1. OT’s understand the parents and do not think we are crazy.
The first day we went for his appointment we spent an hour talking with the OT. She asked questions. She listened to us. We filled out a few forms so she could learn more about our little man. At one point I was telling her how he likes to use straws when he drinks. And he’s adamant about having straws. The OT responded with, “Oh yeah, that makes sense because sucking can be a calming sensation for some kids.” I was amazed. She didn’t act like that was a weird habit. She wasn’t surprised that our son would only drink from a cup with a straw. It seemed perfectly normal to her.
It was so nice for someone not to think all these quirks and strange habits of our son were . . . well . . . strange.
2. OT’s are more than willing to give us helpful and practical advice.
Any time I mention how something we tried at home really worked with our son, they are more than willing to give me resources to help us even more. Whether it’s a document, website, worksheet, or recommendation, they are so very enthused about offering us more resources to help the Little Man. The same thing happens when I mention something didn’t work so well. They will make suggestions on changes we can make at home, in order for us to be as effective at home as they are in the office.
3. OT’s talk to my child.
I love how they will sit down and talk with our son. They explain everything to him and make sure he understands what is going to happen next. They understand how important it is for him to know all the details, and how it makes him less anxious if he knows what to expect. They do a great job at communicating with us, the parents, but they truly want to ensure they are communicating effectively with our son too.
4. OT’s are very patient with my child.
Although therapy is based on science, it is definitely more like an art. Children are just little people and different things work with different people, because people are all DIFFERENT. One day the Little Man may be more open to trying new things, like jumping on a trampoline or creating a masterpiece with shaving cream. Other days he is not so open to those things. The OT’s do not push him to the point of making him more anxious. They understand that even a little step is still a step forward, and they celebrate that with him, rather than making him feel bad about not taking a larger step forward.
5. OT’s are not scared of my child.
I may have stated this before but our son can be difficult. (Insert laugh or sigh here, depending on the day.) If he gets his feathers ruffled at one of his appointments, they don’t make a big deal of it and they move on. They don’t let his quirks, or stubbornness, or quiet demeanor ruffle their feathers. They accept it and move on to the next step.
All of this tells me a few very important things about our Occupational Therapists.
They accept our Little Man for who he is. Quirks and all.
They truly want to help him as he navigates through this world that doesn’t feel the same to him as it does to the rest of us.
They want to work with the parents, empowering us with tools and knowledge, in order for us to help our child at home.
I certainly hope you’ve had an awesome experience with your local therapists just like we have. And if you’re contemplating Occupational Therapy, but aren’t sure about it, or how it can help, please talk with your child’s doctor. As a parent, it’s wonderful having someone work alongside you, who knows what they’re doing. Because I certainly have no idea what I’m doing half the time. Sometimes I wonder how I even do it at all. That’s why we need each other. We need others who care and who can help us.
What has your experience been with Occupational Therapy?