Even though we’ve had our fill of driving these past few days, we loaded up the car once again and made the hour long drive to Baltimore for Caleb’s physical therapy evaluation at Kennedy Krieger. He’s already had an evaluation through our county’s Early Intervention program and he currently receives PT once a week in our home. This evaluation was to see where Caleb is at right now in regards to meeting his developmental milestones and to see if he’d benefit from additional therapy.
It was great to have an evaluation performed by the experts at KKI. Our therapist was so upbeat, cheerful and very quick to compliment Caleb on his various “tricks.” She had a series of standardized tests where she noted which tasks Caleb could and couldn’t perform. It was crazy to see her fill out the paperwork so quickly after only observing Caleb for a brief period of time. She’ll write up a summary of exactly where he is developmentally as compared to a typically developing 13-month-old (even though they are almost 15 months old, their age is adjusted due to prematurity).
To say Caleb was in a good mood would be an understatement. It was like the stars aligned for this appointment since he had taken a nice nap on the drive, drank some milk upon waking and had a fresh diaper before his appointment started. Life was good in Caleb’s world. The therapist had a student with her, who was completing her rotations. I’ve noticed that since KKI is a part of Johns Hopkins University, there’s usually students shadowing the staff during our visits.
The ladies watched Caleb play and were generally cooing over him since he was particularly flirty. They were really impressed with Caleb’s ability to sit for long periods of time, to correct his posture when he’s off-balance and to reach really far in every direction to grab toys. He still has good flexibility thanks to our twice daily stretching routine at home. It’s so important that we continue with the stretches because when kids grow, their bones grow faster than their muscles which will cause discomfort (growing pains). For kids with CP, their already tight muscles become even tighter. Our hope is to preserve the flexibility Caleb has now so it won’t go away when he grows.
When Caleb is on hands and knees he’s now able to use his arms to push himself backward to return to sitting position. We’ve been working on this transition for weeks and weeks, so I was very excited the first time I saw him do it. We’ve also been working on transitioning from sitting to standing. With assistance, he’s able to push himself into a standing position, but his legs are very stiff. It’s like he’s standing on planks of wood. He’s never bent his knees or attempted to move his feet at all. Well, yesterday, the therapist was having Caleb stand and she would lean him all the way to one side, so all his weight was on one foot. I couldn’t believe it when he bent his non-supportive leg, lifted his foot and put it down in the same spot. A step! His first step! We’re going to continue to practice that exercise so Caleb can get used to bending his knees and shifting his weight. Pretty exciting stuff!
We haven’t received the final report from the therapist yet, but she felt like Caleb would benefit from an additional weekly therapy session…. in Baltimore. Yikes. Shane already works from home once every two weeks when I’m working days, so it’d be hard for him to also go up to Baltimore. We decided that we’ll try to schedule the sessions for every other week and I’ll take Caleb up in the mornings when I only have to be at work in the afternoons. We’ll see how it goes, but for now, we’re on a waiting list to be assigned to a therapist. I was really impressed with the staff and facilities so it’ll be worth the hassle of driving an hour each way. I was really encouraged by this appointment and so proud of Caleb for working so hard for well over an hour! He’s such an awesome dude.