When we got home from NAPA Center three weeks ago, I tried to make more of an effort to have Sol spend some time in his gait trainer each day.
When I say “make more of an effort”, that generally means that I’m successful maybe every few days because, let’s face it, if I were to do every activity that every single one of Solly’s therapists want me to do at home with him, we’d have enough activities to fill up 54 hours in one day. But, we’ll save the topic of “Mom is medical coordinator, researcher, therapist, advocate, all-while-trying-to-be-Mom” for another post.
While chatting with Jennifer, Solly’s PT at Full Circle Therapy, during last week’s hippotherapy appointment, I told her that we were struggling to find something at home to motivate him to take steps in his gait trainer. She suggested that we allow Solly to have alone time while in his gait trainer so he can work on figuring it out on his own. So, we took her advice and starting last week, for about 30 minutes before dinner, Solly would spend some time simply hanging out in one of his gait trainers. For a couple of nights, he’d shuffle forward a little bit and get stuck, so I’d adjust him and let him hang out so more.
Then, one evening, while Solly was hanging out in his gait trainer, I sat at the edge of the couch and nibbled on a cookie from Panera. I said, “Solly, do you want some cookie?” Bingo. He looked at me and giggled hysterically, then walked right over in 5 or 6 steps.
Motivation issue = solved. Sugar, for the win!
Building on that discovery, for the past few nights, I sat on a scooter in front of Solly, holding a cup of pudding. If he walked forward 3 or 4 steps on his own, I would offer him a bite of pudding and then scoot backwards and then encourage him to move forward again. We’d continue until either he’d had enough time walking or until the pudding was all gone. I’ve been super pleased with this progress! I wasn’t expecting anything more for quite some time.
And then we put Solly in his gait trainer this morning. Here is what we got:
This went on for a good 45 minutes! Back and forth across our kitchen and dining room floor, sometimes chasing Bea and sometimes just walking because we asked him to.
Maybe tomorrow we’ll put him in his gait trainer and he’ll be back to just taking 3 or 4 steps at a time. I would still be ecstatic. Today was a great day for walking and those steps made Solly incredibly happy and proud of himself.