Acceptance

This Fall, we’ll spend an extended period of time in Roanoke, Virginia for an intensive therapy at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute. The intensive will be 4 weeks long and includes therapy for up to 6 hours per day. Talk about an intense intensive! A part of the intensive therapy program will include Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT) where Solly’s stronger side (the left side) will be constrained to force the weaker side to take over.

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Solly during our first round of CIMT in Nashville

We previously had 4 weeks of CIMT in Nashville at Vanderbilt Pediatric Rehabilitation right after Solly turned two. While we saw some gains (i.e. more movement in the right shoulder), because Vanderbilt’s approach was to cast the child and send them home without intensive therapy, aside from an extra hour-long appointment or two during the week, we did not experience a ton of progress with our first round of CIMT. While this approach may work for children with mild cerebral palsy, we found that it isn’t as effective for moderate to severe cases, like Solly’s.

With CIMT, the more therapy you can do while the stronger side is casted, the more effective the therapy will be. Given the intensive model available at Virginia Tech, I am eager to see how much awareness Solly will gain of the weaker side. Continue reading

A Nanny for Two Adorable Children

Why don’t you guys take a break tonight from poopy butts and sick kids and go have some dinner and drinks. I can stay till 9 so you’ll have plenty of time for dessert too!

Mike and I received the text above from one of our nannies while I was en route to Solly’s first-ever dentist appointment, after a sleepless night thanks to a teething and diaper-rashed Bea. Texts and conversations like this are fairly normal from her and our other nanny: “Camie, go for a run! I’ve got the kids. Go ride your horse. Go take a nap! TAKE A BREAK!”

To them, nannying is a job, yes, but in the 15 months and 8 months that we’ve employed Nanny Jen and Catherine, respectively, each woman has become an extension of our family. They love our babies, go above and beyond to learn handling methods, feeding techniques, equipment, doctors’ and therapists’ names, and help me with research and brainstorming ideas for just about everything. They get what both of our babies need and also act as a continuation of me around the house, doing laundry, wiping the counters, letting the dog out, basically doing whatever needs to be done to keep our household running smoothly.

I feel so incredibly comfortable leaving my babies in their care. I don’t know what I’d do without them.

When we moved to Nashville, we largely chose to move so we’d be closer to family for some much-needed support. What we didn’t realize was how much support we needed.

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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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Whatcha Say

“May I ask what he has?”

I blinked my eyes several times. Did I just hear the Starbucks barista right? Did she just ask me what condition my son has?

“Excuse me?” I said, with a smile.

“What does he have?”

“Oh, Solly? What does he have? You mean …….. He has CP,” I said quietly, nervously. I was hoping that’s what she meant by her question, not wanting to make her feel awkward if it wasn’t.

“Oh, CP! My oldest has Asperger’s. I’m a special needs Mom, too,” she replied. “Bye, bye, Solly. Come back, soon!”

This conversation was such a breath of fresh air that I literally skipped back to the car with my chai tea latte in one hand and Solly in my other arm.


When you have a special needs child, every outing has its share of stares. It used to bother the heck out of me and keep me inside the house. Now, I’m so used to it that I don’t notice, I don’t have time to dwell on it and, quite frankly, I don’t care if a handful of strangers stare at my obviously delayed and different child. However, one of the hardest parts of being a special needs Mom is feeling different and outcast from the general public, and the stares certainly don’t help. The problem, I’ve realized, is that unless you are a special needs family, you simply don’t know what to do or say when you see a child or person who’s a little bit different. And, instead of saying something to that family or child, you might wonder “what’s wrong with that child” and worry about what to say and decide it’s best to say nothing at all.

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