Monday, November 15, 2010

We started our Pediatric Fieldowrk!

So, I'm on my pediatric fieldwork now and I LOVE IT!

I have an incredible supervisor! She is patient and answers each and every one of my 3 million questions thoroughly. She brings me resources and samples regularly and I'm reviewing and learning from all the material.

The kids have disabilities that range from cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, autism, ADD/ADHD, mild Sensory Processing Disorder, handwriting and developmental delays. What's interesting is that a lot of the time is spent on paperwork, at least more than I expected. My supervisor is very gracious because during that time she takes breaks from paperwork to answer my 3 million questions per day.

My supervisor is awesome about allowing me to experiment, play with, joke with and work with them. I love working with them! One of the kids said to me, "Hi, I'm Boy X. What's your name?" I told him my name is 'Ms. Kim' to which he promptly replied, "What grade are you in?" It took everything in me to keep from laughing. Because I'm 'novel and new' the kids love working me and none of them are shy.

I had the opportunity to sit in on an IEP (Individualized Education Program) meeting and it was incredibly interesting! I had to sign the IEP paperwork, as an OTS of course, because everyone present has to be acknowledged. A variety of professionals were present--the psychologist, special education teacher, classroom teacher, case manager, occupational therapist (of course), Speech Language Pathologist-- and the parents were there. I felt that some of the language was a little too technical for the parents and I made a mental note to always remember to speak simply and clearly and explain everything when talking to people who are not occupational therapists. What is simple and common knowledge to me may be technical mumbo-jumbo to someone not in the field.

A lot of our therapy takes place in odd locations due to lack of space, including the hallway, closets, the classroom, backrooms in the library and other super small areas. Each area is distracting and exceptionally visually or aurally stimulating. I don't know how the kids can concentrate, given their occupational needs, and I'm always amazed at the kids' ability to concentrate with so much 'business' going on.

I've noticed that performing standardized assessments can be a bit challenging because the kids don't have the attention span, patience or focus to complete the assessment. So, the evaluations that I've witnessed use creative tools and simple/clever games and tasks.

So far, I love working with small children. I'm still learning how to really analyze their grips, posture, sensory needs or aversions, speech, gross and fine motor skills and a host of other things. I'm really working on being more observant to their abilities and delays.

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