Five year old Kelan was born prematurely. “We knew he’d have some challenges,” says his mom, Becky. “We just didn’t know what they’d be. Our doctors told us to just keep an eye on milestones.”
For a while, things seemed normal enough. Becky and her husband, Darren, enrolled Kelan in day care. They began noticing changes in his behavior starting at the age of about 12 months.
“He started distancing himself from groups of children, and often we’d find him under big play cushions because he needed to feel some compression for comfort,” Becky says. “He didn’t want to come out. Once, he removed the sink from a toy kitchen set and climbed inside. The confined space made him feel more comfortable. But we didn’t know his behavior was especially unusual – he was our first child! Our pediatrician, who sent her own child to CTC, recommended that we give CTC a call.”
Kelan was eventually diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder and ADHD. The techniques and strategies Becky learned in therapy to help her son have proven invaluable.
“I’ve learned how to communicate effectively with Kelan, and that’s been huge” she says. “For example, behavior is often an issue for kids with ADHD. ‘Time outs’ don’t work for Kelan. Instead, he gets five stars a day and one is removed – or added back in – based on his behavior. His goal is to end up with at least one star by bedtime. The system works very well for him…and for me!”
Becky and Darren have also learned how useful tools like fidget toys, sensory bins (containers filled with items such as dried beans or rice that help children become accustomed to sensation) and a SPIO® vest can be when he’s not at the center for therapy. “We’re at CTC a couple times a week for occupational therapy and gymnastics, but in order for therapy to really be effective we have to practice at home. His therapists have taught us how to do that.”
Becky has also enrolled Kelan in social skills classes and aquatic therapy at CTC. “We love being able to try different options for therapy at CTC. The social skills classes have been really useful in helping Kelan communicate better with other kids who may shy away from him because his behavior can be all over the place sometimes.”
Becky’s goal is for Kelan to be able to recognize when he’s having trouble and learn how to regulate himself. “We’ve learned a lot in two years [in therapy] and it feels great! It’s not just therapy sessions – it’s the result of all the therapists working together as a team, and our family feels like part of that team.”