An 8 year old girl with Downs Syndrome was referred for occupational therapy by her mother. The parent’s goal was to see their daughter reach her learning potential and for her to be able to transition into a supportive educational setting. The girl presented with delays in cognitive development, motor skills (fine and gross motor), communication, social skills, play skills and handwriting.
The occupational therapist used a holistic approach to achieve positive outcomes for this client, including:
– School readiness skills: the child developed her handwriting skills, starting with consolidating letter/number formations, writing words and copying sentences, progressing to sequencing and copying her own sentences through sight words.
– Developmental play/visualisation skills: These skills were supported using the DIR Floortime model to work on shared attention, following the lead of others and generating play ideas. The girl’s ability to draw objects and people also developed as visualisation and copying skills improved.
– Independence: This grew as she became more aware of her world, and her ability to sustain shared attention, follow sequences in tasks and self-organisation (e.g. belongings and organising the environment for play).
– Sensory Processing/Learning Profile: The girl’s sensory processing preferences guided the therapist to develop a multisensory learning profile and to support her presentation of information.
– Task Analysis: The occupational therapist also provided support as needed to break down tasks from school so that the girl could achieve them.
The girl’s progress during therapy had positive impacts on the development of her play, self-care and academic progress. Due to nature of Down Sydrome, this client had therapy over many years. The occupational therapist thoroughly enjoyed supporting the girl and her family to achieve shared goals.