Gavin attended his first Occupational Therapy session yesterday. He was thrilled to go since he had so much fun at his evaluation in April. Because the therapist who evaluated him had a full schedule, Gavin will meet with a different lady on Fridays. After 75 minutes with Dana yesterday, I am quite content with this arrangement. She seems terrific, and she and Gavin connected well.
I felt a little awkward doing my usual photo documentation routine on the first visit, so I just observed and took notes. The whole therapy process was quite fascinating, and although I don't understand all of the details that will roll out over the next few months, I am confident that OT is going to provide important skills for both Gavin and me.
Gavin's first session was all about assessing his physical strength and response to gross motor activities. He had a fabulous time playing in the ball pit, walking on his hands like a wheelbarrow, swinging from a (low) trapeze and falling onto a crash pad, and riding and spinning on a platform swing. He was SO happy! Watching Dana work with him gave me ideas for activities at home, and Dana also instructed me on ways to help meet Gavin's sensory needs with joint compression and heavy pressure.
Near the end of the session, Gavin's impulsive nature took over and he jumped into the ball pit without asking. Dana reminded him that there was only one rule in her gym, and she prodded him to articulate it. The rule: ask before using the equipment. Gavin knew the rule, and he knew he had broken it, but his response was unlike anything I had seen him do before. Instead of screaming or throwing a fit, he was completely silent. He hung his head and leaned against the wall. After five minutes of encouragement, Gavin finally followed Dana to a mat on the floor, but he still wouldn't speak. She talked to him and did gentle joint compressions on all of his limbs and hips and head. He was so calm, but clearly felt badly about breaking the rule. Gavin didn't get to do any more fun activities during the session (time was up), but I think that experience made a lasting impression!
I have a thick packet of reading material to study before our next session, and I'm also hoping to find some books to read that will help me better understand Gavin's needs. We only have 19 insurance-covered therapy sessions (and without insurance they are $350 each!), so I want to ask as many questions as I can while I have face time with a therapist. And, to be realistic, I'd better study up while Baby Girl is happy and quiet. This should be quite a journey for all of us.