Jan 9-12, 2012.
Some background of Ruth based upon my observations of last year.
Ruth is without speech, no eye contact, can’t read. Her hand constantly fidgets when she is excited or sees a new thing, she moves around constantly, Ruth is always “on the go”, as if driven by a motor. Often leaves her seat in situations where sitting quietly is expected. She is hyperactive, inattentive, or impulsive.
With all the above symptoms, is Ruth an ADHD child? Well I don’t believe in labeling a child. Once you apply a “label” it will blind you to all that falls outside of the “label”. Reality is much more complex than a label can describe or contain.
This week I extend the time for Ruth to stay in the centre for further therapy. As happened before she refuses to eat the main meal. However to my surprise, when she is hungry she has less frustration today if compared to yesterday and last week. Today is Wednesday, I notice she will calmly try the variety of food on offer (banana chips, strawberry sandwich, apple). She also calmly engages with other kids to join in for a ball rolling exercise.
It is true, many parents tell me their child only eats a particular food. If they don’t give them what they want to eat, they won’t eat other food.
During outdoor play, I observe Ruth talking to a younger boy: “brother go to the tunnel”. In my centre I have designed and constructed a tunnel like a play house with three access entrances that link to a side window to see thru neighborhood houses. Along the walkway from the main entrance of the centre to the tunnel I have put in a pebble stone walkway with square steps. When walking on the pebble stones, I notice Ruth keeps looking behind her to ensure the little boy comes along to the tunnel. When reaching one of the entrances to the tunnel, she holds the little boy’s hand and they walk into the tunnel together. As a therapist, it shows me that Ruth is aware of what she is doing, has environmental awareness and can set herself a goal and take all steps necessary to reach it. With little caring acts like these, it tells me that Ruth is able to engage meaningfully with other kids: she is improving her social skills.