As the least experienced therapist on our Impact Team, I used my own curiosity to learn as much as I could from Ashley about similar complex and medically fragile patients she had worked with in the past. Together, we were able to draw plans for a specialized seating system for the child that would support her in a school-sized chair. With Ashley’s help, I refined the design, spent a LOT of time at the Home Depot, and created a very special prototype chair. The first time we trialed it with her, she participated 6 times longer than without the chair! Previously, she had only been able to sit upright while engaging in therapy tasks for 2 minutes demonstrating fatigue! The student has demonstrated such pure and obvious joy with her increased participation, and this has been such a big reward for all of us.
In the realm of communication, Ashley used her expertise, curiosity, respect, and cultural humility to determine a consistent means of communication while respecting the parent’s wishes (non electronic technology was preferred). Ashley developed a communication book for the student that she is now working on using daily. Using this tool, she has been able to request items for therapy and in class, and communicate when she needs a break, or when she needs to use the washroom.
Ashley and I have worked closely with Lee Butler to ensure that the student is supported in all aspects of her special education. Lee has created interventions to support the student in the classroom, and is constantly ensuring that she has access to all facilities and materials that are appropriate for her learning and developmental level. Together as a team, we have created interventions that support the student’s IEP goals, and probed for data in a dynamic and creative way. It took the skill, quick thinking, and hard work of three highly skilled adults to probe the student for alphabet letter recognition!
This student has made me realize and appreciate how returning to the foundation of my knowledge, adapting the environment, and collaborating across disciplines are essential to student success and outcomes. Impact PSE has supported us by providing the time and space to work with this student, listening when we made recommendations about seating and communication and equitable access to all facilities. While curiosity began this adventure, it has definitely brought each of us profound joy as we see growth and success each day.