Hello from Roanoke!
Yep, we’re still here. Three weeks down, one more to go.
This past week had us feeling a bit more like locals. We now no longer need to use GPS to get us to the local ADA accessible playground, we have a favorite breakfast spot, Bea and I have explored the Roanoke River Greenway several times, and Ziggy is now a regular at a puppy play center. We’re finally getting into the swing of things just as we’re starting to pack our bags to leave.
On the therapy front, the focus has shifted from a simple awareness and beginning to have functional use of the right side to strengthening the weaker aspects of and adding more complex movements to the right side and using all limbs to have more balance and functionality. For example, Solly is working hard on grabbing a balloon string with his right hand and pulling his right arm down to bring the balloon down. He is pushing a magnet up a cookie sheet, pulling it off, and putting it into a bucket – all with his right hand. And, while sitting on a bench, he helps get himself dressed by pulling his right arm out of his pj top, pushing it through the sleeve of another top, and lifting each leg on command to push that leg through a pant leg. On the speech side, any time Solly starts to topple over, he knows now to try and catch himself, and if he can’t push himself back up to whatever seated position he was in, we now prompt him to say “help”. (If this word catches on, I think we’ll see a huge decrease in some of the sensory issues, i.e. biting, that we’ve been battling.) Solly also now has to keep his body quiet while eating, meaning no flailing or jumping while in his seat, and, similarly, he has to sit quietly and raise both arms in the air to be picked up.
We’re really continuing to see lots of carryover from the first three weeks of therapy. Last week, when I was feeding Solly, he pushed the food away and, for the first time ever, said “all done” completely unprompted. Over the weekend, while playing at Kids Square in downtown Roanoke, Solly instinctively brought up his right hand to touch the sensory wall. And, last week while spending some time in his stander, I put a keyboard toy on Solly’s tray and left him alone. A few minutes later, when I turned around, he was playing the keyboard using his right hand – again, totally unprompted.
The number of gains that we’ve seen over the past three weeks in fine and gross motor skills and speech has been amazing. We’ve been so impressed with this intensive model – and, like many of the other therapies that have helped us, wish that it was more widely available and accessible for other kids like Solly.
This afternoon, Solly’s therapist will remove his cast and will spend the rest of the week working on bilateral activities – using righty and lefty together. I’m cautiously optimistic, and a bit anxious, to see how he’ll progress once his left arm is free from its cast. If the past few weeks are any indication, I think we’ll continue to see some new skills this week. (Fingers crossed!)
Here are the overviews from weeks one and two of our stay in Roanoke: