It’s been a while, so I figured it was past time for another post on Kender. October was a busy time for us, with so many birthdays to celebrate. A’Kos also has made some new friends. He is just as happy to calm my friend’s autistic children as he is to work with Kender. He will lie on top of Rebecca when she’s feeling down, and he will let Thomas lie on him when he needs a nap…although Thomas doesn’t leave much room for Kender when that happens!
Probably the biggest thing that has happened in the past month is that Kender has started receiving therapy. We found the Children’s Therapy Corner in late September, and it was like the perfect answer to what I was seeking. They are not connected with the schools, they file with our insurance, and they provide speech therapy, occupational therapy, and even music therapy.
As soon as I found them I called to get Kender in, and he started therapy on Halloween. Since our insurance allows 60 visits per year, none of which he has used, he’s going three times a week until the end of the year, giving him a good head start with it. Kender is getting speech therapy and occupational therapy, both therapists working together so that we only get billed for one visit for both services.
Speech therapy is working to improve Kender’s interactive communication. In the evaluation, he was only able to maintain 2-3 circles of communication at a time. They want him to be up to at least 20-30. Not only will this make him better able to play with other kids and otherwise interact with the world, it will make it much easier for us to teach him more advanced skills as he moves toward preschool and kindergarten.
Occupational therapy is focused on changing Kender’s posture and getting those fingers out of his mouth. Kender has a tendency to lie down when he wants to play with something, to curl into a ball and hide his face, and to lean on furniture when he is standing. The goal is to get him to sit upright to play with things, as well as forcing him to use both hands together and to cross his midline when reaching. The midline issue is something that I hadn’t even realized was a problem until the evaluation and results. Mostly I had blamed it on having his fingers in him mouth too much, and that may be part of it but it could also be a symptom.
The music therapist came in for one session last week to observe Kender. She sang a song and played a drum with him for a bit, and everybody was very impressed to see how engaged Kender was when she was there. Since he has always loved to sing and showed a great talent for remembering and reproducing music, we thought music would be a good adjunct to his therapy. So even though our insurance doesn’t cover it, we’re going to find a way to work her in as well.
One of the new toys that Kender has discovered at the therapy center is their lycra swing. I call it the body bag swing, which I think annoys the therapists a bit, but come on, just look at it:
That is definitely a body bag! The swing completely encases Kender, and the strong, stretchy Lycra gives him a whole-body hug as he swings or spins. He’s been spending 5-10 minutes in this swing at the beginning of every session. The therapists say it helps to get him more alert and engaged. Since I’m already planning to build Kender (and all of his siblings!) a loft bed, I may just get something like this to hang underneath it so Kender can have some swing sling action at home.
I’m really excited about getting these therapy services going. It makes the roundtable meeting feel much less urgent, as I want to see where we are after a couple of months of therapy first. Also, the Center folks said they would be happy to attend such a roundtable when I get it put together, and might even be able to provide a conference room for us!
That’s it for today’s Kender Report. Come back later to find out whether A’Kos eats the Thanksgiving turkey, or whether we can finally get Santa pictures with Kender!