Sunday, August 19, 2007

Speech, Physical and Occupational Therapists, Oh my!

Playing at the lake during summer vacation

My wife and daughter have been spending quite a bit of time these past couple weeks in the company of different therapists.

About a week and a half ago Whitney went to her first speech therapy visit. She loved it because the therapist let her play with bubbles. But only if she tried to make the "b" sound with her lips. This therapist would like to concentrate on making various consonant sounds and making them part of play time. Seems like a good idea, especially since this is something we can do at home with Whitney without too much effort.

This past week Whitney had her first occupational therapist and physical therapist visits in the same morning. It was pretty exhausting for her. First the physical therapist worked with her quite a bit on standing and walking. My daughter sits in the "W position" which first of all looks very painful, but also makes it hard to learn to put one foot on the ground and push up to a standing position. So my wife and I have got to break her of that habit. Then work will progress on standing and walking. Based on his projections, it looks like her walker will be a part of her life for quite a while to come.

The occupational therapist really opened our eyes to some simple things we should be working on with Whitney. In all our focus on talking and walking we haven't spent any time on our daughter dressing or undressing herself and other related self-sufficiency tasks. But we are going to start now! And as it turns out, Whitney is already getting pretty good at pulling off her socks and pants when it's time to get ready for bed. Getting her shirt off is going to take a while longer. I've never really pondered the complexity of putting on and taking off a shirt, but after trying to show my daughter how, it's more difficult than I remembered.

So we have some excellent things to work on for the next while. Melanie was pretty stressed about finding the time to work in all this new practice each day, but she's doing a wonderful job. We just work on consonant sounds whenever we can, remind Whit not to W sit, and make her take her clothes off herself as best she can before bed. Simple things that should make a big difference.

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