It’s been a while since I wrote about how Caleb’s various therapies are progressing. Our current schedule is physical therapy (PT) at home 1x/week, PT at Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore 2x/month and occupational therapy 2x/month. We’ve also had two speech therapy sessions and will continue to have them as needed on a monthly basis.
Physical therapy is going really well overall. There are certain areas where Caleb shows much improvement and other areas that the progress is just slower. As far as milestones go, Caleb has checked another one off the list. He can now crawl up the stairs on all fours which makes it easier for him to get around our house. We’re working on trying to get him to stand independently which is still quite difficult for him. If he stands against the back of the couch we can distract him with a toy so he doesn’t really know that he’s standing on his own. If he starts to fall over, he doesn’t have the ability to move his feet to catch himself… it’s just like watching a tree fall…. TIMBER! Obviously we’re always right there with him and we’ll catch him, which turns into quite the fun game. Pretty soon he’s falling over on purpose so we catch him.
We’ve been working on taking side-to-side steps for months now and have seen really little progress on that front… until this week. Caleb took maybe 4-5 independent steps from side to side while holding onto a piece of furniture. I remember when Wyatt started pulling himself to a stand, and then cruising along the furniture. Pretty soon he was standing independently and then finally walking. Taking side steps is so difficult due to Caleb’s tone; his natural inclination is to keep his legs together (we’ll sometimes have to pry them apart to change his diaper) so the act of stepping to the side is highly unnatural to him.
Caleb uses a toy walker to practice taking steps and getting from one place to another. He does best when he’s “chasing” after someone, usually his beloved Wyatt. For the most part his technique is really good but we do battle with “scissoring” which is when his legs cross in front of one another because of his (above mentioned) high tone. He has made such an improvement in the last few months. He can walk farther distances and for longer periods of time before getting tired.
We tried using an actual pediatric walker this week at therapy in Baltimore, but he wasn’t really having a good session, so it was a flop. We’ll keep trying, though! His therapy at Kennedy Krieger is different in that I sit back (sometimes even in the lobby) and just let the therapists do their thing. The therapy we receive in our home is “family-based” meaning we’re taught the techniques used to work on our goals. I feel much more involved during our therapy sessions at home, but I do appreciate the chance to kick back and just watch during our other sessions.
Luckily, Caleb is tolerant of his hip wedge pillow that he needs to wear at night. But I’ll be honest, he lets us put it on and then we put him to bed and close the door. It’s unknown how many minutes (or maybe seconds) he stays in it until he’s able to Houdini his way out. All we know is when we see him in the morning (or the occasional nighttime wake up) his pillow is not even close to being on. The last time we visited our developmental pediatrician, he suggested giving Caleb Valium so he would be more ‘relaxed’ and tolerate his pillow when it was time to put it on. We never filled the prescription. The issue was letting us get the stupid thing on in the first place and now that we’re able to do that, we don’t see the need to medicate him. Caleb will have follow-up X-rays next month, so fingers crossed the (few minutes Caleb actually wears the) pillow is helping his hip dysplasia.
Occupational therapy is going well. I feel like it’s less clear what our goals are, so every other week we’ll work on new things and since the therapy is less physical, Caleb is able to tolerate it a little better. He sees it as just regular playing with the therapist. We play with his small treasures that are pushed into and plucked out of his jar that I made, we encourage him to use silverware to eat and suggest he use his right hand more since he seems to have a bit more trouble with it. This week’s plan is to get him to stack blocks rather than knock them down. His natural inclination is to discard items by throwing them or simply letting them go so we have to teach him how to purposefully set them down in a specific spot. I find it harder to see the effects of occupational therapy because I’ve gotten so used to Caleb’s mannerisms, I don’t feel like his fine motor issues are as obvious.
I’ll tell you one thing I do know… Caleb is talking so much more! He’s babbling more and saying new things. Maxwell House got it wrong…. the best part of waking up is hearing your two boys talk to each other in the monitor. They certainly know what they’re trying to say to each other, but I’m totally clueless. Sounds like “Elmo! Mama! Mima! Pooh! Cars? DA DA DA! Elmo! Oatmeal?” Surely it’s a secret code describing their plot to simultaneously dirty (numero dos) their diapers mere minutes after being changed into fresh ones… that’s right, just this morning, 4 diapers within 10 minutes. I was thinking, What is this? Newborn throwback Friday? Anyways, Caleb is talking more and I think it’s thanks to the speech therapy tips that we’ve been following.
All in all, things are progressing well. I can’t believe we’re coming up on our one year anniversary of Caleb’s diagnosis. I’m happy with the amount and quality of therapy he’s receiving and I’m so optimistic that Mr. C will be walking before we know it!