Thanks to Instagram, I am now aware that March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month. Perhaps I should up my special needs parenting game and get with the program!
William is doing lots of new things lately, which is very exciting for my husband and I, as progress, no matter how slow or small, is the goal. In the last few weeks William has begun to climb on things, like us, the dog, large toys, and get into the “high knees” position while supporting himself with his hands. He always is so pleased with himself when he does this and we do our best to notice and make a big deal of it, as he craves positive reinforcement. He also likes to pull up from “high sitting” to standing while wearing his AFOs and using the crib rails as his pulling point. We practice this a few times a week and he is gaining a lot of control in the downward phase of the motion, not simply plunking down on the bench. As with lifting weights, it’s all about the slow muscle control.
The little red scooter is still a huge favourite of William’s and he has become quite fearless, running into things on purpose and spinning in circles. His core strength is really improving from using the scooter, as is his ability to move forward as opposed to laterally; he had trouble with this in the beginning. He continues to use his Pacer indoors at daycare and at home, and his Bronco outside at daycare, where the paths are cleared for outside play in the playground. Unfortunately winter in Canada brings many mobility challenges and he has only gotten out in the Bronco a handful of times at home, so we look forward to spring when he can use it regularly.
We did have some nice weather recently, and we took William out in his jeep several times, which he absolutely loved. He is a surprisingly good driver for a toddler, and impressed us with his ability to straddle a football in the schoolyard several times last weekend. This was all his own doing, and again, he was quite pleased with himself.
We are keeping up with Auditory Verbal Therapy (speech therapy) weekly, and William is testing quite well in comprehension given his auditory age. He still does not speak, but is very vocal and can use his iPad and the Go Talk Now app to communicate. This poses a challenge for me, as he is not physically able to get his iPad, so I need to have it available for him to use when he needs it; this is something I need to improve on. We are on the wait list for Augmentative Communication services at the therapy centre, and I look forward to seeing how they will meet his communication needs when we finally get into the program. We are currently working on literacy and numeracy, shapes and colours and understanding of prepositions and verbs. William is such a smart little man and is picking up on these concepts quite well. It is difficult to schedule in “intentional play”, and this is another area in which I need to improve. Our wonderful AV Therapist loans us her toys and tools, and provides materials to continue learning on our own, and I want to take full advantage of this.
Yesterday we went bowling with friends, and William really enjoyed this outing, as did I (you can see some pics on my Instagram feed- not uploaded yet!). He loved rolling the balls down the ramp, and running around the enormous facility checking out the lanes, arcade and restaurant. We really need to get out like this more often. For those with kids of any ability, how do you plan and schedule intentional play and fun and stimulating outings for your kiddos that everyone enjoys?