My goodness doesn’t time FLY!
I can hardly believe it has already been one month since we finished Intensive Therapy with Mikayla.
So far it looks like Mikayla continues to reap the rewards of all her hard work, which is just fantastic. It hasn’t been easy, and it hasnt been every day, but overall I think we have done a fair job at keeping up with the ongoing home program even through the school holidays. Mikayla has been very accepting (most of the time) of the need to keep up our routine, although she doesn’t really seem to connect the exercises with the direct functional benefits that are evident. This makes me all the more proud of her, because I know how hard it is to be disciplined about these kind of things, even for adults who do understand the connection! Just think back to how disciplined many of us have been at following through with a program from a health professional eg an exercise routine from a physio or osteopath, or maybe a training regime for a sport that they love or an event they are going to participate in? Imagine if you didn’t really understand WHY you were being asked to get up early and do an hour of exercises at the start of your day? I can certainly think of a few times in my life when I had the best intentions to do these sort of things AND just how long some of those good intentions lasted -if indeed some of them even got off the ground at all! And remember, the exercises that Mikayla is doing on a daily basis are not to excel in a sport she loves, or run a marathon in record time, or swim at PB at the next swim meet, they are to help her build on her ability to do everyday things and hopefully to be able to do them more independently. Everyday things like eating a meal, getting dressed, showering, getting around her classroom, playing with friends….and yet in some ways what she will do in order to achieve her level of independence in things most of us would take for granted, is probably comparable to the time and effort put in by an elite athlete to keep at the top of their game.
With the home program, we continue with the ongoing process of modifying, evaluating, adjusting, etc and have sort further advice from Mikayla’s therapists to try to ensure we are really maximising the time we are spending on it. I can see Mikayla’s abilities in some of them improving and Mikayla is now experimenting and testing herself as well. When we were doing pelvic lifts yesterday, she wanted me to count and see how long she could hold her bottom up off the ground and then wanted to try to beat her time! In the disassociation exercises I can feel much less resistance in some of the movements and Mikayla has taken over doing a few of them without any physical assistance from me EG the one where she bends up wrist lifting her fingers and also the one where she alternates hands to shoulders. To me this is pretty impressive, because at the start of the Intensive Therapy Program, Mikayla needed physical assistance to coordinate the movements required in both of these activities.
So I have to say that so far, I am continuing to see great benefits for Mikayla. It is also encouraging to be hearing positive feedback from others around her too. Mikayla’s regular therapists have noticed a difference, at school they have noticed that she is stronger and more balanced in her transfers, she is more stable in various positions, she is maintaining a straighter posture for longer, she is generally less fatigued, and her ranges in some key muscle groups have either been maintained or increased. These are all very positive things, and more importantly, they translate into practical applications such as (but not limited to) those that I have included in the pictures below:-
The results have been so positive for Mikayla that we have made participation in further Intensive Therapy a focus of our 2013/14 fundraising campaign for Mikayla as it is very expensive to access. The Developing Foundation (a registered charity) gives our family the opportunity to raise funds to help us pursue our vision and dreams for Mikayla. Donating to Team Mikayla will help make a difference to this beautiful 8yr olds life – helping her to overcome the challenges that cerebral palsy presents her every single day, and giving her every chance to reach her potential, to be as independent as she can be, and to fully experience life.
To learn more about how you can help or to make a donation, go to http://www.developingfoundation.org.au/family/mikayla