Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Occupational Therapy vs. (?) Applied Behavior Analysis

I don't really think OT and ABA have to be at odds, but it feels like it sometimes.  In four years that Anthony has been at Little Star, he's also gotten OT for maybe ... three years of that time?  Maybe two, I'd have to go back into my files (that do not exist) and find out, so let's say 2.5 years.  I think he does much, much better when he is in OT as well as ABA.  I think the perfect combination was about one year ago, when there was an OT at his school, one who worked with the ABA therapists and also with Anthony.  That OT is the one who recommended that we have Anthony see someone about getting him into some leg braces, she was a wonderful resource.  Of course, now she's not there anymore, there's a part time OT but he sees a lot of kids and it's just not the same.  I don't hold anyone accountable for that, it's just the way it is - the insurance company cut Anthony's school's reimbursement by 20%, which STILL makes me mad but whatever, that's not even as bad as it's going to get, I'm guessing, so I am saving my ire for when it really counts.

Anyway, when I approached Anthony's school about him getting OT outside of school hours, billable hours, I felt some pushback.  One of the reasons was because Anthony is prescribed 40 hours of ABA a week, and they have to charge for all that to stay on track, so he can't have an OT come in during the time that he should be doing ABA, because what would the ABA therapist do while he was getting OT?  This is a good point, I feel, but it still left me kind of stranded when it came to getting him some OT on a regular basis.  I found a place that does OT and that has evening hours.  He now sees an OT on Tuesday nights at 6:00 - this is perfect because I never work on Tuesdays, so I can take him and sit in the waiting room for 50 minutes by my damn self and it's just great.

I went last night and he did very well.  I could hear him - or I should say I *couldn't* hear him, for most of it, which tells me that he is content and doesn't need to hoot and holler to stim vocally.  Amy, his therapist, told me that he picked out colors when she asked him to and she said she should have known that he knew his colors, but it surprised her for a minute.  I said he knows everything and she laughed.  I said I know it sounds silly but he does - I feel like he knows everything he's ever been taught.  When he was Felicity's age, he knew how to count to 20, his colors, all animals, his alphabet, just everything. Felicity only knows Max and Ruby but because of some different wiring, SHE is going to be fine and he struggles and struggles.  It's such BS.

Anyways, I think this is an interesting link, which describes the differences between OT and ABA, and which talks about what they ARE and what they ARE NOT.  One of the most interesting things is that Occupational Therapy is not a new phenomenon - it's over 100 years old.  I think that might be interesting to people who are in their 20's and who think OT is some kind of magic voodoo or something, that there's no science behind it.  Not that I know anyone who thinks that, ha!

1 comment:

Limefreckle said...

when my son was little ABA was a disaster for him (we call it IBI in Canada) but OT seemed to work a lot's too bad they gave you push back about having it done at school -- if only we could truly progam for EACH INDIVIDUAL CHILD, instead of the parameters of the intervention.....maybe someday!