Friday, March 29, 2013

Occupational Therapy

One of the biggest (most awesome) things about my new work schedule is that it offers a lot more flexibility and I can do so much more for Will - one of those being occupational therapy.

We started working with an OT specialist, Ms. JoAnn the last week of February, so about a month now. Wow! What a difference a month makes.

Part of the way Leigh's disease affects Will is with extremely low muscle tone - all over his body. Legs, mouth, hands etc. Anywhere you'd have a muscle it's affected. His hand strength is very low and that makes tracing, writing, drawing, coloring etc pretty difficult and tiring for him. Oftentimes he just stops mid-way through a project.

People use OT for all different reasons, previously we worked with an OT, Ms. Risa, through ECI on chewing and feeding problems. Now, we're focusing on improving hand and palm strength for Will. The goal is to get his hands stronger so he is more successful with fine motor skills, finger manipulation etc.

Some of the activities he has done with Ms. JoAnn includes digging beads out of putty, stencils, drawing lines, using tweezers to pick up small items, playing tug of war, etc. We've been working two days a week (Monday and Tuesday) for about 45 minutes each time.

Not only is Ms. JoAnn AWESOME, but Will is showing major progress. He can now cut with scissors and best of all is taking a much more active and engaged role in the classroom. He is asking for new work, new lessons and just seems so much more confident in himself. He's gaining more independence and we're encouraging that in all aspects right now.

Of course when he's tired and pooped at the end of the day, the independence seems to fade quickly, but I'm still really proud of him. Will continues to surprise us with his determination and ability. I love seeing the look on his face after he has cut paper (on the line) all by himself. He is so focused while working, then you can see the sense of accomplishment when he's done.

I could go on for a while about OT and how well he is doing, but I will just post some pictures.

The face "snarl" of concentration.

 Ms. JoAnn also uses Kinesio tape to help strengthen his arms and hands. You can see he chose pink for one arm and blue for the other arm... We call these his special spider man tape when his friends at school ask. Sometimes they are curious about the special stuff Will is working on.

Will was able to string seven beads on a pipe cleaner. A recent class art project was making a peace sign by stringing beads on a pipe cleaner. He seemed to be able to do the project even better than usual. His teachers also have reported an increase in his ability, desire and stamina to complete projects.


  1. You're my hero Will, toughest little boy I've ever seen.

  2. My mom is an OT who works primarily with kids 3-5. It's so great to see that an OT has had such a positive influence in the time Will has been seeing one!

    Even though we only worked together briefly at Edelman, I've enjoyed following your adventures post-agency. Thanks for continuing to provide updates!

  3. The new OT sounds awesome! Love the pictures- such concentration and determination- love him!

  4. Once again he show's us that "where there's a Will, there's a way"...literally:)

  5. He is so awesome. I love his work snarl. SO SO cute. GO WILL GO!!!

  6. Love this post, Lori!