Tom and I met with the physical therapist from Olivia’s school last Friday.
Miss Mary Rose called us because she won’t be at a meeting we have scheduled with the school psychologist/teachers/principal for Wednesday. Miss M.R. has to make a recommendation to be presented at that meeting and she wanted our input before finalizing her report.
Her feelings are that she’s brought Olivia as far as she can in gross motor function.
Here are the things Olivia can do:
She can navigate the halls with no trouble. She doesn’t walk with a limp or any visual sign that walking is at all difficult for her.
She can run. She can play any game asked of her in gym class. She may not CHOOSE to play those games but she CAN play them.
She can climb. She doesn’t like to do this but she can do it. She enjoyed climbing when we’re at the park but doesn’t really trust other kids around her not to get pushy.
She can take the stairs with alternating feet without holding on.
She can hold the plank position.
She can hold the Superman position.
She can hope on one foot.
She can catch a ball with just her hands, not using her body against which to catch it.
She can do so, so much.
Miss M.R. said that Olivia’s balance is one thing that they still work on a little bit. O’s got great core strength but standing on a balance beam (about three inches from the floor) and holding out her hands and then lifting one foot is hard for Olivia.
Olivia very much worries about falling so I think it might not be for lack of being able to do this thing so much as her own fear of falling while trying that keeps her from actually doing it.
This summer Tom is going to put a low balance beam in our backyard for Olivia to play on.
See, that’s part of what we discussed with Miss M.R. Playing. She feels like most of the skills Olivia has gained and will continue to develop can be learned through play.
And Olivia’s biggest weakness in school is not gross motor skills. It’s her social abilities.
I got to the school early last week for our meeting with the PT. I was able to watch Olivia as she played at recess. Olivia sat on the ground and played in the dirt. She sat by herself, keeping very much to herself while all the other kids ran and jumped and climbed and swung and slid around her.
Several times during the ten or so minutes that I watched, someone would stop and sit with Olivia. The kids who sat with her talked to her and Olivia looked at them but never talked to them. They’d sit with her for a minute or so then go back to their games.
I want so much for her to have friends, to interact with the kids at school. She needs to be in the classroom for that. So we’re dropping PT and giving her more classroom time.
Obviously we’re leaving it open to bring PT back if O shows any sign of regression, if she loses any of the skills she’s already acquired. But for now, PT isn’t as important as just being with her peers.