Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bowy House kids blessed by Occupational Therapist

We are delighted to introduce Eleen van der Merwe to you! Eleen is a licensed Occupational Therapist through whom we have been blessed to be able to provide individual, specialized therapy for our kids. In the picture to the right, Eleen is helping one of our children who we were told might never ever walk. Eleen is convinced that he will! She is skilled at positioning a child to play in such a way that the child's inner motivation urges him or her to move. This helps to normalize abnormal muscle tone, build up coordination and control, and strengthen through repetition. Even simple things like allowing a child to feed themselves (as pictured above) will help to develop some of the skills that can later be built upon for more challenging skill learning like crawling and walking. Eleen has designed an individual plan for each one of our children, and her efforts have paid off in a big way. Many of our children who could not crawl are now crawling and pulling themselves up on furniture! Look out world...they will be walking soon!
Eleen also coordinates group activities for small groups of our children. Through activities, such as finger painting (pictured to the left) we aim to develop our children's social interaction and behavioral skills with the other children in our care. These activities also stimulate development that will prepare them for pre-school activities which will positively influence school readiness later on.
Lastly, Eleen also provides training to our staff. Pictured right are our House Mother and a caregiver, who are being given a demonstration using dolls. This training is so very valuable, because the children can be stimulated throughout the day, and not just when our OT comes for her scheduled time with them. This additional stimulation reinforces the work that Eleen has already done with the children, and makes the job more pleasurable for our staff while passing on valuable skills that they can use now and later. What a thrill and blessing to be able to report such wonderful progress! We appreciate you, Eleen!