A Letter from a Trellis Parent

Trellis means home to me…

I remember the first day I came into visit the school, two months after Max was diagnosed with Autism. For the two months before walking through the Trellis doors, I felt lost and, honestly, sad every time I met with an ASD service provider. The approach was “we know best” and “your son has this laundry list of limitations” … as a result my expectations were low and actually misguided.

When I walked through the door of Trellis, children were laughing, teachers were smiling. It was a school not a “treatment center”. I was asked all about Max and said “he sounds great” and I felt proud of Max for the first time after his diagnosis. I will never forget that moment. I have never stopped feeling proud of Max since then.

Thank you. All of you. Thank you for ignoring behaviors, counting and manding, working patiently when Max’s sensory needs carry him away and make him unavailable for a while and even taking a right hook or two.

Today, Max is soaring – he is talking. Yes talking. At one point in time, that was not clear he would talk. You all did that. You pushed him. You coached me and you never, never, never gave up on us. Max’s behaviors are manageable. Before Trellis, Max had broken my nose, and more things at home than I care to remember. Now he says “no” when he is unhappy at home. If he has behaviors, I know the ABCs and can manage them along with the latest protocol that we are generalizing at home. You did that. You implemented the protocol. You coached me and you never, never, never gave up on us.

When you are the parent of a kid on the spectrum you feel like you are either fighting or apologizing with everyone in your child’s path. When Max started at Trellis, for the first time that feeling changed. Now I feel like I have a team of people in my corner. From the front desk, the program managers, Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologists and Instructors on our team.

At the end of the day, Trellis means home to us. Max is known and loved for his whole self. You accept him for who he is and at the same time push him to reach his potential. Thank you for teaching my son with love and respect. You will never know what you mean to Max and me. He and all of the children you serve will reach their potential thanks to you.

– Audra Jones

April is also Occupational Therapy month and it’s not over yet!

Spring is upon us! A time of year when kids are excited to get outside and play. However for some kids, playing outside is difficult and it shouldn’t be. If your child has difficulty with any of the following activities, he or she may benefit from occupational therapy services to make these activities FUN again!

Does your child have difficulty with any of the following activities?

  • Riding a bike or tricycle?
  • Pumping a swing?
  • Sitting on a swing without falling off?
  • Riding a scooter?
  • Propelling riding toys?
  • Playing on playground equipment?
  • Catching?
  • Throwing?
  • Running?
  • Jumping?
  • Skipping?
  • Sitting in the grass because he/she doesn’t like the way it feels on his/her legs?
  • Having sunscreen applied because he/she doesn’t like the way it feels?

Or does he or she have trouble with getting ready to go outside and play?

  • Getting dressed?
  • Putting shoes on?
  • Putting socks on?
  • Tying shoes?
  • Attaching Velcro on shoes?
  • Brushing teeth?
  • Combing hair?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, your child may benefit from an occupational therapy evaluation.

A child with delayed development may not demonstrate skills that are typical of the child’s age. He or she may have difficulty achieving increased independence and ease with feeding, dressing (such as putting a shirt on or tolerating the feeling of pants against their legs), gross motor activities (such as playing on a playground, catching, and jumping), fine motor activities (such as managing zippers, and buttons), visual motor activities (such as completing puzzles, copying from the board), and developing problem-solving and coping strategies.

Occupational therapists who work with children are knowledgeable about all stages of development and the appropriate milestones in a child’s physical, cognitive, and behavioral development.

What can an occupational therapist do?

Evaluate the child’s level of performance in critical developmental areas

Observe the child clinically and determine how to utilize therapeutic activities in order to facilitate development,  skill acquisition and generalization

  • Develop a plan of treatment independently or in coordination with other health care professionals who are treating the child
  •  Recommend adaptive equipment to facilitate the development of age-appropriate skills

What can parents and families do?

  • Stay educated about and involved in the child’s treatment plan.\
  • Follow up with the treating occupational therapist and health professionals to encourage further development and track progress.

– See more at The American Occupational Therapy Association Inc.

In Maryland, habilitation services like occupational therapy are covered by the autism mandate. Habilitative services are therapeutic services that are provided to children with a genetic or congenital condition to enhance the child’s ability to function. Habilitative Services include, but are not limited to, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Behavioral Health treatment, including Applied Behavioral Analysis (effective March 17, 2014).  Visit Pathfinders for Autism for more information and additional resources.

If you have questions about the clinical services offered at Trellis, contact Caitlin Sprouse, MS, OTR/L, Clinical Services Coordinator for more information.