Lately: Hippotherapy and Full Weeks

Y’all, it has been a week of crazy busy-ness. We have 11 Solly-related appointments this week alone and there’s really no slowing down until we go to Virginia Tech next month for intensive therapy. To say I’m exhausted is an understatement. Maybe the word “overwhelmed” more appropriately captures my state of mind right now.

But, enough about me. Here’s a quick update on Solly:

Last week, our beloved Nanny Jen captured some great photos of Solly at his hippotherapy appointment at Full Circle Therapy:

Have I mentioned how much Solly loves hippotherapy? This therapy has been amazing, not only because it works so many muscle groups at once and has made Solly incredibly strong, helping him to move forward in independent sitting and taking steps in his gait trainer, but also because it is a fun therapy for him. He acts like it’s play time and not therapy. Every time we hit the driveway for his hippotherapy appointment, he starts shaking and laughing with pure excitement. He cannot wait to sit up on his horse. I have loved horses for as long as I can remember, but having a child with special needs has introduced me to a whole new level of love for these animals. Continue reading

Lately: On Specialists and Therapies

The other day, a neuromotor researcher asked me to send her a list of all the therapies we are doing as well as the specialists we regularly see.  With all the traveling we did and changes Solly went through in the last year, this seemingly simple request was not so simple! After our year of change, in my mind, we really pared down the number of therapies Solly did each week, but our schedule is still pretty full. The biggest difference is that we have more therapies that are fun for Sol and fewer that require him to sit still in a chair.

After racking my brain, here is the list that I sent her:

Continue reading

So long, 2017!

Every once in a while, this roller coaster that we call life heads downwards. Nothing is wrong. It’s just that Solly, Bea and I have been sick with the ick for the better part of a month, which means I have less time to work on Solly’s stretches and exercises, and more time to focus on everything that we aren’t accomplishing.

When life gets like this, I feel a little down for a day or two, and then something as silly as a Facebook memory post knocks me out of my funk. Seeing a post from a year ago reminds me just how much he has grown up and come so far in such a short time. What a year 2017 has been!

We started out 2017 with the mindset that it was the year of change, a year to focus on alternative therapies and procedures as a means to propel Solomon’s progress.

Here’s what we did:

  • First, we added a little sister to the mix. Nope, that wasn’t solely for Solly’s benefit, but let me tell you, having a little sister around has been so good for Solomon. For the first several months of her life, Solly was just so curious about her. He learned how to be gentle around her and to simply observe. Now that she’s a very busy 11-month-old, we’re starting to see the beginnings of a very special sibling bond. Sure, they’re already bickering and picking on one another like siblings typically do, but we’ve also caught them in the act of loving on one another – hugging it out and giggling with each other – and it’s moments like this that make my heart soar. I can’t wait to watch them grow up together!
  • Shortly after Bea’s birth, we moved the family to Hilton Head Island for 2 months so we could start Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.
  • In early June, Solly had a procedure called Selective Percutaneous Myofascial Lenthening (SPML). In short, this helped loosen up his legs and give them more range of motion.
  • We followed up SPML by adding hippotherapy to our weekly therapy regimen and we also did two rounds of intensive therapy – one in Nashville and the other in Tampa.
  • And even though we had quite the crazy schedule in 2017, we even found time to cancel all appointments for 10 days and take a vacation.

The end result from our year of change? Progress. Lots and lots of progress. Solly went from having no words to making LOTS of noise (he has about 20 words right now) and from not being able to take any steps AT ALL to taking several assisted steps.

He’s sitting up straighter and by himself for longer periods of time, he’s eating so much better and he’s now insisting on holding his bottle and using his own spoon with assistance. He’s made gains in so many areas!

I’d love to say that 2018 will be a low key year compared to 2017, but that simply won’t be the case. Our year of change showed us many things, but most importantly, it showed us the value in alternative and intensive therapies and the fact that we shouldn’t settle when doctors don’t believe in Solly’s capabilities. This means that in 2018, we’ll be traveling for more intensive therapies and to consult with different doctors and specialists. We’ll also be doing another round of HBOT (in Nashville this time, starting next week!), trying stem cell therapy, and adding an additional weekly hippotherapy session.

I think it’ll be a busy/fun/productive/unexpected year and we’re up for whatever the year throws our way. Stay tuned for updates!

Hippotherapy

Three weeks ago, Solly had his first hippotherapy session. Ever since Solly turned two, the age when children are generally allowed to start horse therapy, I have been anxious to get him on a horse.

In December, he had an evaluation at Saddle Up!, a therapeutic riding center in nearby Franklin. In the short 20 minute evaluation, I got a clear picture of how beneficial hippotherapy could be for him: he smiled and giggled while on horseback as the horse moved at a walk, halted, and circled. Though it may not seem like those simple actions are doing much, they are, in fact, building much-needed core strength, balance, and movement patterns in Solly’s body and brain. Unfortunately, at the time of our evaluation, Saddle Up! was undergoing some therapy staff changes and as much as the physical therapist who completed Solly’s evaluation wanted to begin treating him, there simply wasn’t a spot for him and he was placed on the waiting list. Surprisingly, there are only two therapeutic riding centers in Nashville: Saddle Up! in Franklin is a quick 20 minute drive and Full Circle Therapy in Smyrna is a much father trek. I preferred to not spend too much time driving to and from therapy appointments so I considered Saddle Up! our only option.

Solly’s evaluation at Saddle Up!

Fast forward six months, in the recovery room for Solly’s SPML surgery, his orthopedic surgeon told us the best way for his hips to rebound and strengthen after surgery is to think of putting him on a horse. I’m sure he meant this figuratively – creating a horse shape between his legs, especially any time he is out of his brace. For those of you who know me personally know that I’ve always been a horse-crazy nut, so a light went off in my head as the doctor said this and I took him quite literally – it was time to get Solly on a horse! I decided extra time in the car was worth the benefits of this type of therapy, so I got in touch with Full Circle Therapy. Days later, we completed Solly’s evaluation and were able to find a spot on his new therapist Jennifer’s hippotherapy calendar. We started immediately.

We are now three therapy treatments in and we’ve have already seen some benefits. I cannot wait to see how Solly continues to thrive with his weekly riding therapy and hear both his and Bea’s giggles when they both get to see Solly’s therapy pony each week.

Solly’s all smiles on Cheyenne, his therapy pony