We LOVE our developmental therapist, Ms. Jen. I’m not kidding when I say we’ve offered her our spare bedroom if she ever needs a place to live. 🙂 She’s been seeing Parker for almost two and a half years now, and I can’t imagine what life would be like without her in it.
What’s funny, is that I was initially very reluctant to consult her. She was recommended by our second occupational therapist when Parker was almost three. It felt, at the time, like I wasn’t doing something right to need a developmental therapist. I couldn’t have been more wrong. She’s been a guide, a friend, a cheerleader, an endless supply of support and encouragement, and a shoulder to cry on.
So what exactly does a developmental therapist do? It looks different depending on the child. For some, she helps develop a reliable way for the child to communicate their needs and wants. For others, it’s working on play skills. For us, it’s helping us help Parker to adapt to the constant change and challenges he’ll face as he continues to grow and mature. When he was younger, she used his love of texting and emojis to encourage potty training. Every time he used the potty successfully, he got to send Ms. Jen a text. Yes. Every single time. I’m telling you, this woman is an angel.
Currently, we’re working hard to help Parker identify and regulate his emotions in a socially appropriate manner. Parker can escalate quickly from calm to screaming and crying. For Parker, anxiety, frustration, anger, and fear can manifest in a variety of ways, and not always in the manner you would expect. Capitalizing on Parker’s love of numbers, Ms. Jen recently introduced The Incredible Five Point Scale.
Together, Parker and Ms. Jen went through a series of situations to gauge what was a source of frustration for Parker. He caught on quickly, and has been using the scale to communicate his feelings appropriately without prompting! For example, yesterday Parker spilled water in his lap on the way home from therapy. Ordinarily, this would have resulted in crying and complaining the entire drive. This time, however, he said, “Mama, my pants and shirt are wet, and it’s making me go from a 1 to a 2.”
Next week when Ms. Jen comes, we’re going to expound on the 5 point scale and talk more about what it looks and feels like when he’s at a certain level, and what he can do to self-regulate.
I’m excited to see how he continues to progress with this!