Have you wondered how the parents of the children you see for therapy feel about the lock down, and how it is affecting their children?  Have you actually asked them how they feel about the home programmes, suggested activities, broadcast groups, telehealth sessions or a pause in the therapy process? Some colleagues have managed to provide a wonderful supportive service to their clients and feedback is so important in guiding our clinical reasoning, as well as motivation for therapy services.  One mom was happy to share her insights with us.  We thank her for her generous contribution to the blog today, and applaud the OT who is working with her boy.

“Our OT is a NINJA of the highest order and we love her, not only for her skills and compassion but for her willingness to help, and her dedication to our little man. Thankfully, we have a wonderful relationship. We think so at least, but she may well cringe when she sees my number pop up on her phone!

Lock down has been an interesting experience for us and has definitely come with its challenges. Routine is something our little guy thrives on, and I suddenly realized I had better get one going or I was going to find myself at the mercy of a small gang of unpredictable little mutineers. We have two boys, both of whom have weekly OT sessions, although only one has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). To be honest, he is perhaps easier to help as I have received so much help along the way to gain a greater understanding of his needs. Over time, and with our OT’s help, I have learned to read him and see the signs of a potential overload. He too has learned to identify when he needs time or space on his own, and so removes himself. This has been challenging to manage in lock down as our boys are so close in age and generally play very well together but for an SPD child having your older brother in your space 24/7 gets a bit much.

Being able to Skype our OT has been an absolute life saver. Being able to discuss our ideas and see her describe exercises has made all the difference. Honestly, without this mechanism to clarify and communicate, I’d be in serious trouble!  We have been 100% on board with helping our boys with their OT at home. We even did the pre-lock down plundering of the local stationery, arts and crafts store, (art is one of our son’s greatest regulators) but there is just no way you can be successful without the input and interaction of your OT. The assistance we received from her in

a) setting up a schedule,

b) trying it and,

c) feeding back for her to tweak it to get the best out of our boys has been invaluable.

Teletherapy is an absolute must if you can. It looks like lock down is going to be around for a while and I don’t have enough wine to ensure everyone in my family makes it out alive on my own! Honestly, as a parent, just seeing the familiar face of the one other person (other than my husband) who understands our son the most is such a sense of relief. OT’s have to stress the importance of consistency, fun within the activities as well as a structured approach. We as parents really do need an awful lot of hand-holding. We tend to turn things into serious work when they should be more fun. Possibly looking at a way of integrating the child’s schoolwork that is being sent home (not sure what kind of watch my son’s teacher has but time definitely goes slower on hers!) with OT activities so as to reduce the amount of time spent working, might be an idea.

At the end of the day, as a parent I appreciate the support more than anything, knowing that I can call and be reassured that what I am doing, although nowhere near as effective as an actual OT session, is a step in the right direction.

Just a note from a mom who loves her boys.”

Have you asked parents for constructive feedback about telehealth yet?  If you have something to contribute to our blog that would give us insight so that we can provide the best service possible under the circumstances, please send an email to saisi@uitweb.co.za