Friday's therapy sessions (our last ones with Rehab Without Walls) went very well. Dale played a board game with his SP therapist; this may not sound like real therapy, but actually it serves to help him improve his concentration and endurance. He seems to be so tired all the time. I know I've said that before, and I also know he's tired because his brain has to work soooo hard at even the "simplest" tasks---but there are times I wonder if he's just putting his head down because he wants us to think he's too tired to continue! We've begun working around that by telling him, "I realize you're tired. Let's just finish this task, and then you can take a break." And, then, of course, following through on our promise and letting him have a one-minute rest break before commencing the next task. I liked how the SP therapist had Dale help her clean up the game even though he was tired. This, too, helps reinforce the concept of "finishing the job."
PT on Friday produced a couple of wonderful breakthroughs! The therapist had Dale stand in the middle of the room; she held both his hands to help him balance; then she told him to jump. He had not yet been able or willing to get both feet off the ground together. She demonstrated for him, and then---HE JUMPED!!! He actually jumped off the floor a few inches 10 times in a row!!! WOW! I couldn't believe it! This was one of the big milestones I have been looking for, a sign of definite improvement in his balance and coordination. Then, because he did so well jumping, the therapist took him oustide to the street in front of our house and had him try running. She took his hand and began a slow jog, pulling him along. He actually ran a few steps! She kept him going although he liked to stop every few feet or so. He would run a few steps, then slow to a walk and eventually stop to rest. He did this around the cul-de-sac and back to our house. PRAISE GOD! Again, these were skills I have been hoping to see but not expecting for some time because of how difficult they were for Dale to do.
We have not yet been able to contact Group Health to start Dale's new therapy, but we hope to be able to do so soon. I have taken over his therapy for now, and I have to say---it's alot harder than it seemed! I have already been doing OT with him each morning and evening (dressing, brushing teeth, etc.), so this morning I tried taking him to the playground in our neighborhood for some PT. I failed miserably! This was around 8:30 a.m., and the equipment was still very wet from dew and rain. I thought I would have Dale try walking along the railroad ties that surround the park (for balance). On his first try, he slipped and fell! I was holding his hand but was unable to catch him before he hit the ground. I was able to slow his fall (because of the hand-hold), but he still ended up with a wet hip and arm. To his credit, he did not get upset; he let me help him up and tried again. This time, his feet slipped off and he nearly turned his ankle. We moved to another section of the rails, endeavoring to find a place where he could balance without worrying about falling off. This, too, ended badly; he couldn't balance and couldn't remember to step off when he felt himself stumbling. You know the saying, "Three strikes, you're out!" After three (failed) attempts, we decided the balance beam was highly overrated and moved on to something else. We strolled along for a bit, giving Dale time to recover his confidence. The PT on Thursday had Dale use the monkey bars (while walking on the ground) to practice alternating arms. With his height, Dale would have to bend his knees to actually swing from bar to bar, so this exercise is perfect for him. He turned toward the monkey bars; I took this to mean he wanted to try "swinging" along the bars. He did this very well, alternating arms like he was supposed to. Unfortunately, the bars were so wet that he ended up sending rivulets of water down his neck, soaked his wrists, and decorated his hair with dewdrops! So, that, too, ended in a bust. Last, we tried the bouncer. He did great with this on Thursday, so I tried (emphasis) helping him step up onto the bouncer. His feet slid right off the other side, and he almost fell again. It was definitely time to go home. I held him a minute in a big hug, letting him know that we were done and that none of this was his fault. He had tried his best; the forces of nature were simply against us!
I'm going to sign off here and go try to play another board game with him (Connect Four or Scrabble). Maybe I'll have more luck with SP therapy than with PT! Thank you again for caring about my son and his hardships and successes. May God bless each of you for your kindness, care, and prayers.
Isaiah 6:8 "Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me."