Yesterday afternoon we were (finally!) back at KKI to begin outpatient OT on a weekly basis with our awesome OT from the CIMT program. This time, we're mainly there to focus on "self care" skills; like dressing, toileting, and feeding -- things that school-based therapy really isn't meant to focus on (though I know they help as much as they can). Additionally, we are working to develop a "sensory diet;" a series of tactics and techniques to help Simon mitigate the affect of his sensory processing disorder on his daily life.
During our first session, which I got to sit in on (yay!), the OT spent quite some time working with Simon on dressing and undressing -- about 15 minutes were dedicated to socks alone. As I watched Simon struggle to aim his toes towards his little blue socks, I remembered what a struggle it was to get his big sister dressed when she was a toddler.
Olivia was all about "I do it MYSELF" when she was 2. Every day, she had to choose her own outfits and put them on however she saw fit, which sometimes took extra time and often led to some interesting combinations (usually involving a tiara or tutu.. ). As I reminisced about those days, it occurred to me that Simon has never been through that phase. Not once has he ever asserted himself in that manner. For the most part, we perform all of his self-care tasks for him, we try to encourage his involvement, but sometimes -- especially when we're in a hurry -- we'll just power through the tasks in as streamlined a manner as possible, so we can move ahead to the next thing on our collective agenda.
I realize that, though we do things for him because he really does need the help (and we'll continue to be there to assist him with whatever he needs for as long as he needs it), by constantly doing things for him we not only enable his dependence on us for basic tasks, we're enabling his apathy when it comes to finding his DIY-drive. So I've decided to begin my own at-home therapy program. I'm calling it "Enabling the Id." Just because Simon seems to lack the typical toddler id-driven desire to express his independence, it does not mean I can't try to help him find ways to develop the ethos of "I CAN DO IT MYSELF!"
We started with lunch today. When Simon told me he was hungry, I opened the fridge and asked him what he wanted (a turkey bagel with cheese, carrots, and chips -- big surprise). But, instead of getting it for him, I helped him get it himself. He pulled the turkey and cheese out of their bags. He selected his bagel. He picked his carrots out of the crisper (one at a time), and put them back when he finished. He got his chips from the pantry and he assembled everything onto his plate and helped me carry it to the table.
I broke each task into single-step directions, which he executed with assistance, guidance, reminders, and lots of encouragement along the way. Instead of taking five minutes to make his lunch for him, it took about a half an hour to make it with him. But, he never got frustrated, or wanted to quit. He chose each item himself, and he followed through with each task, even when I made him use his left hand to grab the carrots. And, though, he didn't exactly celebrate with me when I exclaimed with exaggerated glee that he was a "big boy who can make his own lunch!!!," I think he really did enjoy that turkey bagel, down to the last bite.