Once upon a time when we were just getting our sea legs in the world of therapy and diagnoses, I envisioned a time when Solly would magically get up and start walking. It seemed that every day a new video would pop up on my Facebook or Instagram feed that said something to the effect of “this child was told he’d never walk or talk, but look at him now” showing a video of a child taking his first steps at age 2 or 3 or 4.
When Solly was between the ages of one and two, I simply followed the process – therapy once or twice a week, working on some exercises at home, going to all suggested doctors appointments – and I waited. I waited for that magical moment where I could celebrate my son taking his first steps – delayed, but not too delayed – despite the doom and gloom prognosis doctors gave us in the beginning.
We never got that magical moment. In fact, during this time, Solly hit a plateau in therapy and stopped making any progress. I began to feel hopeless.
If you’ve been following our story for a while, you know that we started focusing on intensive and alternative therapies about two years ago, when Solly was two and a half. As a result, Solly hasn’t magically started walking yet, but he has made measurable gains. It might not seem like much to the regular Joe, but those who are closest to Solly have noticed how much progress he’s made. As we started noticing new developments, I started noting them in my head as “inchstones”, a term I’ve borrowed from Moms of special needs kiddos to celebrate when a gain isn’t quite a milestone, but is moving in the direction of one.
We hit some inchstones last year when Solly started giving kisses (oh, my, this was one of my favorite inchstones!), when he made so many gains in feeding, and when he started taking independent steps in a gait trainer, and we even hit a milestone when he started transitioning from laying down to sitting up all on his own.
It seems that Solly is off to another great start this year. Solly hit another inchstone just this week when he started taking some really good assisted steps in a Kaye walker, a walking aide that is a transition between a gait trainer and a regular walker. Because this walker has much less support than a gait trainer, it requires a lot more coordination to use: Solly has to hold on with both hands in order to stay upright while taking steps. He’s still getting the hang of it and it’s going to take quite a bit of work before he’s running around in it all on his own. His PT has to remind him to hold on with his hands, help him walk straight, and give some support to the walker since Solly is still working out how to balance his body.
But, it’s progress. It’s an inchstone and we’re going to keep working at it. Considering walking independently with a walker is a big time stretch goal and something I wasn’t sure we’d be able to start working on any time soon, we are celebrating this one big time.