I’ve been promising a lot of people an update on Maddy since her diagnosis, so here goes.
This past week was our first week of therapy – we have started two OT and two PT sessions each week at Blue Balloon in Waterloo. The therapists are incredible. They are so good with Maddy, keeping her happy and interested, while simultaneously keeping Eric and I informed with what they’re working on.
The OT is what is addressing Maddy’s sensory needs. I’m so happy to report that at our second session, our OT told Eric and I that she’s already seeing some progress (and compared that to older kids who sometimes take 3 to 4 sessions to see the same kind of progress). This is the exact reason why it is so important disorders like SPD are caught early when the brain is still developing and adaptable to change.
We started PT to address some of the motor difficulties Maddy is having, caused by the SPD. The PT explained to us that Maddy has been skipping steps. Most of the steps she has skipped she has compensated for in other ways, but there are two that the PT wants to address: crawling, and pulling up and sitting down properly. When it comes to crawling, as I mentioned before, despite getting into the crawling position for 3 months, Maddy has never attempted to crawl. For pulling up, and sitting down, she does these both, but improperly. It is important that she gets some practice with these steps as they help with developing hip and shoulder strength, and can impact how she learns future motor skills, like walking. We had great news at our second PT session too: progress!
Progress, progress, so much progress!! I am thrilled to share with you some of the progress Maddy has made since my lowest of lows post.
- Maddy giggled – actually giggled!!!! I was biting her feet at the dog park and she giggled. I was so happy my eyes welled up with tears. My baby girl was happy! This followed after a day of extreme, non-sop stimulation and we haven’t heard another giggle since then, but we know it’s in there.
- On that same note, she smiles… pretty frequently, but only if we’ve worked a lot of the OT suggestions into the day.
- She crawled!!! It was a clumsy, awkward crawl that took an hour of stimulation techniques our OT taught us, but she crawled. We’re having to correct her crawl frequently as she does this funny one knee, one foot kind of crawl, but every once in a while she pulls this out:
- Our OT asked us to practice this over the weekend as it will provide oral stimulation… and look, after a day she’s got it (we’re still working on her learning how to round her lips):
- She has started pulling herself up properly with prompting from us. Like crawling, she can only do this if she’s getting the proper sensory input through the techniques our OT has taught us.
- For the first time ever, Maddy was flirting with strangers out in public. Usually strangers talk to her and she just stares at them with an “I’m so unimpressed with you” kind of look. Yesterday, she smiled and played peek-a-boo with a woman in line at Tim Hortons.
- She will sometimes eat without crying. We have learned that in order for her to eat she needs sensory input. Sometimes that means she eats lunch while I push her in a cart at Walmart, sometimes it means she eats in a laundry basket while playing with her toys on the fridge, sometimes she eats watching the cars from our sunroom – we do whatever works.
We still have a ways to go, and I know that these are needs Maddy will have for the rest of her life, but the progress is so encouraging. Best case scenario? She continues to progress with her therapy and one day is a happy little girl with some sensory quirks. Until then? I’ll try to enjoy the new ups and grin and bear the familiar downs.