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One of Emi’s goals he worked on in his occupational therapy sessions was to learn how to use a knife and fork. Here is a picture of him practicing his new skills at home. He practices cutting his food with a knife and fork every night and really enjoys it! Well done Emi! And well done Emi’s parents for helping him to continue to develop his skills at home.

Nathan and Holly worked with one of our therapists at our Growing Hope King’s Cross Clinic to learn how to play generously with one another. • 👷 During Lego therapy, Nathan and Holly took on different roles like engineer, supplier and builder and worked together to complete different projects. The siblings developed their listening, turn-taking and problem solving skills. Since leaving our clinic, they have continued to play together positively and generously at home.

Zack loves bouncing on a yoga ball in his physiotherapy sessions. This helps strengthen his stomach muscles so that he can maintain his crawling position. Zack can now hold this position without any help while we sing songs and rhymes!

We’re bouncing through the day with Ali and working on strengthening our tummy muscles. Trampolining is a movement activity that motivates Ali and helps him concentrate on tasks.

Phoenix is three years old and was referred to Growing Hope King’s Cross because of his difficulties with attention and concentration. Phoenix loves to move around and this was having an impact on his ability to participate in everyday tasks such as eating, circle time at nursery and following instructions when he was out. On assessment, Phoenix was also found to have some delay in the development of his fine motor skills, particularly with regards to starting mark making (a prerequisite to writing). The goals we set were to be able to sit and participate in an activity for 5 minutes, to imitate a vertical line, horizontal line and circle, and to receive sensory input at least three times a day. Phoenix attended a six-week block of occupational therapy with his mum. Phoenix’s parents took on board the therapist’s advice and practised activities with Phoenix outside sessions. In sessions we enabled Phoenix to participate in movement activities (which are regulating and aid attention), interchanged with table-top activities. Phoenix particularly enjoyed using the swing and playing with theraputty, which is resistive and helps develop hand strength. Phoenix was able to achieve the expected level of performance at the end of his intervention. He also achieved much more than expected with his writing skills. Phoenix was able to make improvements in three aspects of his everyday life that have had a significantly positive impact on his participation and wellbeing. He is now able to participate in meals, table-top activities and circle times, and is on track with his pre-writing skills and his ability falls in line with his peers.

“Thank you very much for all your help with Frankie last year. We went for his communications assessment yesterday and they have given him an Autism diagnosis. I just wanted to reach out and thank you for all the work you did with Frankie, as I believe with your help he has continued to grow and develop. The tools you taught both Frankie and I on how to help him has meant that his behaviour has improved dramatically. I’m now able to understand and deal with his outbursts without him getting too upset and completely shutting down. I think the work you do is amazing.”

Maya is a six year old who carried such joy and was a delight at every encounter. Maya was referred to the Growing Hope Brockley Clinic by her great aunt due to difficulties with everyday activities such as using a knife and fork, doing up buttons, tying shoelaces, handwriting, and washing. Following occupational therapy assessment three goals were chosen: • To independently tie her school shoelaces by the end of the therapy block. • To hold her pencil with just enough pressure to write or colour effectively by the end of the therapy block. • To maintain an upright sitting posture for a 10 minute writing task without verbal prompts by the end of the therapy block. Maya was the first child to complete a block of six sessions at the Growing Hope Brockley Clinic. Her great aunt continued practising the strategies at home on a daily basis which resulted in her achieving all of her goals. By the end of the block Maya was more confident and would attempt tasks rather than her immediate response of ‘I can’t’. “The sessions Maya had were a massive help to us both, she has gained so much more confidence and now able to support herself a lot more thank you.” – Maya’s Great Aunt

Jen is a single parent of a child who is non-verbal and has autism. He needs a lot of help with every day activities. When lockdown started she kept him at home so that they could stay safe. Although this was the right decision, it was really hard for Jen having to care for her son 24/7 without any support. Even though it was hard, Jen stuck with it and supported her child to access virtual therapy sessions with Growing Hope where he learnt to eat with a spoon by himself. During these sessions we were able to pray with Jen and give her further therapy strategies that might be helpful. As lockdown started to lift, Jen decided that it would be best for both her and her child for him to access some school. This would give Jen some much needed respite and her child the opportunity to have the playground space and input from school. This became difficult when the school did not know how to best support the child to transition back to being there. In order to help, the occupational therapist at Growing Hope wrote a letter to the school with strategies and guidance as to how best to support the child with his transition. He’s now back in school and Jen has some moments of break from her role as carer where she can look after herself so that she can continue to do a brilliant job.

Ted is a delightful 3 year old boy who sings to indicate his wants and has an infectious giggle. Ted came to the clinic after his mother completed a referral to improve his fine motor skills and upper limb function. However, through further discussion it was agreed Ted’s limited range of what he would eat, was more of a priority, and feeding sessions would be the best use of time. A goal was set for Ted to trial three new foods by the end of the six sessions. Ted is yet to complete all of his sessions but has already made great gains, eating a carrot, trying a piece of cake and generally showing more interest in food. Ted’s parents have taken on board the advice, and put strategies in place during their meals at home. Ted’s mother has referred to the clinic room as being “magic”, where Ted spontaneously does things he had never done. She also acknowledged changes he has made at home, such as Ted will now feeding his parents and showing interest in them eating. Although gains with feeding difficulties are small, it is important to remember that there are 32 steps to actually eating food and Ted’s mother is incredible at acknowledging the small steps Ted is progressing in. “We have been so so happy with the advice and support you have provided us. We came to you with a very specific area of need, you were able to take a step back and look at Ted’s full picture – and are now supporting us with something I didn’t even know we could get help with. What I mean is that as a parent I didn’t even know I could ask for help with Ted’s fear of new foods, which has a huge impact on his everyday life – but you really listened to what I said, and drew the issues out. Since then we both really look forward to coming to our sessions, and the recommendations you have made are so practical and enabling. I feel like we can use your advice every day, and it is helping us all as a family to work through different situations. The approach you take is so kind and so responsive to Ted’s needs. Each time we leave with your advice and your prayers, and I really like both. Thank you for all of your time and advice.” -Ted’s Mum

‘Reggie really enjoyed his sessions and has learned so much – it was amazing to watch and learn with him.’ Through occupational therapy Reggie learned how to do up small buttons, place his writing on the line and use strategies to help him concentrate.

Bea attended clinic with her mum Sherry. Accessing Growing Hope King’s Cross came at just the right time for Bea. Sherry had experienced a frustrating few years waiting for an official autism diagnosis and waiting for therapy support; she was relieved when the family was able to receive help through Growing Hope. Through occupational therapy intervention Bea was able to improve her attention and self-regulation, the speed of her dressing and her ability to sleep through the night. Bea has now been seen by a wider health professional team and has received an autism diagnosis. This has been really helpful for both Sherry and Bea: Bea now feels able to talk about autism in order to explain to her peers why she can find some things difficult.

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