Last year, Byron entered our preschool classroom. Quickly, the teachers noticed that he had limited communication and comprehension, often threw fits, had difficulty forming friendships and could not run, skip or jump like his peers. Screenings and assessments indicated delays in speech, fine motor and social emotional development. We discussed the concerns with the family and they agreed that he had the same challenges at home. We provided them with a road map and support for getting the therapy services that would help him overcome his challenges before entering Kindergarten. Through this process, the family learned that due to their income Byron’s Medicaid card would not cover his therapy needs. Had they made slightly less, he would have qualified for full coverage of occupational and speech therapy. Byron’s mother was heartbroken and in tears. What else could she do? Byron’s grandmother offered to take over custody of Byron so that he would be fully covered by her insurance. We didn’t think that Byron’s hard working parents should have to make changes to their family dynamics in order to meet his needs. With over 30 years of experience in supporting families, we had some answers for Byron and his family. We worked with our partners in providing therapy services, Horn and Associates in Rehabilitation, to secure a Scottish Rights scholarship for him for his speech therapy. Growing Together Preschool now pays for Byron’s occupational therapy due to generous donations to our therapy fund.
When Byron began therapy, he was unable to tolerate the testing procedures and would not allow therapist to touch or work with him initially. He screamed, hit, kicked, refused to follow instructions and had difficulty transitioning from the classroom to therapy. Occupational therapist, Kristy Stamper, had difficulty completing his evaluation due to these behaviors.
When Kristy began work with him he presented with significant delays in motor skills and
processing of multi-sensory information that resulted in the maladaptive behaviors causing the challenges in the classroom and therapy. His grasping skills and visual motor skills were significantly below average. He could not sustain 3 minutes of directed activity at this time and avoided participating in therapy exercises.
He has made great gains since starting OT. Byron is now able to transition in his daily routines without difficulty, even anticipating the next thing in his day. He is now able to complete directed activities for the entire therapy session. He is engaging in a variety of fine motor play tasks now without avoidance and is making steady progress with his grasping and his visual motor skills. He is now receptive to strengthening and sensory-motor play using a variety of equipment and with therapist help.
His speech therapist, Sharon Agin, reports that he has progressed from not knowing the names of objects to naming objects and actions most of the time. He progressed from talking mainly in short phrases to talking in a variety of sentence constructions and his ability to be understood has greatly improved.
It takes a special team of dedicated professionals to affect this level of progress in a young child. Our therapists, Kristy, Sharon and Julie work collaboratively with our teachers and give them activities and ideas to incorporate into the classroom so that the benefits of therapy extend beyond the weekly therapy session. Our teachers are in-tune with each individual child and are able to give the therapists updates on the child’s progress in the classroom.
6 months later, Byron’s parents, grandmothers and teachers report that he has made amazing improvement. He no longer throws fits because he can communicate his wants and needs. The skills he has gained through therapy and his care at Growing Together are now age-appropriate. He has several friends and can run, jump and skip with them on the playground. His performance in daily routine is so much improved that he is now transitioning from preschool to the pre-kindergarten class.
Thanks to your donations during last year’s GoodGiving Guide Challenge, we have been able to help Byron and his family so that he will be ready for Kindergarten when he gets there next year. Please help us to ensure that the needs of all of our children are met by donating again this year.