Verbal Or Non-Verbal, That Is The Question

Is your child verbal?

How would you answer this question when you can understand the handful of words that your “non-verbal” child has and know that he can answer yes and no questions with 95% accuracy? Man, oh man, I struggle with this.

Sol’s language center was completely wiped out by the three strokes he had at birth. We’ve always firmly believed that he is not cognitively delayed and that he understood everything we said to him, even though his expressive speech was severely delayed. He started to have words after we did our first round of hyperbaric oxygen therapy and his expressive speech has exploded since we did stem cell therapy back in March. To date, we figure that he has somewhere between 20 – 30 words, has just started stringing 2 words together, and, like Bea, will speak in his own language. (Sometimes I think Bea understands him as I will frequently find the two of them conversing back and forth.) Continue reading

A Little Stroll

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.

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NAPA is Magical

On Day 1 of our 3 week intensive at the NAPA Center, which stands for Neurological and Physical Abilitation and is located in Los Angeles (and Sydney and soon-to-be Boston) and NOT Napa Valley, I proudly posted a photo on Instagram of Solly kicking butt and standing (with assistance) during the first hour of his intensive therapy. A Mama of another CP kiddo quickly posted: “NAPA is magical! I hope you have a great experience.”

I smiled as I read her comment, thinking to myself – yeah, yeah, I’m sure it’s great, but we’ve done intensive therapy before and I’m pretty sure I know how everything will go.

Nope. I was wrong. That Mama was right. NAPA is the most magical and amazing place on Earth. Solly made the most gains I’ve ever seen him make in a short time period.

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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:

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Another Walk in the Park

We struggle with motivation. I always get a little envious when I see other babies just sit and play with toys or get up and walk toward their favorite stuffed animal. Bea would do just about anything for an episode of Sesame Street or for her Elmo stuffed animals. Nothing like this ever works for Solly. He’d rather just sit and chew on whatever is in his path than press buttons on a toy or play with a toy car.

This has made therapies – both in a clinical setting and at home – rather difficult. It’s impossible to work on Solly’s strength or functional movement if all he wants to do is hunker down and chomp on a puzzle piece. If a 3 year old doesn’t want to do the work and isn’t interested in anything that will trick him into doing the work, how can we make any gains?

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