Ask the Professional

Dear Etty:

At which point in my child's life (he has Down syndrome) can I safely say, "Okay, there is no more need for therapy (OT, PT, SLP) and now we will just continue with his educational services."?

Sincerely, Mrs. F.

Dear Mrs. F:

That time will absolutely come! If the Special Education Teacher, who is setting educational goals for your child feels that the half hour or forty five minute session of Speech, OT or PT is:

1) Hindering his ability to perform in the classroom, because he needs to be reoriented when he returns, or he is missing a vital session, i.e., math, reading, or/and:

2) Progress from therapy is not evident either in the classroom or at home. For example, his penmanship has not improved or his motor planning remains poor. If this should be the case, then compensations or adaptations should be made, such as a computer for handwriting or a chair with side arms for a child who consistently falls or misses the chair.

Therapists, as well as parents, can and will always be able to find delays and room for improvement, however at around 3-5 years of age progress is slower with therapy and normal growth and time will be the factors affecting improvement. Speech is the exception, as articulation and language are still developing throughout the preschool and primary years of elementary school.

At school age it should be school work and academics governing their goals. As for therapy and therapists, good luck, it's hard to let go of people who have helped so much.

Dear Etty:

What is the solution to a baby that cries a lot during the physical therapy sessions? My baby is eight months old, and for the last month or so is giving her therapists a rough time, with crying and not wanting to cooperate.

Also, what does MEDEK stand for?

Thanks for your wonderful work-

Mrs. Mirel H.,

Monsey New York

Dear Mirel:

I, unfortunately, do not have a great solution other than not demanding too much for a short while, becoming friends again, and slowly demanding more and more. I, personally, do not mind crying and generally just work through it. However, maybe if we understand why a child cries it will be easier for all involved to sort of tolerate it.

For a marvelous explanation I defer my experience to Regi Boehme OTR, "New movement, new alignment and new input is scary, not just for the physically challenged child, but for all of us. That is why many people would not be caught 'dead' attempting downhill skiing. It feels potentially deadly."

Our intention is NOT to avoid treatment that is scary. Rather, our intentions to be aware of the fear, and work with the child on the edge of the fear, without push9ing him over the cliff. As we create a partnership with the child and use our therapeutic tools sensitively, the fear will shift into excitement as the new becomes familiar, and as the familiar becomes meaningful to the child.

As to the second half of your question, the exact definition of MEDEK is in Spanish, but the English translation is "Method of Kinetic Dynamic Stimulation". Stay tuned for a nice explanation of this technique in the next issue!!! Thanks for asking about it.

This article first appeared in issue #4 of Down Syndrome Amongst Us

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