A Parent's Guide-Occupational Therapy for Special Needs Kids

By: Amy Bingham
By: Amy Bingham

Keeping up with the demands of small children is hard enough for parents, but it can be especially difficult when you have kids with special needs.

Five-year-old Maxwell was diagnosed with Asburger Syndrome, a form of autism, a couple of years ago. He spends an hour each week with an occupational therapist working on motor skills, social interaction and more.

Toby Black works both in her home and in her clients homes to help children reach their full potential in spite of health limitations or a diagnosis they may have.

"The children I work with have special needs, maybe were preemies. Parents have a soft spot not to make them cry and the child controls the home. Then they get bigger and things get out of control.”

Behavior modification is a big part of therapy offered to kids like Maxwell and Angelo.

"He has behavior issues at home he doesn't know how to express them. Working on daily with things that bother him so mom doesn't have to go through all the tantrums.”

Black says the interaction she has with the children often changes the relationship between the parent and the child because they see how crucial it is to spend time teaching the child about the world around them.

"I play with child and with toy. Too many parents set child down with toy and left to explore.”

Black says rather than just pushing a button, she teaches the children to examine the cause and effect of the toy.

Maxwell' s mother says she learns along with her son. And the earlier you get your child additional help they need, the sooner their daily struggles will get easier.

If you suspect your child has developmental delays, the state offers an evaluation through its "First Steps" program.

For information, go to http://chfs.ky.gov/dph/adminupdate.htm.

Also, the Clinical Education Complex being built at Western will combine five agencies to provide better care for children with special needs. It's expected to be operational this fall.

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