Yesterday, 06/22/12, I volunteer for my school's enTech, for a program called K.I.T.E, Kosair's Integrated Technology Experience. The program allows children with disabilities from the ages of 3-12 to work with a therapist for no charge. The Kosair's Shriners donate the space and funds that allow the program to be available. Here is a great link to check out the program: http://spalding.edu/academics/entech/kite/
When I arrived, they informed me that I was going to be paired up with an OT student that needed some help. About 5 minutes into sitting with the OT student, I was told that I would have my own child to work with. I was actually in shock because I had not made it into the program and was bout to practice being an OT. The service coordinator was extremely helpful. He told me that if I needed anything to let him know. He walked me through how to use and IPad, yes people, I do not know how to use one. LOL.
The child that I was assigned to was 8 and has Aspbergers Syndrome. Without trying to sound completely ignorant, I honestly do not know much about this disorder other than Bill Gates has it. The only thing that I could go by was in his binder his mother wrote that he has to know what's coming next. At first I tried to build rapport with him. He completely ignored my attempts and seemed to be getting frustrated with me. So I went back to the service coordinator and ask how can I over come this. He told me that I just need to be there for the child, sometimes taking his lead. So I allowed the child to feel comfortable with me by giving him choices and following through on the rewards. For example, he was playing on the computer with a "Faceland" activity and we needed to move to crafts @ 10. I advised him how much more time he had on the computer before be had to move on. When it was coming close for time to be over, he started to finish the program more slowly. I then advised him that it was time to move on and I would allow him 2 more minutes to finish the game or he would have to stop the game without it being finished. That seemed to get him going. I had to keep reminding him, one more minute, thirty seconds, and so on which kept him on track. Once he was finished he ran off. He ran to pick up someones IPad. I told him that if he did his craft than I would allow him to have some IPad time on the IPad that I had. He seemed to like that. On the way over to the craft table he got in the big circle object that looks like a big tire and sllllllllllooooooooowwwwwwwly rolled over to the craft table. Then he just stopped halfway there. I had to pretend to give him gas in order to get him moving again. I have to do this four or five time before he understood what I was doing. He just looked at me with a questionable face. I told him, "I think you stopped because there is no more gas. So let me give you some gas to get you going to the craft table." He still looked at me funny when I made a gulping sound and put my hand at the back of the wheel pretending to put gas in. He got out of the tube to see what I was doing. I explained to him again that I was giving him gas. I told him to give it a try, to get back in and see if it moves closer to the craft table. Guess what? He moved it. That was the first smile I have gotten from him that morning because he really did not want to have anything to do with me. Then he slowed down again. This time I filled him up with turbo gas so he could get the rest of the way to the craft table faster. From that moment on, the child seemed to like my presence. He still became frustrated with activities, but if I played in between the activities that gave him a little encouragement to move on or follow my lead. We still had some bumps in the road with him running off and hurting other people, however, I had to give him the stay in your own bubble talk and to stay with me talk. Even though he seemed to not care what I was saying, he still followed my directions. I worked with him from 9-12 and really enjoyed it.
I also was able to talk with some students that are currently in the program. They told me that if I get a "C" I will get kicked out of the program. They said that I need to get with the "smart people" and for study groups. They encouraged me with applying. They told me that I would be fine. They said just to make sure to make in impression in the interview to get in the program. It was nice to interact with students that are about to graduate from the program. I also networked the OT that graduated from Spadling and received more encouragement.
I came home to a screaming baby and stressed husband. The baby had not nursed since 8 that morning and he gave her a formula bottle at 11, but she just was not content until I was home. The kids were yelling and running all over the place. Nothing like being home. LOL.
I am very thankful for the opportunity that I had yesterday. Just wanted to share my joy. I hope the best for all of you out there.