Monday, 26 August 2013

Getting Stronger

Enjoying exploring
Last time I blogged, I wrote about Felix starting to get sick. As is Felix's style, he ended up with a gunky, weepy, ear (although it was his 'good' ear this time). The poor little guy was an oozy mess for a few days; sticky eyes, snotty nose, messy ear and extra drool. When he approached us to give us a kiss, we had to dodge to try and find a dry spot on his face. Thankfully, apart from a couple of nights of coughing, it didn't develop into croup as well, so that was a huge relief. The Doctor prescribed antibiotics for his ear, and gave us a prescription for Redi-Pred to keep on hand in case he got croup as well. The Doctor (who we hadn't seen before), was actually able to get a good look at Felix's right 'problem' ear, and saw that it looked good and the grommet was sitting exactly where it should be.... awesome!

Felix charmed his way into the heart of his new Physiotherapist today. She had me strip Felix down to his nappy so she could have a really good look at his back and legs. He thought it was hilarious to be running around with no clothes on in her warm office. It's been so cold that, apart from bath times, he's been wearing layers and layers of clothes. He was quite the little entertainer. The Physio was really happy with Felix's development. She made a mention of how well he uses bilateral motion eg. clapping, throwing a ball with two hands etc.

Due to hypotonia, people with Down syndrome walk with quite a 'wide base', meaning they walk with their legs further apart than most people. Felix's gait, although improved from using the 'Happy Strap' while he was learning to walk, is still wider than it should be. The Physio suggested some ways to try and increase the strength in Felix's quads, which will also help his hip placement. One of the things she suggested was encouraging him to ride his push-along bike, and to see about getting him a balance bike. Felix has never been very interested in riding his bike so he might need a bit of encouragement, but it will be worth it if it helps to strengthen his legs. It's good to be given  constructive suggestions from Felix's therapists. I like having advice we can work on, rather than just be told to 'keep doing what we're doing' (which has been said often before). Like I always say, I know Felix is doing well but there is always room for improvement and challenges and, if he is willing, why not try?
So clever!

Something I am looking forward to is starting hydrotherapy with Felix once a week. The Physio will be in the pool with us and we will focus on activities to strengthen Felix's muscles. He loves the water and I'm looking forward to seeing his reaction to this type of therapy. I am hoping it will be really beneficial for him and will help with his muscle tone. I'm sure he'll also have a lot of fun. I have noticed that when I lay him down in the bath to rinse the shampoo from his hair, he really enjoys it now. He kicks his legs and swishes his arms through the water by his sides instead of protesting. I think hydrotherapy is going to be one of his favourite things!

We've done quite a lot of exploring lately. Last weekend we went for a drive to a beautiful, little, country town surrounded by hills. Felix had an impromptu physio session, climbing steep hills and walking through long grass. He was drawn to big muddy puddles, and enjoyed the new experience of walking over a wobbly swing bridge. He wasn't so sure about the sensation of the bridge swaying under his feet, but he did really well keeping his balance.
New playground...lots of fun to be had!

A couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to receive some disability funding to purchase an amazing playground for our backyard. We have already seen the benefits to Felix's gross motor development, with him attempting to climb the climbing wall all by himself and navigating the different levels of the playground. He even managed to hang on to the swing, while I pushed it, without any support from behind or in front. He is so determined to do things himself. Now if, for some reason, I'm unable to drive the 40km to take Felix to kindergym, we can have a good therapy session in our own backyard. The only down side is that we already found a big brown snake right next to the playground. At least we know to be extra vigilant, especially with the warmer weather about to start, but just a little bit of a worry!!

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