Quentin has been working at Leaps and Bounds for a few years now. He and his mother had a goal of bike riding for an activity to do with his family and exercise. Now that he is in high school his occupational therapist suggested some functional training in the gym. Thanks to the inclusion model at the YMCA, Quentin and his OT work weekly on strengthening, body awareness, balance, bilateral coordination, fine motor, and social skills.
Providing therapy at the YMCA has helped facilitate progress in just a few short weeks for Quentin. His sessions often start with a warm up of walking on the treadmill and organizing a plan for the session as well as his week. Learning new motor tasks can be challenging due to motor planning, balance, coordination and self-confidence.
Quentin has been working hard on the elliptical machine, a new machine to him at the start of this program. He had some difficulty with balancing and being able to step up on the machine and getting it moving without some assistance to pedal forwards. Now Quentin is able to get on and off the machine with his therapist there for support and is pedaling forward on his own with some reminders. He also engages in the stationary bike to facilitate some core strength and balance on a bike before trying out the real thing. Quentin has slowly increased his time and distance on the stationary bike each week. Initially, pedaling and getting his feet in the swivel pedals was difficult, but he has shown increased body awareness to get started on his own without physical assistance.
We have incorporated working on functional fine motor and bilateral coordination activities also. He started by practicing with large buttons on a shirt and progressed to small buttons for him to dress himself. He has also shown progress on tasks such as closing a Ziploc and sealing a bag of bread properly with a twist tie at home. Quentin continues to practice this in the gym by using both hands on the elliptical machine and cleaning off the equipment after using it. Holding a towel and spray bottle in each hand can be a tricky task for Quentin to use at the same time. He and his therapist have been practicing using in-hand manipulation to use a towel or paper towel to properly clean the machines.
The gym has proven to be a great place to work on some of Quentin’s social concerns also. He is working on using greetings, eye contact, and conversation as well as reading social cues of others. There has been a lot of focus on the social contexts that are in the gym as well as how to interact with a variety of people there. Quentin has had the chance to practice in this real environment when he should comment to others and when he should keep his thoughts to himself. Using the Social Thinking curriculum, Quentin has responded well to reading these cues and interacting with others both in the clinic and a community setting like the YMCA. We can’t wait to see more of Quentin’s progress!