Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Lots of Therapy

Nothing like adding some ice cream
to the tomato sauce on your face.
It was a pretty hectic morning this morning. Felix had to go up to the hospital for his Occupational Therapy assessment today. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, or how the assessment would actually work, so I was curious to see how it would be done. I was actually quite shocked at how long a two year old is expected to sit on a chair, and concentrate for. Even the OT seemed quite apologetic and was going through the different exercises as quickly as she could. I think she was using a new program, so she wasn't sure how long it would take.

Felix had to sit on a chair at a little table and do a number of different exercises, testing his cognitive function and fine motor skills. Each exercise only lasted between 30-60 seconds, and then he would have to begin another one. Some of them were puzzles, which were timed. He was fantastic at those; puzzles are definitely his thing. He had to put some 5c pieces in a little piggy bank. He was tested on colour and shape recognition, and was asked to point to an object which was the same as one she had previously shown him. She quizzed him on things which were heavy and light. He was asked to pull apart some Duplo blocks, and to build towers out of other blocks. He even had to draw a picture, which he told me was a dinosaur. Felix was in a bit of a mood today (and wanted to throw the blocks/toys rather than do the exercise sometimes). He still wasn't feeling 100% so, all things considered, he did really well to sit for an hour.
Big stretch

We haven't got the final results yet, but the OT talked through his strengths and weaknesses, as she had perceived them through the test. She was really impressed with his cognitive ability. His comprehension and concentration has always been really good, and today was no exception. She pointed out that his fine motor skills are hindered in a lot of ways because of his hypotonia. He really lacks a lot of strength in his hands; he couldn't pull apart any of the Duplo blocks, so that's definitely something we will start to focus on more. I'm looking forward to seeing the final results to see what else we need to work on. She did a little bit of gross motor stuff at the end, and he seemed to do most of that quite well. It's always a little bit frustrating in a 'test' situation when your stubborn little person refuses to do the things he would normally do at home every day, but I'm only taking the testing as a guide. I'm glad the OT has had a bit to do with Felix at other times, so she's aware of what he can and can't do outside of that setting.

After the assessment, it was the Speech Pathologist's time to observe Felix for a little while. She is really happy with him and thinks the amount he can sign is amazing. She is not being unrealistic in her goals for him; she is completely confident he will eventually speak more verbally, but she knows it won't happen overnight. He is making all the right early speech sounds, including animal sounds. While he was looking at a book with her this morning, he saw a monkey and immediately started making "Oo, oo, oo, ah, ah, ah" sounds. The funniest thing was the expression on his face; he really forced his lips forward with the "Oo" sound, and had a wide open mouth for the "Ah" sound. His eyes were so round and full of expression! She thought it was awesome. We will continue doing what we're doing with him, giving him lots of opportunities for speech, through singing, stories and in general day to day life. I have no doubt he'll be chatting away when he's ready.

Waking up his big brother who is visiting
Finally, the Podiatrist came in to have a quick look at Felix's feet. She was very happy with the placement of his hips, knees and ankles, and is pleased with the way he is sitting and walking. She wants to see him in a couple of months for a more comprehensive assessment, but can't foresee any real problems at this stage. She likes the look of the boots I bought for Felix to wear. She said they're exactly the right fit and shape, so I'm pleased I don't have to rush out and buy more.

It was a very long morning, but definitely a successful one. I'm really proud of our little guy. He sometimes has to work extra hard to do the things that come easily to other 'typical' kids, but it just makes his successes so much more precious. His delays are becoming more evident as he grows, and his peers are racing ahead, but we couldn't be prouder. He is such an incredible little person, and we couldn't love him more. I heard, on the morning news program this morning, a group of women say they wouldn't care if their babies were going to be a boy or a girl as long as they're 'perfect and healthy' (meaning of course, no birth 'defects'). It made me want to scream at them through the TV. What is the definition of healthy? There are so many things we can't predict for the future, even in our children who are born 'healthy'. I'm glad Felix came into our lives to teach us a new definition of a 'perfect' baby. I'm glad he turned our lives upside down. The view is quite beautiful from here :)

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