September 2015 saw the opening of an Early Intervention Program at LIH Olivia’s Place Shanghai. The program is aimed at pre-school children with additional needs. The children attend class five mornings a week and are developing their classroom readiness skills. Amongst other things they learn to listen and respond, share, take turns, and problem solve. Our team of LIH Olivia’s Place therapists supports the program and the children participate in group therapy for an hour each morning.
As I’m riding the elevator up to my classroom, my tummy feels funny. Maybe I’d rather just stay at home today? But as soon as the doors open on the 19th Floor I see Olivia’s Place and a smile plasters across my face: I’m at school!
I quickly change shoes, say goodbye to my family and run in to see my teacher and friends. What are we going to do today?
My teacher has laid out fun activities for us on the table, and so I start there. She says these activities are to help me practice the skills I’m learning in my therapies, but in any case they’re super fun. Then I move on to the puzzle shelf- some of the puzzles are a bit tricky for me still but I have my favorites. There are other games, books, and role-play activities, and I decide to try on some dress-up clothes.
At 9 o’clock we sit down on the mat for our Morning Circle time. We sing Hello, read a book, and look at our visual schedule for the day. I like sticking my activities choices to the Velcro board… and I love it even more being able to say “All Done” when we’re finished! After reading a book and joining in for a song we’re ready for snack (Yum!), and then it’s our group therapy session. It’s really fun to do my therapy with my friends, and we learn from and encourage each other. We do physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy several times throughout the week. It just seems like playing to me, but the grown-ups say I’m learning so many new skills!
Gosh I’m tired after therapy. We have some quiet reading time and sometimes a bit of a swing to calm down. Then it’s back to work: I’m learning to work independently, and I’m so proud of myself!
Now it’s lunch time and I help to set the table. I love showing my friends how I can eat by myself: I’m a big kid now after all! Sometimes I spill a bit of food and it gets a bit messy, but my teachers don’t mind, they say its all part of learning.
After lunch it’s time to go home, and I greet my parents with a tired but happy smile. The door of our room says ‘Early Intervention Program’: those are big words, but I think it means ‘Big Kid School’… I’m so proud of myself!