PULL! LIFT! CARRY!
I write so much about Nathaniel's communication needs, that I have not put into writing the other areas of development that we are addressing in therapy. There are many. Nathaniel continues to have a global developmental delay and some significant sensory processing needs. He has consistently received Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy in addition to his twice weekly Speech Therapy. We had a long day of appointments at St. Louis Children's earlier this month and made a decision to start some new weekly therapy to address some of the sensory needs. We go tomorrow for our first visit, which increases OT to twice a week. We are putting PT on hold for a time to allow for the extra focus on OT.
Pushing and pulling weight in a child size wagon or small shopping cart is a widely suggested therapy activity. Rich and I chuckle when we hear these ideas. While we didn't know therapy world when we were raising our other six boys, we knew getting them outside and doing heavy physical work made life better for all of us. That reality was one of the reasons we encouraged our boys to operate a landscaping business for the last five years. It is why we rehabbed houses and built our addition ourselves. Doing therapy is new. Rich doing yard work or working on our home with a child at his side is not. This is how he has fathered for thirty-two years.
The photos below make me smile. (The one above does too! But this post is about what's happening this week.) I love the freedom Rich gave Nathaniel to try to pull the wagon by himself at times. I love how Rich then offered some help with the handle when Nathaniel was getting tired. Not pictured is the moment when Nathaniel let go, assuming Dad would pull alone. Rich moved to take Nathaniel's other hand, leading the way into continued work. I love that Rich's focus stayed on the child and not the task. It took them thirty minutes to clean leaves and sticks out of our seventy-five foot front gutter at the street. A job Rich could have done alone in less than ten minutes. This is the right blend of therapy and life for us. We believe Nathaniel needs real work and real life experiences to meet his sensory needs, and not just artificially created therapy activities in a clinic with a therapist.
I'm looking forward to learning more tomorrow. And I am also looking forward to seeing how Rich will take the ideas I bring home to create purposeful and genuine moments with Nathaniel.