Friday, March 30, 2007


This week we've made a few more strides in development. Emily has been bending her knees more and gets herself into a crawling position most of the time as I set her down on the blanket to play. I've seen her get into that position a couple of times on her own, but she's still not sure what to do once she's there.

Yesterday, I saw her feed herself for the first time (on purpose). When we eat meals in the high chair we usually wrap up by trying some finger foods. We've been using the snack puffs and they usually get so sticky from her slobbery hands that they stick and eventually work their way into her mouth. Despite this, I haven't seen her intentionally put one in her mouth on purpose. However, yesterday we had her first (and soon to be last) Occupational Therapy session. They used some Cheerios and voila! into the mouth they went after only a few failed attempts. (We'll be adding more Cheerios to our diets soon!)

I say "soon to be last" OT session because I was told yesterday that Emily really doesn't seem all that far behind and seems to be tracking on target for her age group. At our next OT appointment I will be given an overview of things to work on with Emily at home.

This afternoon we had our first Physical Therapy session to see if Emily had catch up work to do in that area. We found out that yes, she has a ways to go. Her muscles in her shoulders, waist, back, hamstrings, and thighs, etc. are unusually tight and she's been finding other ways to get around without using the correct muscles. Her tailbone tends to curve under her when she sits so that's why she hasn't been sitting up very well yet. Her feet also tend to be very tense and when we stand her up she's usually on her tippy toes. Her physical therapist, Laurie, taught me a bunch of different things that we need to work on every day to help her stretch out her muscles. Fortunately, Emily is pretty layed back and lets me work with her on these.

1. When we sit her down on the floor, we're supposed to help her roll her bottom towards her back so it's squarely under her.
2. Every time we lay her down for a diaper change we're supposed to sit her down first and then help her twist to get an arm behind her before laying her down.
3. Also when we change her diaper, we're supposed to hold down one shoulder and using her leg, twist her trunk in the opposite direction and repeat with the other side.
4. Tummy time is the most highly recommended form of play... as opposed to laying on back, jumping, rocking, etc.
5. When we sit on the floor with her, we're also supposed to have her sit on one of our feet or legs and reach down to the carpet to pick up her toys.
6. When she stands, we are supposed to make sure her feet are flat on the floor and that her body is centered over her feet so her tendons stretch out and she develops a good center of gravity.

At our next visit we'll work on adding more mobility to her spine.

I'm happy to know that the problems she has are all correctable as far as we know but it's also frustrating to learn of all these new problems. I wasn't aware that her muscles were so tense and that many of her behaviors are learned from being so immobile in her crib at the babyhouse. She overextends her neck so she can see behind her because she wasn't able to roll over for so long. Doing this seems to work the wrong muscles so it's much easier to lean back than it is to lean forward... which is why she isn't nearly as flexible as most babies. Last month she finally discovered she had knees and now, at 10 months old, she's just now flexible enough to touch her toes and grab onto them occasionally.

Fortunately, she has a loving family and extended family and we'll all work hard to help her catch up. These types of fundamental skills are the building blocks for other skills that will come with time. The goal is to help her now so she doesn't develop more problems down the road.

We have also been working on some sign language. We've been working on the word "more" while we're eating because it's a little more appropriate than grunting when you aren't getting fed fast enough. ;-) The funny part is that the sign for "more" is essentially made by tapping your fingertips from both hands together. Emily will do the sign with a little prompting but she clasps her hands together under her chin like she's ready to pray... or beg for food. If you didn't know better, you might really wonder about us! Hehehe.

Anyway, please keep us in prayer. We pray that Emily will make a smooth and speedy progression through the PT sessions and that we can remember all the stuff we're supposed to do to help her out.


1 comment:

Amy Kramp said...

I miss Emily....oh wait! I shall very soon see her :)

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