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Occupational Therapy Assessment - Sensory Processing Disorder

Posted Sep 17 2009 11:24pm

Today, my eldest son and I spent a couple of hours at a private OT's office for his initial assessment. This was to be a 3 hr assessment, however for an average 4 yr old...that's asking A LOT....let alone for an above-average 4 yr old.

On the 45 min drive to the offices, I just had this feeling of sadness. Pushing that emotion down. Recognizing that I really just felt like crying. W was silent in his car seat. Quietly looking out the window. What's he thinking? I would love to know! Why I was feeling so melancholy for an OT assessment surprised me as it's not an invasive treatment....and we've been through those....it wasn't at the Children's Hospital, which used to be intimidating & not it feels like home....so why the emotion? Sadness. Tired of putting my child through assessment upon assessment. There has been so many over the past 9 months. I feel for him. I want him to feel happy and okay and normal and not judged. I want help for W, so there we were heading to yet another assessment.

W was happy enough. We arrived early and were able to have some outside play which was probably helpful. Get the wiggles out! Enjoy some sunshine this "Indian Summer" is providing. When it was time to go in, W was agreeable, talkative and cooperative. Perfect!

It was amazing to watch and listen as he went through the "rigors" of OT testing for Sensory Processing Disorder. He did so well! W was able to sit at the child sized wooden table, follow directions, never got angry or ran away. Yes, there was some wiggling. Once or twice getting up to come for a hug, but who can resist a hug?! He did so well!!

And then the struggles hit. Breaks my heart. It was all I could do to not scoop him up, take him away, move to an acreage, homeschool my boys, live off the land, and live happily ever after! (That's my flight syndrome thoughts kicking in when I feel my children are hurting!).

There was one test where W just couldn't do it. It hurt him so. He sat at the table with a blind in front of him and he was to point on the table to the spots that the OT had pointed his fingers to for him. He couldn't do it. If the blind was down and he could see his hands, it was no problem, but not with the blind in place. To see his heart ache...his struggle...his eyes fill with tears, and then the sad cry of "I want to go home"...pulls at a mom's heart. After a few minutes, he collected himself and tried two more times...of his own volition as we had called it a day even though the general motor skills, large muscle mass skills have not been evaluated. W tried but just couldn't do it. He had hit the wall..so to speak. To see him struggle. To see him WANT to complete the task and not be able to and that it hurt his feelings....that was so hard to witness.

We will return next week to finish out the evaluation. The preliminary suggestion is that W has motormapping challenges. Which cause many "side effects"....coping strategies, that can be misdiagnosed. For example, it would be easy to suggest that W possibly has ODD - Oppositional Defiance Disorder because he avoids things, appears to be not listening even though he can hear you, etc but this is his way of protecting himself because his mind knows what he wants to do, yet is unable to due to the motor mapping problems.

Wuhoo! What a relief! Am I crazy? No. Just grateful that someone is crossing ODD off the list. Thank you Miz OT!

I learned a lot today. I learned gratitude and relief. I learned more SPD and OT information. Most of all, I learned (again and again) that I love my son fiercely and would do anything to make it all better, to protect him and to have him feel loved. That in itself is worth a visit to the Occupational Therapist!

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