Thursday, September 09, 2010

And So Our Long Journey Began...

So we had Ceeya’s assessment on Saturday morning, and it was quite an experience. The Blah Blah Family arrived at the center on time, and sat in a very nicely furnished, sunny waiting area with lots of toys, books and puzzles. Ceeya and Viva immediately began playing together with one of those giant wooden activity boxes. Our assessing occupational therapist arrived and started us off with the paperwork. There was so much paperwork that Sweet Dub and I split it and continued working on it throughout the session. Much of it involved our own assessments of Ceeya’s sensitivities, but some of it involved very detailed questions about her birth and her developmental milestones. I honestly don’t remember exactly when she started doing certain things (the curse of the second child!) but I know that she has always been well within the normal range of physical development.

Anyhoo, we were there for well over an hour, and the OT tested her with puzzles, checked her muscle tone, tried to get her into a swing (which Ceeya was simply not having—she detests swings and almost anything that makes her unsteady. Oddly, she enjoys a rocking horse or a rocking chair), watched her on a trampoline, checked her balance on an exercise ball, watched her eat, had her use crayons and utensils, etc.

One thing I will say is that I was really surprised and proud that Ceeya pretty much took off exploring in each play room that we went to. (There were three successively bigger rooms.) This might have been because Viva was there with her and there were no other kids around, but still, I was pleased to see that.

We have not yet received the official evaluation, but the bottom line is this: the OT is not sure that Ceeya has enough “wrong” with her to be eligible for her sessions to be covered by insurance, and yet (yes, you knew this was coming) she would recommend therapy twice a week for the next year. She's pretty sure she has SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder), and that she's pretty much constantly in a state of "fight or flight," but yeah, probably our insurance won't cover it. Occupational therapy costs $150/session. Doing the math: that’s $1,200 a month.

Fortunately, I work for a children's social services agency and my bullshit meter was pinging off the charts.

Stay tuned for the next installment, when we take matters into our own hands.


AmericanFamily said...

With the swing situation, it sounds like your daughter may have vestibular issues. My daughter was similarly only interested in front-back movement but hated anything that made her swing in any other direction. It turned out that she had a vestibular-ocular problem.

We did OT for about 2 months. The OT put her in a hammock swing (available on Ebay for $30). At first, it was nearly unbearable for L to be in that swing. We started with just a very few minutes. It was key that she looked at things outside the swing instead of at the swing itself or anything moving with her. Each time we worked on more and more time and added swinging in circles, and in various other planes. Eventally the OT was whipping her all over the place really high and fast. She also worked on a platform swing and had her lay on her back/stomach/etc.

Before OT, L was extremely uncomfortable if you asked her to put her head in any position other than straight up and down or laying flat (e.g. reclining freaked her out.) Now she doesn't seem to have any problems with it. I have also noticed that she is much more comfortable with things requiring balance like jumping off the couch.

You may want to try to find an OT who will see you once a month and give you ideas about things you can do on your own. There was some equipment that would be difficult to duplicate, but for the most part, it would be cheaper and easier to do those activities at home.

Lisa Blah Blah said...

Thanks for your very thoughtful response. You're right--we just got her OT evaluation back and one of the things noted there was that she "presents with some aspects of decreased vestibular processing." Aside from the swing situation, C. hates to be on one of those swaying bridges on playground equipment. Same issue.

I am going to be talking with the OT today about a possible course of treatment, and with the insurance company over whether they'll pay for it, and with a nutritionist/pediatric dietician about the food issues. Whew, I'm worn out just thinking about it...

It's good to get feedback from other parents who have been there, so thanks for sharing your experience. I know this can be corrected. I just feel sad that this has been impacting her for so long as it is!