Tag Archives: Et Al Therapy and Learning Centre

Occupational Therapy for Jessica at Et Al in Somerset West Jessica 04 MAY 2016

Shortly after the start of Jessica’s Grade R year, her teacher Diane Matthews raised some concerns regarding Jess’ progress at school. Chantelle and I gave it a term and a bit to see if things would approve, but as it turned out, the concerns remained and in the end we decided to take Jessica for an occupational therapy evaluation on recommendation from Diane.

IMG_20160503_132952 et al therapy and learning centre in somerset west

We made contact with the Et Al Therapy and Learning Centre in Somerset West, the same place where Jess went for physiotherapy with Stephanie Halford back when she was still a toddler.

There we got in touch with Nicola van Zyl, a young occupational therapist who then took Jessica through a lengthy (but fun) evaluation, the report of which we’ve now just sat down and discussed with Nicola.

As suspected, quite a couple of weak points were identified (i.e. in terms of being on the level considered normal for other five year old children), things that include the likes of weak postural and core muscles, bilateral integration issues, and motor planning difficulties.

Of greater concern (in terms of school progression) though is the many visual perception difficulties that Jessica also seems to have (she scored quite low in the fields of visual discrimination, memory, form-constancy, sequential memory, figure-ground and closure), which will need to be rectified sooner than later if she wants to keep up with her friends at school.

So, starting Thursday, Jessica will now be doing an occupational therapy session twice a week. (Sigh, my budget just can’t get a break this year. Goodbye Biokineticist, hello Occupational Therapist!)

Luckily though, Jess seems to like Nicola (not to mention all the cool swings and equipment in the class), so I don’t think she’ll mind all these fun new outings after school!

Related Link: Et Al Therapy and Learning Centre

Jessica with Physiotherapist Stephanie at Et Al Jessica | My Life 28 SEP 2012

Whilst I’m having fun teaching Jessica all the irrelevant stuff (she kicks out on my command of “karate kick”, she lifts her arms up at “hands up”, she tilts her head upwards and roars at the call of “roar”, and she dutifully takes your hand and shakes at the command of “shake hands”), it is without a doubt the awesome kiddie physiotherapist Stephanie Halford from Et Al that is doing all the important movement stuff with our little girl.

The improvement in her abilities in terms of shifting weight, standing up and traversing from one object to another has been huge, and although her lower body is still not quite strong enough to just stand there on her own without any support, you just know that she’ll be walking in a month or two’s time (well, we’re kind of hoping anyway).

Then of course there is that very big psychological fear of walking unaided that seems to also be holding her back, but that I assume is a story for yet another specialist to tackle. Meanwhile I’ll continue to amuse myself by teaching her “judo chop”, never mind improving her artistic drawing skills now that I’ve purchased for her her very first set of jumbo crayons!

Anyway, here are a couple of snaps I managed to take during the last physio session with Stephanie, where as luck would have it, Chantelle was able to join Jessie and myself on account of her being booked off sick!

Jessica vs. the Physio Jessica 09 AUG 2012

Right, I took Jessica to her third session with the physio on Tuesday, and pleasingly just these couple of sessions with Stephanie from Et Al Therapy and Learning Centre in Somerset West seems to be moving us along the right track, as Jessica moves to strengthen her lower muscles at a fairly quick pace, whilst Chantelle and I learn how we can further aid her in achieving this goal, all working towards that all important final milestone for young Jess – the ability to walk unaided!

At this stage a big thanks needs to go out to Mom and Dad for enabling us to take her for physio twice a week instead of just once a week as what we could originally afford, and by the looks of things this is really going to pay off sooner than later. So thanks a ton for that guys! :)

The sessions aren’t more than a half an hour long (mainly because it tires the little ones out so), and involves a number of playful exercises that usually sees Jessica being forced to elevate herself, stretch and reach out for things, and traverse obstacles laid out in front of her – not to mention bounce along on some rather big balls!

It depends on her mood on the day as to whether or not she’s going to keenly participate in the session, but for the most part Jessica definitely seems to be enjoying it – and is almost always out for the count in the car following one of Stephanie’s obviously tiring sessions!

So far the only thing Jessica isn’t too keen on doing is crawling through a canvas tunnel – and not even magical bubbles or the presence of mommy in the tunnel is enough to coax her through! But we’ll crack that one eventually I’m sure.

All in all, so far so good, and now you’re all up to speed on Jessie vs. the Physio. Whew, my work here is done! :)

Jessica vs. Core Strength Jessica 19 JUL 2012

On Tuesday we took Jessica through to see a physiotherapist.

Chantelle has over the last little while been a bit worried about Jessica not making the transition through to walking. This is negatively impacting her life at the Baby Steps creche, as it is frustrating for little Jess not to join in with her peers, especially now that a lot of them have been upgraded to the slightly older children segment, leaving her behind with the smaller babies.

Having first contacted a clinical psychiatrist about the matter, Chantelle was instead referred to a physiotherapist, which made more sense as Jessica’s issue seems more physical than anything else. We met up with the lovely Stephanie Halford at the Et Al Therapy and Learning Centre in Somerset West, where Jessica took an immediate liking to all the simple tasks Stephanie set out for her, allowing Stephanie to observe and draw some much needed conclusions for us.

On the positive side, Jessica appears normal with no issues whatsoever in terms of her movements, body control and fine motor skills. What she is however lacking in is core strength, meaning that basically her trunk isn’t strong enough to give her good stability – all of which translates to the fact that Jessica only enjoys standing when she can hold on to something stable. This explains why she is not fond of walking whilst holding only one of our hands, as well as then obviously why she is unable to stand by herself, let alone actually walk.

Now that we know this, we know what to further investigate in terms of learning what sorts of exercises and games we need to play with Jess in order for her to strengthen her core muscles. (sorry my girl, but I foresee plenty of sit ups in your near future!)

We are also in the process of scheduling her in for a weekly physiotherapy session or two, which should speed up the strengthening process as well.

So yeah, good call by Chantelle and definitely money well spent. After all, knowing is half the battle! :)