Saturday, October 17, 2009

More Progress

I'm not sure if anyone reads this blog anymore but I figured it would be good for me to update for my own benefit. It seems like sometimes progress kind of sneaks up in little areas and they can be so small that you don't realize they are there until you look to the past and realize, "Hey, she didn't used to do that!"

Lately during feedings, Sierra has put her hand up a couple of times and placed it on the bottle. She'll leave it there for a few seconds at a time. In the past, if she would ever touch the bottle it would be with her fist closed. Now she is placing her hand on the bottle with her fingers open! So I decided that maybe it is time to see if she can gradually make the transition to a sippy cup. I bought her a sippy cup that has handles on it. The plan is to eventually get her to hold on to those handles. I had to remove the valve inside that prevents the sippy cup from spilling because her suck is still too weak to get anything out with that valve on. The few times that I have given it to her, she has done pretty well. I think she is rather annoyed that it isn't the bottle, but she has been able to drink out of it. One of the times, I took the lid off for the last few sips and gave it to her that way, like a regular cup. It was a bit messy, but she did fine with it! I would tell her, "Okay here is comes, now swallow it." That would give her an idea of where the liquid was. About 6 or 7 months ago, I had tried doing this and it resulted in the drink going down the wrong way and her having a choking fit. I didn't repeat it because I was afraid of her aspirating. She has had stem cell treatments since then, and I honestly believe that they are what have helped her gain more oral motor control.

I have been very pleased with Sierra's new therapists! They have been doing a lot with her and giving me ideas of what things to do at home. Here are some of the main things we are working on:

1. Stretches: Her arms. Her arms do not straighten out all the way. We are working on stretching them so hopefully the muscles will stretch and give her better range. Her thumbs. Her thumbs are a bit tight. Not too bad, but we are working on making them better. Her ankles. Same thing, just trying to make sure they don't tighten up. Her side. She has a tendency to pull to the left. This is causing her back to curve. We stretch out her left side and curve her to the right.

2. Sitting: We've been working on having her side sit with her arms in front of her supporting her and her fingers flat on the floor rather than in a fist. She did an EXCELLENT job on Friday!

3. Crawl position: Having her on all fours with her knees under her, her hands supporting her, her fingers flat on the floor, and her head up.

4. Rolling: She does a bit of rolling on her own but she will only roll towards her left. They are working on getting her to roll both ways. Last Friday, they put her on a swing. It is basically a square board suspended from the ceiling. They had her laying on it. A therapist was on each side. They would tilt the swing and have gravity help Sierra roll. She did really well on that!

5. Mouth exercises: They have been showing me some exercises to do with Sierra that are supposed to strengthen the muscles in the mouth.

Sierra gets therapy on Tuesdays and Fridays. On Tuesdays she gets half an hour of PT, half an hour of OT, and half an hour of ST. She was supposed to have the same schedule on Fridays but the OT and PT decided that instead they would rather work together and give Sierra a more rigourous 30 minute session instead of doing them seperately. It has seemed to work out really well. Sierra did such a good job with the two therapists. They made her work hard!