Schreiber Pediatric Center - 'Amazing little guy' learning to play with friends

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February 22, 2017

'Amazing little guy' learning to play with friends

Posted by Dan  Permalink 

LJ Hamer, a 5-year-old Schreiber kiddo, chatted noisily next to his grandmother as they waited for a speech therapy session to begin. Sometimes his speech slipped into hard-to-understand phrases or didn't-make-sense chatter, but the smile never left his face.

LJ Hamer, 5, is learning how to focus on tasks on play with friends during his therapy sessions at Schreiber.

LJ has a number of diagnoses, including sensory processing disorder, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and echolalia (a way of learning language characterized by repeating what another person just said). He receives speech and occupational therapy services.

Beginning in infancy, LJ's guardians noticed many delays in his development, and he was referred to Schreiber by a local psychologist. He began his time at Schreiber in OT about a year and a half ago. LJ recently began receiving speech therapy with Jeremy Ewell, who is helping LJ learn social cues and improve his focus. Jeremy noticed LJ's difficulty in concentrating and staying on task and developed strategies to improve his level of focus.

By frequently switching tasks and using a visual calendar, LJ is able to better process what his end goals are, giving him more incentive to remain focused. This is just one example of the many tactics Jeremy uses to build LJ's cognitive progression. But it doesn't seem like work to LJ, Kathy said. He starts every Wednesday saying: "Today is my day to see Mr. Jeremy!"

In spite of his challenges, Kathy Steibnaecher, his grandmother, describes LJ as a happy, music-loving 5-year old.

"He loves Mickey Mouse, Captain America, Winnie the Pooh, swimming and trucks," Kathy said. "He's always quick to tell us he loves us, say thank you, and share... He's an amazing little guy!"

In his time at Schreiber, Kathy has noticed significant improvements with LJ. Even though he still struggles to interact with other children, LJ is now able to play alongside them. Parallel play with others is a large stepping stone for LJ for the end goal of socialization, Jeremy said. Kathy has also noticed the progress LJ has made with his focus.

LJ's type of autism allows him to understand and follow directions, and he is capable of other kinds of communication, placing him socially ahead of many kids with autism.

"He has a lot going for him," Jeremy said.

Jeremy's work with LJ is a good illustration of how our therapists team up with parents and guardians to give families the tools that allows kids to practice at home the skills they learn at Schreiber.

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At Schreiber, our average reimbursement rate is 42 percent. That means for every $100 in charges we submit to insurance companies, we receive, on average, $42 in payment. Please support our work so that we can continue to provide services to LJ and the thousands of other children we see each year. Just visit our Giving page here, and make your donation today.

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