Our lives became a little [EXTRA] special on February 15, 2011 in a way we never expected.

This is about our journey and the [EXTRA]ordinary people we meet along the way.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Therapy Ebs and Flows

Recently, Wyatt's Physical Therapist told me that she thinks he will be discharged from PT by the end of the summer.

This was exciting news for me. For one, discharge essentially means that his delays are no longer significant enough to require therapy. Our biggest focus has been getting Wyatt to walk. He sees PT at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center - CCHMC - (through the Thomas Center for Down Syndrome) right now every other week, and recently we have added PT from our Early Intervention Services (provided by the State and Hamilton County, which are "free" to us) every other week on the off weeks from CCHMC.

Let me back track for a moment.

Wyatt did not sit until he was almost a year. At seven months, he was starting to try and sit, then we passed eight months, then nine, ten, then eleven...and no independent sitting. He was thisclose to doing it for months, yet it just wasn't happening. He finally sat, completely independent, right around his first birthday. We rejoiced!

The physical part of his development wasn't as provocative as his social development (he really is a social genius).  However, his physical development has been fast and slow at the same time. Seeing fast growth in a months time, then waiting for weeks, or months for another notable milestone. We started to see ebs and flows from an early age. The ebs are when we see significant gains in one area in a certain amount of time. the flows are when we just wait. The progress is noted for a variable amount of time and then, well...nothing sometimes. Like I said, for months in some cases.

Walking has been a similar experience.

Wyatt started 'wanting' to walk at about 14 months. He was pulling up, holding my hands and trying to take steps.  I was thrilled to see these pre-walking skills so early, as I had heard that they sometimes don't emerge in "our" kiddos for quite some time. And to be honest, it was awesome when Wyatt would 'show off' these skills and other parents would 'ooh and ahh' over his early progress. I was excited. But that soon waned.

For those who have experienced a "typical" child, these developmental cues mean walking is within your grasp. You'll see precursors to walking skills and, all of of sudden, one day *poof* they walk. But with Wyatt, those skills eb and flow. They show up one day and then they just plateau. And we never know when, or if, they will re-emerge.

Research and therapists say that a child with developmental challenges (and even without) often only focus on one skill at a time. Where you have a lag, or plateau of progress in one area, sometimes you see a big growth in another. For Wyatt, even-though we have seen slower progress in walking, we have seen absolutely astonishing growth (IMHO) in communication.We have gone from Wyatt only having about 5 signs (ASL signing) in December, to him having around 30+ signs to date. I'm running out of signs I know to teach him. His receptive (what he understands) language is amazing, and his expressive (what he communicates) grows by the day. And his disposition is a dream (we had a therapist ask us 'is he always this good?' To which the answer was yes...he is AWESOME.)

So with all of this, here we sit, at almost 28 months old, and Wyatt is not walking independently. He recently took SEVEN independent steps at an evaluation at Cincinnati Childrens Hospital. That was amazing (and awesome that my Mom got to see it!). But we are still waiting and hoping for that day where he stands up, looks at us and independently walks to us.

I know it will happen. I know I should be patient. I almost hear me talking myself into it. And one day, walking frustrations will be as much of a distant memory as sitting was. But for now, we just wait and take these ebs and flows, of therapy and milestones, one accomplishment and day at a time.