“It’s hard when you know your child isn’t going to have things happen as easily for them as it does for other kids,” Ethan Cramer says. He is talking about his seven year old son, Elias, who was diagnosed with dyslexia earlier this year.
It was the middle of first grade when Elias, his teachers and parents were concerned about Elias’ reading. An intelligent child, Elias was struggling with reading and writing. Ethan and his wife brought Elias to Theraplay’s West Chester center where he was evaluated by Center Manager Lori Glancey, who recommended Elias start coming to therapy twice a week to treat what turned out to be dyslexia.
Theraplay’s staff focuses on pediatric therapy in a fun environment; therapists incorporate items like swings, scooters, silly putty, shaving cream and toys into everything they do. You would think this would pose a problem when working on something like reading and writing, right?
Wrong. Elias’s therapists use scooters for memory games, a variety of activities to improve his visual motor and perception skills, the trampoline and therapy swing to encourage and reward his hard work during sessions. And his hard work really does deserve to be rewarded; since starting at Theraplay, Elias has made a lot of progress. For example, when copying something onto a piece of paper, Elias used to make one stroke at a time. Now he is able to copy five words at a time. He comes home from school or therapy and reads to his parents. By incorporating fun into his sessions, his therapists are helping Elias overcome his dyslexia.
Elias, who is now in second grade, says that reading and writing are still hard, and still not his favorite thing to do (which can be said for many second graders). However, he is able to complete the same tasks as his peers much more easily than he has in the past.
Mr. Cramer credits Theraplay, Inc. with a lot of that. Elias gets reading support in school and has had tutors over the summer along with sessions at Theraplay. Elias, and children like him, need the continual support they receive at Theraplay. And Elias’s favorite part? “Doing fun things!”
“It’s been really rewarding working with Elias,” says Melissa Szakel, one of the occupational therapists who works with Elias. “Elias is super motivated, and his family is so supportive. They are always looking at the positive. And Elias works so hard. He always goes that extra mile.”
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