Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Therapy: Shifting Gears

I posted some time back that Whitney has been taking a few months break from physical therapy because she had hit a plateau.  Obviously we continued working with her at home, but since we she wasn't gaining much from the therapy we figured we'd invest that healthcare money elsewhere.

Well, it's time to shift gears.  Now that Liam is walking Whitney has an increased interest in getting on her own two feet as well.  So we've started seeing the physical therapist on a weekly basis with an emphasis on strengthening her legs and improving her balance.

Yesterday was Whitney's second visit on the new weekly schedule and it went great.  The therapist has said that Whitney is stronger and more capable than before we took our little break.  She is also getting better at bending and catching herself when she falls.  That should help her to overcome her fears, since her falls will be less traumatic.

It's also time for some new ankle braces.  Whitney has worn DAFO (Dynamic Ankle and Foot Orthotics, I believe it stands for) from Cascade for the past year.  They help partially immobilize her ankles to ensure that she's not rolling them in or out as she stands on them.  But now we've agreed with the therapist that it's time for a brace that gives Whit much more motion in her ankle joints.  So we're looking into a type of brace that will allow for the normal front to back ankle movement for walking but will also still prevent her ankles from sagging in or out.

She's going to have some new molds of her ankles taken next week at therapy and we'll see about getting the new braces ordered.  I'll post about the specific type as soon as we know more.

I'm thrilled that Whitney is ready to push for walking independently.  But at the same time, she seems to be tiring of speech therapy.  She's not tolerated her hearing aids very well lately and has actually damaged both her ear molds in the last couple weeks.  So we'll give her a bit of a break there and just work at home to keep her skills up in that area.  

By contrast she always wants to have her ankle braces on and she tolerates those well.  And she loves "playing" with the physical therapist so much that when it's time to go, she almost always throws a tantrum.  Hopefully, if she sees that she gets to come "play" more often it won't be so upsetting to leave.

But no matter what, we're working hard toward a walking Whitney!  My dream is to have her doing just what the little girl in the picture above is doing.  And I know she can do it.


Angie said...

Isn't it amazing to think that something like walking, a task we take for granted, is a big dream for our 1p36 children? I know she can do it too and if we see you at this year's conference I'll bet she's walking all by herself.

Kajsa Farnsworth said...

I know she can do it too! She is sooooo close. It amazaes me how well she can maniuplate her walker. She definitely has the coordination and skills to walk. I have a feeling once she improves her strength a bit she will just take off.

We can definitely relate to therapy plateaus. Brady has gone to speech twice a week for a year and a half and is just now starting to make a couple of new sounds. If it wasn't for early intervention providing the therapy we would have definitely focused on PT instead during that time.

I hope the new DAFOs (or whatever you guys end up using) help. Brady is also getting custom fitted this week for some new orthotics with a bit more support. How on earth do you get Whitney to hold still while they make the molds? We are a bit concerned about that process!

Nate said...

Thanks for the votes of confidence. It's great to be able to share such great support with each other.

By the way, Melanie and I are undecided on the conference this year. We'd love to come, so long as the budget allows. We miss all our 1p36 friends a lot!

Kajsa, I wish I had some good tips for getting those foot molds. I think Whitney was pretty uncooperative when they took hers last summer. We'll see how she does next week. Luckily, they don't have to be perfect. So long as the major contours of the leg, ankle and foot are captured, the braces come out pretty comfy. Whitney's have some great foam padding that helps a lot too. Good luck with Brady's! Let us know how it goes.