This week, we experienced a setback in Therapy. It wasn't the first time this has happened. Last year Wyatt was sick for about 2-3 months from December to mid-February. It was frustrating because he regressed in eating and some communication (because of croup, a tummy bug, and recurrent colds). He didn't want to eat many solids and he lost, yes LOST, nearly a pound in a month. At his one year check-up, he weighed a mere 14.5 pounds. The words "failure to thrive" at a group assessment appointment hit me like a Mac truck. Feeding and speech therapy definitely had a set back.
Thankfully, he rebounded and over the last year has gained 6 pounds and grew about 5 inches. He now feeds himself (he pretty much eats what we eat) and he is working on using utensils. He is signing and has a couple of words. He is still tiny, but we are proud of his progress.
This time, Wyatt had a set back in physical therapy. And it's kind of my fault.
Let me back up for a moment. Wyatt is not walking...independently. In October, Wyatt got fitted for, and received Sure Steps (click on the word to see the website) to support his walking. There are two stages of Sure Steps. One is a low ankle support to assist with strength and pronation:
The other is a higher support, up over the calf, to help with his issues of buckling his knee (he doesn't like to squat). The ankle supports fit into the higher supports for control in both areas:
Fast forward to the past few weeks...We had a decent snow (enough to sled) a few weeks ago, and while taking him sledding for the first time, we had a mishap and his tiny ankle got twisted. We almost made a trip to the ER, but our PT said it wasn't broken, but probably strained. She recommended that we put his braces back on and give him rest.
This means that he has gingerly been using his left foot. He has not wanted to walk like he was before. We are, at this point, back where we were a few months ago. Another setback.
As initially frustrating as this was, I realized that these things happen. Sometimes with our kids it is two steps forward and one step back (literally and figuratively).
So what can we do?
Not all is even close to lost. While the PT portion of our therapy is slightly derailed, we can still focus on other areas. Therapy should not be an all-on assault, but rather a thoughtful execution of the current strengths. Gross or fine motor not moving forward? Focus on another area! In this case, we went back to focusing on speech and signing. And even though PT was at a setback, we saw progress in signing. Wyatt has added "shoes" and "book" to his signing capabilities! We were reading books and modeling signs, with hand-over-hand, guided instruction. And it paid off.
So if you have a stall in one area, be sure to move forward in another. A setback does not mean all is lost. Keep moving forward thoughtfully and you will likely still see growth.