Today was a long and rewarding day. It started with a bumpy bus ride to Camino Nuevo. The school serves children with cerebral palsy, microcephaly, epileptic conditions, those on the autism spectrum, and a variety of other neurodevelopmental delays. When we first arrived, we met Amilcar, the physical therapist who works with 7 students in a group therapy session once per week. Paraeducators work with these students during the other days of the week.
We divided our larger team into 3 smaller teams, each led by one of our 3 fantastic clinical instructors. Heidi, one of our PT CIs is leading Olivia, Kiera, and Savannah to work with students with significant disabilities and limited mobility. Bridget, our OT CI is leading Katie and Becca on a gardening/sensory project. Jennifer, our other PT CI is leading Diana, Hork, and Stacey working with students in the autism classrooms.
Our goals for today were to observe the physical therapist and paraeducators during the therapy sessions, observe the classrooms, and explore the recreational space. The recreation team plans to enhance the recess area for a multisensory experience and include more physical movement during classroom time. The gardening/sensory team plans to make the garden more accessible for students, as well as adding sensory activities throughout the school property. Some ideas we have are a brain walk, an interactive water wall, and incorporating the use of preexisting sensory bins. The classroom adaptation group plans to provide the paraeducators with techniques to perform safe and efficient transfers with the students, incorporate group therapy, and adapt the chairs and tables used during feeding to improve positioning.
After lunch at our homestay, each of our groups went out on site visits for 3 different students from Camino Nuevo. Jennifer's group visited a 4 year old boy and his family at his home. The boy is a newer student at Camino Nuevo and has CP and autism. His family has done a lot of work with him to improve his motor skills and participation and he is making slow but definite progress. Their primary goal for him now is to improve his speech/communication. Jennifer and her team will work with the teachers at Camino Nuevo and the family to support this goal. Bridget's team visited the family of a student with multiple diagnoses who has been at the school for many years whose family struggles to keep her engaged while in the home. The team provided suggestions for improving independence in daily activities, developing structure to limit behavioral outbursts, and improving range of motion in lower extremities. Heidi's team visited a 10 year old girl and her mom at her mom's work place. The student has scoliosis and weist syndrome (an epileptic disorder). The team provided suggestions for wheelchair modifications to improve her posture and comfort, positioning ideas for pressure relief, feeding techniques to facilitate chewing/swallowing, and education regarding skin integrity.