Parent Testimonial

John has a unique and very effective style in working with children. He treats them as equals, listening and responding to everything they say. This immediately increases their trust in him, and develops their self-confidence, an integral part of occupational therapy. Most kids come to John being at least somewhat aware that they aren't as skilled as their peers, causing anxiety and self-doubt. John boosts the patient's self-confidence in every step of his therapy.

He begins with comprehensive testing, and develops a plan for therapy based on that. All along the journey, he listens carefully to the patient and parents,  questioning and identifying other issues that may not have initially been identified. For instance, we initially approached John for help with handwriting, but gradually became aware of several sensory problems. As John targeted each area, not only did our child's handwriting improve, but so many other less-obvious impediments have been removed; in less than 10 months his quality of life has dramatically improved. He is no longer the odd-ball out, he's just a typical boy like all his friends.

The therapy office quickly becomes a "safe zone" for the children, where they know they'll be accepted regardless of their words or actions. Positive reinforcement and praise is frequent, and correction and redirection given without the child being aware s/he is being redirected. It's a safe place to learn new skills without fear of being criticized by adults or peers. Therapy is always fun and something the child looks forward to.

John has two phrases he uses frequently in the office. The first is, "Now go the extra mile." He asks a child to do an activity 9 times, they do it. "Now go the extra mile," he suggests. At first, the child may roll his eyes and do it, because it was a request. As this becomes a pattern in office visits, the child begins to anticipate it, and when John asks them to do 12 exercises, they'll do 13 or 14 and be sure to tell him about it. This is a subtle but very effective method for not only boosting his/her self-confidence, but changing the child's attitude towards all aspects of life. Just because s/he has to do a certain number doesn't mean that's all that should be done: Go the extra mile.

Another favorite quote of John's is, "Take it to the next level." Typically he uses this phrase to indicate a change in activities, but to the child's ears, this means the child has successfully completed that activity and is ready for something more difficult. Sometimes John does increase the difficulty of the current activity, sometimes he changes the activity entirely. Regardless of the situation, it always encourages the child.

The last aspect I've found fascinating and effective in his therapy practice is the way he always allows the child to set the pace. Every activity is geared to developing skills. Instead of defining a plan to spend 10 minutes on each activity, John starts with the first and waits for the child's behavior to determine when that activity finished. If the child is enjoying it, he lets the child continue until s/he runs out of steam before "taking it to the next level". If the child is resisting it, he asks the child to do a defined minimum amount of effort, then lets the child move on. Each time the child is faced with the undesirable activity, s/he knows that it's only for a short time and tolerates it. Through John's encouragement and praise, (and nearly every time turning it into a game,) the child improves and the activity becomes less undesirable. This is repeated frequently until the child is begging to do the activity.

We have witnessed all of this in his interactions with our own family. While our son didn't have as severe issues as many of John's patients do, the development of his strength and skills, the boost to his self-esteem, and the overall improvement in his quality of life has helped in so many ways. I wish all kids had the opportunity to connect at Murray Therapy.

- Cindy Reeves
parent of a Murray Therapy patient