Friday, September 10, 2010

A Grain of Salt

This week I have been going back and forth via email with the very nice occupational therapist who is writing up Ceeya’s assessment. She cautioned me that because SPD is not recognized as an official condition and will not be until inclusion in the DSM-V in 2013, for now she is going to have to couch her observations very carefully in order to see if we can get full coverage for Ceeya’s therapy. For one thing, she is going to note things that I don’t think are an issue, like Ceeya not being able to put a wooden puzzle together correctly, as a fine motor skills delay. “Read it with a grain of salt,” she says. (I love salt! Salt N Pepa too!)

On the one hand, I appreciate this, as I do not have the fundage to pay for occupational therapy twice a week out of pocket, to the tune of $15,000+ per year (since that was her initial recommendation—a full year of therapy, sweet holy Moses. Have I mentioned that my darling husband got laid off in April and is still unemployed?). On the other hand, I’m not crazy about the idea of Ceeya being labeled with something she doesn’t have, and I worry about all sorts of “pre-existing condition” crap that might follow her forever. That does not float my boat, my friends.

If Ceeya did have some sort of fine motor skills problem, it goes without saying that I would want her to get some help for it. I am not THAT bad of a mommy. I think. But that morning was the first time, to my knowledge, that she had ever even seen a puzzle of that sort. The fact that she matched the shapes to where they were supposed to be, but didn’t actually press them in hard enough so they would stay there, indicates to me she didn’t fully understand the point of the exercise—not that she was incapable of doing it correctly.

Over the weekend, I bought a similar puzzle at Target which had more pieces and was labeled ages 3 and up (they didn’t have any which were labeled for younger kids, which is probably why Ceeya hasn’t encountered them before since she is not even 2 yet). Ceeya matched all the pieces perfectly but again didn’t push them fully into place. When I asked her to do that, she did, with a bit of frustration on a couple of oddly shaped pieces, but she figured out that she just had to move the pieces around a bit to make them fit. Now it is one of her favorite things to do.

This leads me to the official Blah Blah plan for handling our business, which boils down to this: we would rather fork out a few hundred dollars at the outset for sensory-stimulating and educational toys and play with Ceeya every day ourselves than pay out $1,200 a month to a twice-weekly occupational therapist and then fight to get reimbursed by the insurance company.

By this I mean no disrespect to occupational therapy as a profession. I realize neither Sweet Dub nor I are trained to provide OT, but surely there are ways we can work with the OT to reduce the time and cost and make it work for our family.

Stay tuned for next time, when we (hopefully) get the actual written report. What will it say? What does it all mean? Will I ever look at a wooden shape-sorting puzzle the same way? And will there be ice cream? (Highly doubtful, and perplexing.)


Kristen {RAGE against the MINIVAN} said...

Having observed many a session of OT in my day, let me tell ya: it ain't rocket science. Seriously. A couple of bags of rice, some shaving cream and finger paints . . . you're good to go.

No, but really. You've probably heard this a million times but The Out-Of-Sync Child Has Fun is like the DIY handbook for OT.

(word verification: premod. hahaha)

Lisa Blah Blah said...

I absolutely agree with you! We have been having fun playing with Celia with all her new toys--but what I find interesting is that I ordered some sensory chewy toys since she will, if left to her own devices, pick up anything and chew on it. Seriously, sometimes I turn around and she's got a sock in her mouth and is chewing madly away. OF COURSE, she won't chew on the spendy chewy stixx I got her and prefers to chew on a rubber snake instead. So I have to say, lesson learned: simpler is often better. I could probably braid together some scrap pieces of fabric and she would chew on that just as happily.

I've heard about that book but haven't gotten it yet--been focusing on the eating issues so am buried in feeding disorder books at the moment. But I'll check it out, thanks!