Jessica has been doing Occupational Therapy with Little Bird for three years now. That's a mighty long time. Her specialty is sensory integration. When she started with us, she'd spin the bird around and around and around and then watch her eyes to determine how well she handled movement and whether she was able to "feel" the movement. When you feel the movement of spinning like that, you get dizzy and your eyes shift rapidly (nystagmus). The OT will test the way someone handles movement by checking for a post-rotational nystagmus (PRN). They literally count the amount of seconds that it takes for a person's eyes to return to normal. The bird took 0 seconds. She was registering NO movement even when spun around like that.
Jessica got her to a place where she was able to register the movement, but then she began seeking it out by spinning in circles and arm flapping, and crashing into things, jumping from the coffee table to the couch, etc. This sensory seeking behavior continues to this day.
Jessica got Little Bird started on a therapeutic listening program with music where the frequencies are modulated in order to hit, awaken, stimulate or calm different parts of the inner ear. We began a strict sensory diet of music and platform swing spinning and within a few months, the bird stopped spinning in circles. Little Bird has worked hard on her tone with Jess, too. It's always a workout and the bird is always tired after a session with Jessica.
A typical session begins in the purple swing, which my bird asks for the minute we walk in the door.
The Jessica sets up an obstacle course to work on balance, strength, and the feeling of where her body is in space (she has no idea). Then they might do some tactile work like play with shaving cream, sit in the rice pool, or even jump in the ball pit. They spend some time working on fine motor skills too: stringing beads, pinching clothes pins, or handwriting (this should be called scribbling). A couple years ago, we were just working on keeping the crayons OUT of the bird's mouth, so the scribbling is an improvement.
All in all, Jessica's major role with us is sensory integration. She's always been very confident in Little Bird's abilities and her potential. Sometimes I'll call her and say, "I need you to tell me all good things so I can come down off this ledge." And she does. She really really really loves the bird. Like, her desk is covered in pics of the bird. And the bird loves her, too. The only trouble is that LB wants to play and have fun more than she want's to work; and she knows that Jess loves her so she really puts on the charm sometimes and tries to get out of working with that, "but I'm so cute and you love me" look. Sometimes it works. Little Bird is NO fool.