Before Dean was born we knew we had a long road of therapy ahead of us. Now that he is here he does therapy 4 days a week. It’s a crazy schedule, thank goodness Ryan has a flexible job and we are able to make it work. I take him to only 1 appointment a month and it is so exciting to see his progression since the last appointment. I have been doing swimming with him and we have just signed him up for gymnastics. This time is not only time reserved for just him and I but a fun way to do therapy as well.
Around 11 months old Dean got his first AFO and he had been wearing it daily for a few hours until he started walking, now he wears it the entire day. Last week he got his new AFO because as toddlers do he grew fast. As time progresses we are seeing issues with his right leg when he walks. It is turns out almost as if he is dragging it, the faster he walks the worse it is. When he is standing he very badly hyper extends his knee. With the new AFO he is doing much better. It goes up higher in the back and puts pressure when he is hyper extending it. It also has foam on the bottom changing the angle of his foot as he walks. I’ve been so impressed with his doctors and therapist knowledge on how to help him.
Since 4 months old Dean has been doing physical therapy. We started before he could even sit up. In the beginning they worked on stretching and tummy time. Next, they worked on rolling and sitting. We tried hard to get Dean to crawl on all fours which never happened. He was a butt scooter and his physical therapist hated every second of it. Eventually, she had him using a walker which was such a milestone and we finally got him walking without it. Now they are working on doing stairs standing and walking through obstacle courses. Not only do we take him to physical therapy through our private insurance but we have him enrolled in Ohio’s early intervention program. It is great because it is no cost to us and they have a physical therapist come to the house once a week.
We started with a new occupational therapist in August. They work mainly with his hand/arm. We are so happy with the results we are seeing. I have only been to one appointment with him but I was impressed with how easy she was able to get him to weight bear on his affected hand. This is something we’ve worked on forever with him. She made him a custom constraint that velcros on and off so they can work on constraint therapy weekly. She also made him a night brace for his hand that he sleeps in. Surprisingly it doesn’t bother him at all and we can see a difference in his hand in the morning, if he wears it his hand is much more loose and open.
Speech is our newest addition to therapy. Again we’ve seen so much growth since starting. He is very good at repeating words, if he wants to. He babbles constantly and his favorite real word is cheese. We also use early intervention for speech, she comes every other week with the physical therapist and they work together. Our speech pathologists have paid attention to how he chews to make sure he is able to use both sides of his mouth. This not only helps with eating but talking as well. He seems to be using both sides but we have a brush we put yogurt on and put on the right side of his mouth. This forces him to chew on that side to strengthen those muscles.
They make therapy at this age fun for him but some days it is exhausting. He has many tantrums and wants to do what he wants right now. I feel like it will get better when he understands rewards and can work for something. When he was real little they called him food motivated and puffs worked excellent, I miss those days!