Aziza's therapies included Feeding Therapy, ABA Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Speech and Language Therapy, Music Therapy and Behaviour Therapy. Aziza also spent a year attending a special needs preschool which gave her daily access to many therapies.
Early on, Aziza was very resistant to therapy. She did not understand what the expectations were and it took a while for her to realize that she would be rewarded for active participation (ie/access to a favorite toy). In the beginning Aziza's avoidance strategy was to lay her head down and put her thumb in her mouth and pretend that the therapist did not exist. I cannot even tell you how many therapy sessions and preschool mornings were spent like this early on.
Eventually as a team we all figured out what was going to work for Aziza and Aziza herself realized that therapy is set up to be somewhat fun. The resistance for the most part stopped (but not entirely ... the Princess did like to dictate how and when she would do something). In more recent days, Aziza would be so eager to "play" with her therapists that it was difficult to get her to stay in the waiting area - she prefered to just head back to find them herself.
Samantha is seen in these videos as well, working alongside Aziza's therapist and learning strategies from her. It was important to include Samantha occasionally so she could understand why I was working with Aziza in a very specific way at home (ie/ why I did not want Samantha doing things FOR Aziza all the time).
The therapist seen in much of this video (wearing a pink t-shirt) came to play a very unexpected role for our family as she participated in delivering one of the readings during Aziza's funeral. Looking back at this video, none of us would have expected this young woman to have to change roles overnight and be a part of laying my Sweet Aziza to rest instead of guiding her though one of her weekly sessions. In addition, Aziza's beloved music therapist played the piano accompaniment while Aziza's Kindergarten teacher sang during the funeral service on December 12th. These beautiful souls offered everything they had to Aziza, all the way up until the final good-bye. As I mentioned, Aziza received more than just therapy - she received a whole lot of love along with it. We were very fortunate.
Aziza in therapy, June 2011. If you cannot see the video please click HERE: