Oscar improved so much after our Step By Step intensive last year that in July/August of this year we went back.

This time it was only for 5 days based on what we could fit in around a rather crazy work schedule so we couldn’t get as much done.  This time we focused on OT and SLT.

One of the great outcomes I got was a chance to stand back and look at how Oscar had improved which included some of the following:

  1. Straighter and stronger gait
  2. Breath control – one of the issues we have with Oscar’s speech is last year he could get 3-4 words out on one breath.  We incorporated a range of activities to work on that with his SLT that comes to school and his TA during varying activities in class.  It worked and I hadn’t really noticed it!  He can now get 8-10 word out in a single breathe
  3. Fine motor skills – his co-ordination there has improved and his ability to pick up objects was better
  4. Swimming – last year we really needed some bouyancy support and the Wet Vest helped with that.  In the last year Oscar can now float front and back and swim in his own way.  He is far stronger on his back I think as his is tone is lower on the front and naturally is more bouyant on his back.  However, in one of the last swims in the sea in May of this year he actually jumped off our boat with no bouyancy aid and swam from the side around to the back to get back up on the boat.   So pleased for him to get this far
  5. Reading – Oscar is still behind in his reading but is currently tracking 8.5 years to 9 years and is in Year 5.  I am fairly certain the kick he has got here this year relates as well to the work his SLT is doing on phonetics, blends and sounds to aid his spelling and comprehension as well as the fact he can write his spelling words now rather than just do them on the iPad.  He wants to read like his mates but struggles.  I have found an app called Bookshare International for vision impaired that runs on an iPad and is configurable to highlight and/or read but so far school and Oscar are not that keen on working with it.  I think it would truly aid him so I’ll put that in the mix in our Summer holiday break.
  6. Jumping – Oscar can now jump with a more even combined jump.  Last year it was very much one leg dominant and advanced but this year it is more even.  This gives me hope that eventually he will bounce on the tramp like all the others 🙂

What are our challenges still?

  1. Vision, vision and vision – this is still a major problem and we don’t really have any options to resolve this for us but we do have some strategies that Tracey the OT put in place around light boxes that help him and we are incorporating that
  2. Working Memory – an interesting test we had was with a 4 letter nonsense word on a sepia coloured paper.  Oscar struggled when first tested with this – he got 7 seconds to memorise it ‘say it backwards Oscar, say it forwards Oscar, what is the middle letter etc. However, when the same card was put on a lightbox with a yellow clear background behind it then he could do four letter words.   So we have some ways to work on this and also playing cards, explaining rules etc
  3. Eating – oh my word is this a really difficult area for us.  Oscar loooooooves food!  However, his fine motor skills means that his eating is messy and uncordinated.  He mostly uses a spoon, cannot use a knife to cut and struggles with a fork.  This was one area I asked specifically to focus on
  4. Speech – so while the breath support has aided him, he still has difficult with many ends of word blend sounds and still it is hard to understand Oscar but the communication has improved from Oscar so we will keep plugging away at it.

I was so pleased to be back with Pia and her team, it feels like coming home.  They focus on all of Oscar and put so many pieces together that change outcomes for us that I cannot thank them and Karen Pape enough for what they are doing for us.

I’ll add some specific posts on our recent trip soon.