapists put up some minor roadblocks during the approval process, but we got around them and I am so thankful that we have a great service coordinator (not everyone is as lucky in that department as we are) who helped fight for us.
Grandma took Sweet Pea today (thank you grandma...again!) and she had a funny story to share. Apparently the kids are supposed to come with shoes and socks and in the last portion of the class before closing circle time the therapists help teach the kids how to put them on. When they asked Grandma if Sweet Pea had shoes, she said no. When they thought that Sweet Pea just didn't have shoes with her today, Grandma had to let them know that no, it wasn't just today. This poor neglected child who has a severe addiction to people's shoes, doesn't actually own any shoes that fit her! Her feet are too chunky for the few pairs that might fit in length. Now that I have been shamed, I guess I need to take her shoe shopping this weekend so she at least has A pair of shoes!
Today they did a couple of evaluations to gauge where Sweet Pea was developmentally in OT and speech. In the OT evaluation session they watched how she crawls and plays with toys like the pop up ones that Sweet Pea adores. Then they moved to a table and watched how she plays with small toys, putting objects into containers and something with pieces of playdough (need to get details from Grandma on that one since Sweet Pea normally just puts the playdough in her mouth). Sweet Pea performed really well during the evaluation and the OT commented on how she uses both her right and left hands when playing with toys and that she even does well crossing midline when she picks up pieces and puts them into something. This is great news because many kids (even typical kids) can have issues with crossing midline sometimes. (Here is a quick article that speaks to why crossing midline is important if you are curious.)
During her speech evaluation today (different therapist than is there on Wednesdays) they did some songs, bubbles with careful enunciation of "bubble" and "pop" since /b/ and /p/ sounds clearly show what the mouth is doing, they worked to get her sign for "more" to be more accurate instead of just clapping and during that worked on the /m/ sound, did a little work on learning "I want" and picking between two objects and ended with some work on the sign for "open". I am beyond thrilled that they are working on actual speech sounds with her since our current speech therapy that we get via insurance doesn't do hardly any speech sounds, they focus on the feeding...which is important, but I want Sweet Pea getting both so this is wonderful.
Apparently they do a bike "parade" the last week of the month out in the parking lot and since Sweet Pea didn't have shoes, nor can she ride a tricycle of any sort yet, she got a ride in the wagon. This will be yet another area that will be fun to watch how she progresses!
Looks like she made a friend today!
One final story from today's session...when the parents drop the child off in the morning they bring a toy from home with them and put it in the "sharing box". At the end of class, right before they wrap up circle time, the teacher picks out one toy at a time and the kids go up and get their toy. I thought a small sensory ball would be a good idea because it was small and didn't make noise. Well, yet again I was wrong. Turns out that a ball is a bad toy to bring in because Sweet Pea knows that you are supposed to throw balls. That meant that she would throw the ball into the middle of the circle. I'm sure Sweet Pea was trying to go get the ball after she threw it too! I think the staff got a kick out of it today, but I don't think they would appreciate it on a regular basis since the kids are supposed to stay in their seat before/after they get their toy back. Live and learn.
That was Sweet Pea's first two days at center based therapy. I am so happy she is going and I know that this is going to be wonderful for her!