It starts with going to the Doctor – the feeling of not knowing what to do with your child, and needing to defer to someone else – someone with authority, someone with training to fix what is going on. We take our little babies and put them in the hands of people with medical training. As an Occupational Therapist, I am considered one of these experts.
However, I am not the expert.
That’s right, the person you are paying to see your child doesn’t consider themselves the expert. That’s YOU. You are the expert on your child. I want to affirm you, your gut instincts, and your knowledge of your child.
In my practice I have seen a lot of children, and see the spectrum of neurotypical (aka normal) and atypical kids. What I am is an outside perspective and a fresh eye on the situation where you feel you no longer know what to do and have run out of ideas to try.
I take a look at an issue and analyze where the difficulties are that may be limiting your child’s success and where we need to build up skills in you and in your child. I am trained in activity analysis, in looking at the inherent skills and characteristics of the person, where difficulties lie in the task they are doing, and what environmental factors are at play. I then tease apart these layers and then create activities that are graded in difficulty so kids can experience success at that level and then slowly and methodically push the child to the next level, where they continue to experience success.
I also am a ‘coordinator’ of sorts – knowing what resources are out there in the community for you to access and helping you get to them. Do you need Physio too? I have PTs I have worked with that I can direct you to. Do you need to check out gut issues? Referrals to doctors, naturopaths, acupuncturists and massage therapists can be provided. Do you need help with functional communication? I can help you access private Speech Therapy and whether you need to or are eligible for funded therapy through our local children’s treatment centre (KidsAbility). Need to be around people in the same boat as you? There are many parent support networks that I can help connect you with.
PossibilOT also uses the STAR Institute’s S.E.C.R.E.T model (No Longer A SECRET: Strategies for Children with Sensory and Motor Challenges. (2011) Phoenix, AZ. Future Horizons/Sensory World) that teaches parents/caregivers how to problem solve in the moment, and respond to your child’s sensory and relational needs. I look at the parents’ skills and abilities, what information they already have and fill in knowledge gaps so that parents can (for example) regulate their own arousal states, effectively advocate for their child, have realistic and clear expectations for their child, and also give themselves some much needed grace.
So, no. I’m not here to fix your kid. I am here to give you and your family the information, the support and the strategies you need to help your child and your family function better.
PossibilOT puts the power back in the hands of the family.