Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Music for Max.

Over the past few weeks, Max has been a busy little guy. It has been stressful for all of us, as he tends to act out when his world is turned upside down (don't we all?). Last week he started music/speech therapy, IBI, had a checkup at Sick Kids on his kidney, and a paediatrician appointment. That's a lot, even for a normally developing kid - it is no wonder that Max was left unimpressed.
At Max's first music/speech therapy session, he really struggled. He did not want to stay seated or participate - all he wanted to do was run around the room and tug on the door handle to try to escape. When I tried to bring him back to the circle, he screamed and thrashed about, which was exhausting for both of us. Luckily, the therapists - Sandy Lane and Lauren Murray, have pretty much seen it all, so this didn't stress them out. About half way through the session, we got him settled down and he was able to sit and observe, participating at a minimal level.
Given that we had a rough start with the first session, I was a bit stressed out as we headed into our second session. Max was whimpering as we entered Blue Balloon, and gave me a wary look as I coaxed him into the music room. But, to my surprise, he settled in immediately and managed to stay engaged for the entire 50 minute session! I think Sandy and Lauren are growing on him, and he seems to be starting to understand how the program works.

What I really like about the music/speech therapy, is Max's speech therapist, Sandy, designed the program for Max and the other little boy (named George) to meet their goals specifically. Max and George were both born in April 2006, have a diagnosis of ASD, and are at similar levels of development. By having them share the sessions, they also get the benefit of learning to engage with another child. Sandy also managed to find another little boy with similar goals (born in April 2006) to join our group, which brought the cost down. With the mounting costs of Max's therapy, I certainly appreciated that!

Over the next few months, Max will be in therapy 5 days a week. That is what he needs right now, so that is what we will do. While we can't afford the recommended 21 hours of IBI therapy a week (nor do I think Max could handle it), we are starting with 6 hours a week, plus music therapy. He also starts up another block of speech therapy at ErinOakKids in February. Luckily, he will have the lovely Emily as his speech therapist again, so he won't have to start all over and get used to someone new. I'm not sure how we'll manage all the to-ing and fro-ing once my mat leave ends and I am back to "work" in May, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

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