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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Therapy Ideas

I've been working on this post for awhile, but I felt today was the day to post it....  (This post is very heavy with links and photos)

I thought I would give others reading this blog a glimpse into some of the cool therapies we use for Alexander, and I would love to hear what you are doing.

I must first tell you about our best therapy ever.... Attitude.  This one word encompasses so much.  Let me explain:

Attitude 1.  Alexander is part of this family - at all times.  That isn't to say that the twins don't get special time because I want to remind them they are important too... but Alexander sits at the dinner table with us, and has since he was born.  We made a pillow so he could sit in the highchair before he could actually fit it - because Alexander needed to know that he would be expected to be part of our dinner time routine. Alexander goes just about everywhere with us.  He needs more supplies, but so what?  When Alexander is awake, he is included.  Even down to bath time.  Before he could actually sit in a bath chair (now he still needs assistance to be in the bath chair) - he sat in a bumbo seat to watch the twins take a bath.  Because he is expected to take a bath with them as soon as he can - and I want him to be motivated to do this. Those pictures of the 3 kids together aren't photo-ops.  This is really how we expect our family to function.

Attitude 2.  Motivation is a great tool for Alexander.  We put him as close as possible to the twins at all times.  He is motivated to do what they are doing .  When we were standing the other day, he wanted to walk in the direction of his brother and sister playing.

Attitude 3.  Therapy is for our education - not to fix Alexander.  We utilize Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy,etc... but - 1 - 2 hours a week is not enough.  Alexander gets therapy every single day.  Almost waking hour of every day.  We don't call it "therapy" ... but he is constantly encouraged to sit, stand, roll, grasp his feet, etc. We call it playing.

Ok.. on to some specifics:
Oral Therapy - We use the z-vibe to help break down his oral aversions.  We also use this vibrating Alligator.  You can find both of those things Here.  The Alligator we use on the outside of his mouth.  We brush from the ear to the mouth several times.  We also use it on the pressure points around his mouth. 

I am not the artist I claim to be... but here is a little diagram :)

 We use the z-vibe to help with his oral aversions by putting it inside his mouth. 
 All of these have been really useful for eating therapy.  We are not doing anything super cool with sucking, but we continue to look for the perfect cup to help Alexander to suck.  The biggest thing here is that we don't give up.  One day, I tried a Capri Sun ... to see if the straw size was good for Alexander and to see if he liked the taste of the Capri Sun.  He didn't and he didn't. But- that doesn't mean I'm going to give up. We are currently using this cup by Innobaby:

I'm also not afraid of a little gagging.  Before you call Child Protective Services, please allow me to explain. All children gag a little.  At some point or another - they have to be able to try to eat.  I watch Alexander like a hawk, but I try not to over react when he struggles.  This way he can learn how to manipulate food in his mouth.  And if he does gag... we just try again the next day. It is good for both of us to keep trying.

Physical Therapy - We use the Wingbo to work on arm strength.  This is an awesome tool to help Alexander with arm strength  and tummy time.
We now have a stander - we are using the Snug Seat Buffalo Stander (size 1).  We also have almost all the adaptations, so this is very easy for Alexander to get some exercise on.  Children who don't baer weight on their legs can be at increased risk for osteoporosis.  We use Sure Step AFO's (or DAFO's .. depending on what your therapist calls them) - but, of course, they had to be custom made for my little twinkie. 

Sometimes we use regular old jumperoos and old fashioned walkers.  Just to mix it up a little.  We put him chairs... all the time. I sit there with him and make sure he doesn't fall out.  We help him to sit with the boppy pillow behind him ~ so if he falls over, he has a place to land. 

Mulholland BabyWalk
We  are ordering this gait trainer from Mulholland.  We were debating between the Rifton mini (which has less support but can become a "walker" later) or a Bronco Gait Trainer size 0 (which has more support, but is very heavy.)  Our concern was about our health insurance covering some of this equipment back to back.  An AWESOME friend has offered to let us borrow the Rifton Mini when we meet next, so we are going to get a more supportive gait trainer now to help motivate Alexander to move.  Again, we feel it is imperative to take advantage of this time when the twins are "almost his age" as motivation for him to want to keep up with them.

One of the best things we have done for Alexander's muscle tone has been to learn how to use Kenisio tape on him.  There are OT's and PT's that are certified in kenesio taping.  In one session, they should be able to give you some basic taping ideas to increase tone.  A great way to spend a co-pay!

In the end... our best therapy strategy is - we don't give up.  We keep trying.  We try new things. We act like he can do more than what he has shown us he can do.... because ~ until he shows me differently, I can't give up on him at 1 year old.  This doesn't mean I'm in denial ~It just means I'm rooting for him all the way. ~

What therapy tools are you using? We want to know!!!

1 Comments:

At May 25, 2011 at 10:43 PM , Blogger Wildtree To You With Erin said...

Rooting for you guys!

 

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