Big Day for Mr. C

Yesterday, Shane and I took Caleb up to Baltimore for his bi-weekly physical therapy appointment at Kennedy Krieger. This was the first time that Shane was able to come along and meet our physical therapist. He got a look into our routine and got to meet some of the staff that I have come to know from seeing regularly. We’ve been working hard on getting Caleb to walk independently and we’re still hopeful that he’ll continue to get better and someday walk on his own without any assistive devices. But, for the time being, Caleb needs a walker. We’ve been practicing with toy walkers and then we collectively made a decision to order a real walker that would better suit his needs. That order was placed a couple months ago and yesterday we were able to take it home. It’s kind of bittersweet, having this new addition to our family but the independence it gives Caleb far outweighs the additional attention it garners.

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Watching Caleb walk across the therapy room to his favorite Elmo tool bench was definitely a proud moment. We’ve seen him walk dozens of times with his borrowed walker while we waited for his to arrive, but this was different. These were his first steps with this new piece of equipment that will be by his side for at least a year, probably more. The wheels moved quickly on the smooth surface, much faster than on our carpet at home and Caleb’s lower body had a difficult time keeping up with his upper body but soon enough he was getting the hang of it.

We then got Caleb to walk down a long hallway and he did fantastic. He can really cover a lot of distance in a short amount of time. Of course, he gets very tired and once he’s decided he’s finished, there’s no trying to get him to take additional steps. He was really worn out after this session, but wouldn’t you know it… we gave him the opportunity to use his walker in the lobby of the building and that little boy walked all the way to the elevator and half way to the car in the parking garage before calling it quits. I think he’s starting to understand that this walker is his key to independence and getting from point A to B without being carried or crawling.

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The other great part of the appointment was that Caleb was able to be fitted for his new AFOs (short for Ankle Foot Orthotics). These leg braces prevent Caleb’s toes from pointing which is a result of his high muscle tone. He’s better able to stand and walk with nice flat feet so these orthotics are important. Until now, Caleb has been using an off the shelf version designed for younger kids. Only a simple measurement was used to determine his size, but he’s quickly outgrown them. His next pair will be completely custom and built using the casting they took of Caleb’s feet. The material is the same material used in a cast when you break a bone. A wet, gauzy cloth was wrapped around Caleb’s foot and as it dried it hardened, creating a mold. The cast was cut off and will be used to make Caleb’s new AFOs. We chose a fish design on the clear plastic part so they don’t look so plain. It’s my understanding that the plastic will be harder and the AFOs themselves will be heavier, so I’m hoping Caleb doesn’t have any difficulty adjusting to this new set.

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So needless to say, it was an awesome appointment. I posted a video of Caleb trying out his new walker on Youtube. Check it out! 

At one point during the session, I said to Shane, “Huge difference from last year huh?” One short year ago we were so happy that he was able to sit independently and roll over. I can only imagine the skills he’ll have a year from now! Lucky for me I get a front row seat to witness this little boy overcome obstacles and inspire so many. Go, Caleb go!


I'm a working mom of three fantastic boys: Caleb, Wyatt and Parker. My husband, Shane, and I live in the Washington DC suburbs where we enjoy playgrounds, pools and never getting to sleep in. This blog is a journal of our day-to-day lives as well as a chronicle of Caleb's progress after a recent spinal surgery to alleviate the effects of his cerebral palsy.

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4 comments on “Big Day for Mr. C
  1. Jenny Mazo says:

    Awesome,, what an appropriate saying on the wall in the picture of Caleb using the walker..”in my mind I can do anything!” Love reading the blogs!

  2. Pat says:

    Caleb’s progress is astounding! What a difference a year makes. Way to go
    Mr. C…and his new wheels are very cool. Thanks for sharing the pictures from such a busy day.

  3. Steven Dexheimer says:

    Ali and Shane, this is soooo awesome. How great for “Mr. C”. I have tears of joy for your little family! Lots of love to you guys, from Gma Jeano and Gpa Beav (Dexheimer)


  4. Caleb is doing so well! He and Wyatt will be able to get into more “Boy Trouble” together!

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