Monthly Archives: April 2016

Art

As my followers know, I do art to make side money, but really I use art as another mode of communication. Art for anyone is used for communicating things that cannot be conveyed though words, so we as artists, find another mode of communicating our thoughts. I like to use art with my younger mentees as they are able to express themselves freely by creating art, and I am also able to discover where the child is on a cognitive level. If we can remember to treat the clients as people first and bring what you like doing into the sessions you will be able to go farther with your clients.
As professionals, we can sometimes get to know our clients on a deeper level if we can incorporate what they enjoy doing into our sessions. As an occupational therapist and mentor, if we think outside of the box we are able get more progress from the clients. You don’t have to use art, you can use anything you are into doing in your personal life. As long as you are authentic, the clients are going to open up. Once I have the client opening up, I am able to get them to talk with the communication device, which tells us what level he or she is at cognitively. The child will want to converse with you because they will be into the activity you are doing with them, which also teaches the individual that communication can help them engage in what they enjoy doing.
I work to engage my clients in activities to create a nice and playful environment to help them feel at ease. At least, for the mentees I work with, playing with them helps me to get them to communicate more effectively than if I give them exercises for practicing their communication device. If you can get creative with your approach in treating people, you will get more progress in a shorter time with the client and it will also be enjoyable for you also.
Until Next Time, Enjoy Your Children

Helping Children communicate on the Playground

I have a colleague who has written a paper on children having their communication devices on the playground. Children can be in their walkers with the communication devices mounted on their walkers so they are able to run and play while being able to communicate like any other child. As occupational therapists and mentors we have the capability to adapt equipment to hold communication devices allowing children to communicate in almost any position.
I believe that if the individual can be stabilized to be using the communication device as comfortably and as accurately as they are able to in the wheelchair, then there is no reason that they shouldn’t be talking on the playground. The child will be more likely to grow up to have “typical cognition” if they are interacting with their able body peers. My clients are, for most part, “typically” developing so I like to help them play with typically developing peers. I put them into walkers and power chairs and watch them play, run, and talk with children their age.
If they are able to have a “typical” childhood they are going to expect the same responsibilities as their able bodied peers and siblings. As a disabled adult, I believe that I wouldn’t be here doing my profession if I had been raised differently. If we can give the same opportunities to our clients, we will most l likely see them growing up and participating in the normal activities that their peers are doing. We have the knowledge to be able to do this for our clients and that is why most of us went into this field; to help children with disabilities to be just children.
Until Next Time, Enjoy Your Children