Miss Em had her last evaluation today for services through the state. Oddly enough, she qualified for occupational therapy even though she's only two and certainly has never had a job! Of course I'm only kidding, from what I gather occupational therapy doesn't pertain to what you do for a living. Rather, it deals with the way that the body takes in information from the world, how the brain processes that information, and how the body responds to the external stimulus.
As Miss Jeanie explained to me, when someone is eating a meal, there are as many as 32 separate types of information entering the senses all at once. There are smells, different textures to the food, shapes of the plates and utensils, lighting, cooking sounds or the sounds of people talking, etc. etc. It's a lot of stuff to take in, yes, yet the brain can handle it well enough. However, when this process isn't smooth, when the brain can't handle everything coming in, it affects the way that info comes back out. I think of it like the computer's CPU. When its using 99% of its power on one program, the other programs don't respond. And that is what is happening to Emily.
More specifically, she has a problem with her auditory processing. At times, she can hear verbal language and she can understand it. If you tell her she can watch a movie she runs to the computer. But she can't always respond verbally to a similar situation. For example, if I asked her to what movie she wanted to watch, she would go to the computer and point, but odds are she wouldn't be able to come up with the words, "Wiggle Bay" or "Dora". If I pushed the issue, she would throw a tantrum. I never understood why she wouldn't respond to what seems like a simple question. I thought she was being stubborn. It turns out she simply can't respond to these types of questions. She is focusing on the idea that a movie is coming, and she's too excited to get any words out, even words she knows like "Dora". When she is really foucsed on something, like a puzzle or a book, she can't even hear me. In Emily's head, I actually sound like Charlie Brown's teacher! Whon wonh whonnw...
I am not exactly sure how the occupational therapy is going to progress. Miss Jeanie and Melanie, our state coordinator, both feel Emily would do best participating in the occupational therapy in conjunction with her speech therapy. Sessions will be held back to back at the same facility. Hopefully this will help her progress quickly. She is a bright girl, and there's no reason why we shouldn't be able to make some significant strides before her third birthday.