Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The gym doctors

That's what kiddo calls his occupational therapists. (His behavioral therapist is known as "the talking doctor," or "the doctor with the play room and the three cars"). I can understand it, considering the facility is about the coolest looking kiddie gym I've ever seen -- and I've been to a few kiddie birthday parties at this point so that's saying something. There's a rope swing hanging from the ceiling. There are giant pillow-type things you can climb on. There's a mini ball pit. There's a separate room with a rope ladder leading to a series of room-length hammocks that you are meant to climb into and out of. There's a fabric swing also hanging from the ceiling that looks a little like a giant kangaroo pouch, and when kiddo nestles in it, only his face peers out. All the floors are padded, and shoes are not allowed.

He goes twice a week now. They're working on strengthening his core, and teaching him to breathe properly, and helping him with fine motor skills. He loves it. Hell, I'd love it. I keep wondering whether I can get some occupational therapy too. By which I mean the rope swing.

Here's the routine: We hang out in the waiting room for 40 minutes or so while he does his thing with his therapist (he has a different one for each day; they're both quite nice), then for the last 10 minutes or so, the therapist brings us in to discuss his progress and also so any younger siblings can play on the equipment too. Which is why when I ran in at the end of the last session, having come from work, I found kiddette and kiddo both clambering through the giant hammocks, giggling madly.

Generally the parents don't talk to each other in the waiting room. I'm not sure if this is customary. Do people not want to discuss with anyone what their kid has? Or would they just rather check email than chitchat? I bring a book. Sometimes another parent and I will smile at each other if our kids are socializing post-session.

By which I mean, if my kid is being his normal self. It's both adorable and a little exasperating that he thinks every single other person on the planet should be his friend. The last time I brought him to the playground, he kept sidling up to the teenagers shooting hoops so he could tell them all about his jump rope skills. The teens were pretty good-humored about it, but still. I tried explaining to him that those kids were way too old for him, and then he would manage to jump-rope their way again.

So whenever we go to therapy, if we happen to be riding up in the elevator with another family, he will promptly adopt that family and tell them all about what the elevator does and who he is and what he's doing there and he'll run down the hall with the other kid and explain to the kid how to open the door to the facility and then they'll run around the waiting room together and etc.

I swear, he's either going to be a politician or an actor. Or maybe a tour guide.

His therapists -- sorry, gym doctors -- have suggested some simple things we can do with him at home, like blowing bubbles or drinking a smoothie through a straw, to help him with his breath. Turns out he loves yogurt smoothies. They also suggested letting him use a straw to blow bubbles during bathtime. That was quite a hit.

They've noted that he likes to burrow under things, or wrap himself in things, and say that helps him ground himself and we should encourage it. So if he's sitting on the couch, we surround him with couch cushions and put a blanket over the whole thing. He seems to like that.

Also, exercise is good (obviously). So most mornings, we do push-ups, then a few yoga poses. He likes Warrior One. I want extra credit for doing all these things while already dressed in my work outfits, which are not push-up friendly.

The gym doctors keep saying he's doing great and that this will help him improve his behaviors. We'll see, I guess. At least he's enjoying himself.

1 comment:

  1. Everyone lies to their doctor at some point. Though the reasons that patients lie are complicated, it is an inescapable fact that your doctor can only do his job if he has the right information. It can sometimes be difficult and embarrassing to tell the truth, but your doctor will be happy with your honesty, and will be better able to help you.
    talk to a doctor