The long-awaited social skills group did materialize, and he had 4 sessions of that before quitting. He wasn't a fan, feeling that they focused too much on giving out rules and not any time letting the kids talk to each other. I found that odd, as they can't improve social skills without speaking to others, but I wasn't in the room to be able to verify his observation. It was an hour long session on Friday afternoons, and they tried to give a little homework each week- things like filling out a form, coming up with a way to self-advocate, or finishing the key chain they had started. He liked the keychain handicraft, and hated having to write, which were both predictable reactions.
Since July saw the end of a solid year of OT and speech, but only the beginning of social skills, we switched to a holistic therapy in a different city (an hour instead of 40 minutes away) in order to continue the social aspect and the interactive metronome, which he has improved on but not mastered. It's also on Fridays, but in the evening, so my husband can join us on occasion. It's nice that we don't have to commit to every week, so our lives don't need to revolve around therapy anymore. He acts like he doesn't like holistic therapy when I ask, but tells me it's better than any of the other therapies. Let me tell you why.
It's truly a holistic therapy playplace. They begin with yoga and deep breathing and massage (complete with magnesium lotion and essential oils), with the aim of brain regulation. The next block is a craft time, where they practice fine motor skills and get exposed to more textures and smells while making something useful, for the most part. He has scented play dough and worked small beads into it, that can be worked out and back in as a calming activity. This went into his sensory bin (shoebox), which was decorated another week. They have done tie-dye tees, made party decorations, and more. Those first two time blocks are done in a group of 2-6 children, within a certain age range. (The younger group has their own time on Saturday morning.). If the group is large that night, they groups switch rooms instead of staying together. After crafts comes Interactive Metronome time and social skills/gross motor. They have to take turns on the computer for the metronome therapy, so the others do things like ball games, hula hoops, cooperative play in a nearby room while waiting their turn.
|Wearing the tie-dye shirt from last week's project time and the jellyfish from this week.|
The entire rotation takes about 2 hours, and parents are encouraged to participate or observe for the first half, so you basically get free yoga and massage and meditation for 30 minutes, then watch your child make a craft, then go to the parents room for a nice chat and break until the end. Win-win, I'd say! This program hasn't got insurance figured out yet, so there is a cost, but it's reasonable.
In the above picture, they are having a "beach party" for back-to-school night.
I think Holistic Therapy Playplace has the right idea, and am pleased with our experience so far. I'm sharing in hopes that others might follow this example in what kids really need- mind-body-soul connections.
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