Sunday, January 20, 2013

Changes in Therapy

Daniel at 14 months old

At the recommendation of the Cardiac Neurodevelopment Program at Children's Hospital Boston, we contacted Early Intervention about receiving therapy services for Daniel due to a mild weakness in his muscle tone.  He was evaluated by them and though he wasn't deficient enough to receive services, due to his medical history he was able to qualify.

So, for the past 8 months Daniel has been receiving weekly in home physical therapy sessions.  We have absolutely loved his therapist.  She is also a young mom of three children similar ages of our children.  She has been there every step of the way with Daniel helping him to learn how to roll over, crawl, walk, and maneuver the steps.  She was able to address a few little things about his development that I never would have known to look for or correct.  

Thankfully, Daniel now seems to be developmentally on track with his motor skills. Our current concerns are in the area of language development.  

Daniel, who is now 15 months old, has always been a very quiet, content, less vocal baby.  He is sort of saying "Momma" but it isn't a clear form of the word.  It sounds more like "Mamamamama".  Other than that one word, he hasn't said anything yet.  He doesn't even really babble with consonants. 

So, on Monday we had a speech specialist come assess him.  Immediately she identified his strengths and weaknesses.  According to her, Daniel is still lacking in some core strength, is a bit “floppy”, and holds his mouth open too much when in a relaxed state.  On the positive side though, he makes eye contact, he engages with people, and is interested in things.  Thus she said that he has the foundations for speech.

So, the current plan is to have one more session with our current therapist and then switch to a speech specialist.  As much as we will miss our current physical therapist, this new therapist will be great for Daniel.  She is full of energy and seems to have a great handle already on where he is and what she can do to help him.  She has already given me multiple suggestions for ways to encourage his communication… including using sign language, giving 2 choices, using touch cues, etc. 

We don't know why he has speech deficiencies.  Our other children we a little behind in speech as well.  In fact, our 3.5 year old is currently receiving speech therapy as well.  But in Daniel's case, we are more alert this deficiency due to his cardiac and surgical history.  Further more, he doesn't seem as engaged even in communicating even through sign language as much as the older two were by this age (he doesn't wave good-by yet). 

I view this as a positive development.  I am thankful that he is being promoted out of physical therapy and am thankful that the transition to speech therapy will be so quick and easy.  I am so thankful that trained professionals have involvement with Daniel so these kinds of deficiencies can be picked up early and intervention can begin immediately.

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