Dr. Joshua is in the House
Only nine months ago, a spirited little kindergartner named Joshua Turner couldn’t draw. “All we got were big scribbles,” says his mother, Nikki Turner. And scribbles might not be such a terrible thing for a young boy, but when he has been diagnosed with autism, it can be worrisome to a parent. Would he ever learn to write? Would all fine motor skills be problematic for him?
But all of those worries disappeared just two weeks ago when Nikki came downstairs for breakfast to see a drawing taped to the refrigerator door: it was Joshua dressed as a doctor, complete with stethoscope around his neck, standing in front of a table full of instruments. He stood next to the drawing and said to his mom, “Dr. Joshua is in the house!”
Through a combination of weekly occupational therapy sessions at The Hearing and Speech Agency and other types of therapy at home, Joshua has been progressing steadily. “By experimenting with new gross motor equipment and practicing the steps needed for executing more complex obstacle courses,” explains occupational therapist Galya Elbaum, “Joshua has greatly improved his gross and fine motor skills.”
“Occupational therapy at HASA has given Joshua opportunities to reach his full potential,” explains Nikki. “I never imagined he would be able to draw.” The picture-on-the-fridge moment clearly brought both Nikki and her son an enormous amount of joy. She goes on to explain that Galya makes each activity so entertaining to Joshua, that he doesn’t even know he is working. “She’s prepared him well for kindergarten—just sitting for long stretches at a table is easier for Joshua now.”
Joshua currently attends kindergarten at a local public school where he spends the bulk of his day in a typical classroom under the guidance of a helper. “By the end of the year,” says Nikki, “we hope he can go to first grade in a completely mainstream setting.”
For information about HASA’s occupational therapy programs for children, call 410-318-6780 or visit us at www.hasa.org.