Monday, July 18, 2011

Support Group Provides Hope to Families

BRADENTON, Fla. -- "Mr. Don" urges two distracted children to dip fingers into the bowl of flour-and-water paste between them.
They are supposed to be gluing newspaper strips to a balloon held by an adult, but have trouble seeing the point of the task and seem ready to spring away from the table at any moment. So Don Boulanger, a pediatric occupational therapist, gently herds eight young minds and bodies through the challenge of sitting still and making something together.
"I like how you're sticking with it," he says.
For most children, a lesson in social skills starts with "please" and "thank you." But for the quiet, watchful 7-to-14-year-olds who attend this weekly class at Children's Therapy Associates in Bradenton, it is more about taking turns on an obstacle course, making eye contact when tossing a ball and not shrinking from the touch of papier-mache or another child's hand.

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