Well we made it through week 1 of the Intensive Therapy Program….and we are still smiling!
Firstly I want to say that the therapists are lovely and have shown an impressive level of knowledge, professionalism and commitment to what they are doing. Throughout the week, I was impressed with the way the therapists conducted themselves with the same level of energy, enthusiasm, and focus for each individual – whether it was the first child, on the first morning, the middle session of “hump day”, or the last session of the week!
Here is a basic summary of the sorts of things this week entailed for Mikayla:
• Stretching muscles -abductors, hamstrings, hip flexors
• Dissociation Exercises – using right side and left separately
• Strengthening muscles – glutes, abductors, obliques
• Weight shifting – forwards/ backwards, side to side
• Alignment – finding and holding a neutral alignment
• Arm strength – weight-baring with straight elbows and flat hands
• Motor planning
ALL of these things are challenging for Mikayla and take a lot of effort and concentration. She did a fantastic job focussing, listening, trying her best and persevering!
What sorts of differences did I notice during the week?
•There has been some improvement in Mikayla’s movement patterns during her exercises, with repetition. This would be expected because from experience we already know that Mikayla responds well to repetition, and needs to warm up to the task. There were definitely times I could see a better fluidity of movement in what she was doing. (there was a good example of that in the bench work she did and also in step work).
• There has been some improvement in strength. Most notably to me, in her right leg as a stabilizer when weight shifting, and in her arms. At one point today I couldn’t believe how long she was able to maintain weight bearing with her straight elbows without collapsing down onto her forearms for support.
• As the week progressed, the therapists were able to provide less support and prompting at times – things like lifting a leg to step up, squeezing her buns to stabilize and things like that.
• There are more things that I noticed as it was all happening – a moment when she held herself upright a bit longer, times were better pelvic stability were evident, times where she ‘looked good’ but the specifics of that are hard to explain. Some of the positive things I noticed were very subtle, but demonstrated a “difference” all the same.
Sometimes it can be really hard to relay this kind of information because there isn’t always something glaringly obvious or miraculous that is meaningful to those without specific experience/knowledge/and often history, with the individual (and I say that respectfully).
During the week, there were times that Mikayla was feeling tired and there were times that she was asked/encouraged to go a bit further – to push her limits….but just enough of a challenge, and nothing that seemed unreasonable for her.
Day 5 included trying some CME (Cuevas Medek Exercise)
Today Mikayla had the opportunity to do an extra hour at the end of the day to try CME. In this approach Mikayla was being exposed to the influence of gravity with the therapist providing “distal” support (I think this means providing support as far away as possible – or in other words providing the least amount of support that is possible). It proved difficult to do with Mikayla mainly because of her size and weight which is right at the end of the scale for this kind of therapy because of what it entails. Mikayla did a GREAT JOB, though, and there will be some further discussion about the best way to proceed regarding this into the coming week.
So overall, there has definitely been a lot going on, and a lot to take in, for both Mikayla and Me!
I asked Mikayla what she thought of it all and she said “Good”. So there you have it.
Heading home for some R&R
I think we are BOTH looking forward to some R&R this weekend. I will try and find it somewhere in between some of the other basics of day to day life and keeping a house and home as well – you all know the drill – laundry, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, bills, pets. Then there is attending to schooling as there isn’t much time left by the time we get back home each day during the week. There is all the usual parenting that goes with having two children (as wonderful as they both are), and of course attending to Mikayla’s daily assistance needs (minus “therapy” for a few days though) ……. and of course most importantly spending quality time as a family – with BOTH kids, and my husband.
Miss Mikayla has some school work to do, to help her keep up with her class, (although we did manage to creatively attend to some of it during the week here and there), but rest assured, she will definitely get time to play and chill out too!
TRAVEL TALLY FOR WEEK 1: 900kms 10hrs