From Meltdowns To Purposeful Play: Mario Thrives With Therapy

321 Kids Go Mario playing with

Mario faced developmental challenges during infancy, such as delayed crawling, walking, and talking. His family sought their pediatrician’s advice, which was therapy at 321go Kids. Mario’s father, Eli, quickly enrolled his son in 321go Kids at age two. Mario is currently four years old.

Before starting speech and occupational therapy, Mario didn’t talk and primarily produced noises to communicate. He exhibited hyperactivity, had meltdowns, and didn’t engage in purposeful play.

“We struggled to find a daycare for Mario,” Eli shared. “We had to jump from daycare to daycare because no one could handle his meltdowns.”

Typically, infants develop an understanding of object relationships and engage in purposeful play. However, Mario didn’t have intention behind his actions. Instead, he sought visual and physical stimulation by constantly moving, running, and vocalizing loudly.

Patrick, Mario’s occupational therapist, began therapy sessions to enhance Mario’s functional abilities. Patrick and Mario aimed for fine visual motor milestones, such as stacking blocks and purposeful play with toys to improve Mario’s hand-eye coordination. Additionally, Patrick utilized obstacle courses to address Mario’s movement challenges and hyperactivity.

During therapy sessions, Mario began to tolerate others playing around him. Patrick engaged Mario in turn-taking play, providing support and repetition through meltdowns, and this approach nearly eliminated Mario’s meltdowns. Speech therapy also played a vital role in helping Mario. Mario’s family notices he can interact with others, smile, and maintain eye contact.

“The biggest accomplishment I saw in Mario is that he started learning how to play, instead of just grabbing toys and throwing them because he didn’t know what else to do with them,” noted Patrick, “And the more we played, the more I started seeing his personality emerge.”

Eli reports significant improvements in Mario’s behavior at home, including better sleep and communication. Mario no longer kicks, yells, and screams. One-on-one therapy and consistent support have been crucial in Mario’s progress. Through combined occupational and speech therapy, Mario can generate and communicate his own play ideas.

“He’s doing better and better at pronouncing and improving overall. He has responded well and looks forward to therapy. It’s a safe environment for him, and he gets a lot of joy out of it. It’s been a great fit for him to get continual one-on-one help,” Eli expressed.

Through ongoing therapy at 321go Kids, Mario is actively developing essential skills, such as drawing, to refine his hand-eye coordination and gross motor movements. Additionally, he is learning to control the intensity of his movements, preparing him for a school environment.

Patrick commented, “It’s been really fun to watch him bloom. He is such a different kid than when I first started working with him.”

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