Friday, March 22, 2013

Turning Over a New School Leaf...

This week was a big week for Ronan.  Our little guy officially started school!  Ronan is attending a fantastic program three days a week.  It is a mix of (*deep breath*) "typical" children and developmentally delayed children.  Ronan had a great trial run a few weeks ago, and we all decided that he was ready for this big jump. 

On Monday, unfortunately, there were a lot of tears.  I went with him the first day.  I think he knew how excited I was for him, and I think he just needed one more day, holding onto his momma.  But, Wednesday was a better day, and Thursday was a great day.  Those days he smiled.  He read books.  He played with puzzles.  He played with other children.  I am so very hopeful that this will be a jumping point for Ronan; that he will see other children crawl or walk, and decide he should too.  That he will hear other children talk, and decide he should too.  The elephant in the room is each passing month when Ronan should be doing these things and he isn't.  I hope this is what Ronan needs. 

Ronan has a number of schedule changes this week.  Besides school, Ronan started OT this week.  We have been waiting for over a year to get on this particular OT's schedule, and I am already so excited by what she will bring Ronan.  Paul and I have asked our OT to help and focus on eating with Ronan.  We just have to make the leap to table foods.  We have our homework assignments, and hopefully we will start to see some results. 

Our busy little boy will now be doing the following:
  • Mondays: School
  • Tuesdays: PT & speech therapy
  • Wednesdays: School & OT
  • Thursdays: School
  • Fridays: PT
We will add his 3rd session of PT back in once he's settled into school.

Ronan works hard for where he is today.  We work hard to help Ronan get where he is today.  Ronan has a team of people - therapists, friends, and family - who help him get where he is today.  You have no idea how many days I wish he didn't have to do this.  That I wish his days were filled with parks, play dates, and just general, carefree times.  But I am so proud of him!  Every day he does something that amazes me.  He has done so many things were were gently (or not so gently) prepared for him not to do.  I think what gets me down some days is that he has to do these things.  I'm sure every parent feels like this at some point, but I wish I could work hard for him.  I wish he just be a 19 month old.

Today Ronan was playing on his mat while I was talking to our nanny before she went home.  As we were talking, I looked down and waved at Ronan.  He looked up, and signed "momma".  And that reset my heart, and built my spirit back up to tackle another day.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Physical Therapy

I often get questions about what a baby does in physical therapy, and about why Ronan needs physical therapy.  I frequently hear, all children develop at different rates.  While true, in Ronan's case he needs a little extra help in learning these skills.  He needs help with motor planning and his reflexes.  He needs help building his muscle tone.  Since Ronan missed so many months of tummy time simply moving around, he lacked the early practice that most kids had. 

Ronan goes to physical therapy 3 days a week.  He's been doing this now for several months, with major progress just in the last month or so.  Paul and I have figured out that consistency is the key for Ronan making progress, and I think that extra day gave him just a little more practice that he needed to make the next leap. 

At 18 months, Ronan should have been sitting easily and crawling.  Making transitions between these positions, and making the transition to standing.  He should be cruising, and at least starting to walk.  This month marked a sad milestone for me - Ronan is one full year behind in gross motor skills.  He is considered to be at a 6 month level.  When we got this feedback at 14 months, we pushed to get him into PT 3 days a week for the added practice.  Although he is still not walking or crawling, I've seen Ronan spontaneously get into quadruped.  I've seen him catch himself far more frequently before when he feels off balance.  He has started transitioning from sitting to laying down, albeit not very gracefully.  And, most impressively, he has started standing.  Ronan can stand for a few moments, but I remember very clearly when he could only sit for a moment or two unsupported. 

In PT, Ronan usually starts with practicing quadruped, and transitioning in and out of it.  Ronan practices sitting while doing a task, thereby making him sit without supporting himself with his hands.  Sometimes he will practice skills on an exercise ball, which I highly recommend to anyone with a child who needs a little extra gross motor practice.  It has been invaluable with pushing up and other skills, as we can angle him on the ball to accommodate his strength.  We practice this a lot at home, during the "daddy workout" that Paul does each afternoon. 

My favorite part of PT though, and now one of Ronan's, is treadmill time.  He gets strapped into a harness and practices walking and cruising.  Last time I went to a session, I was pleasantly surprised to see him smiling during this time.

In trying to be more consistent with Ronan's gross motor skills, we now have a check list for 3 skills to practice several times a day.  We practice transitions 3 times per day, standing 2 times per day, and quadruped 3 times per day.  Although I think we could practice and do many of the things Ronan does in PT, I love watching our PT with him.  She is able to get him to do things that we are only able to do several weeks later.  A fantastic PT has been an integral part to Ronan's improvement!