Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Therapizing Baby J

I'll be honest: therapy is a drag. I often have an uncooperative patient and a long list of objectives. It can be difficult to get the timing just right: Juliana needs to be in a good mood and Calvin needs to be occupied. It's a rare day that we accomplish everything that we should but this seems to be the norm for kids in therapy.

Juliana sees an OT once a week and a speech/feeding therapist every other week. I work with her every day practicing the various things that therapists have shown me. Some of the things that I try to do each day:
  • Tummy time - we do this three different ways: flat on the floor, elevated on top of a towel, and on the exercise ball. While she's in this position I have to pull out all the tricks to get her to look from side to side.
  • Rolling - she's been able to roll for quite some time, but she has a strong preference for her right side. We're trying to get her to roll to the left. She's not a fan.
  • Eye patching - I thought that this would be very easy but it's not. She doesn't like wearing the patch and if I don't keep her distracted she'll eventually pull it off. 
  • Feeding therapy - I feed her with a spoon several times a day. Sometimes we try the bottle too. While her oral aversion is very much improved she is still very sensitive and I am really careful when working with her. She has some low tone in her mouth and her eating skills are rudimentary (largely from lack of experience, in my opinion). Though we've seen a lot of progress in the past few months this type of therapy is very slow-going. Feeding disorders are complex. It's sometimes difficult for people to grasp why she won't eat - more on that later.
The above list is just some of what we do daily. Therapists are constantly adding to the list. It may not seem like much.... but trust me, it is. (Add in the fact that David is essentially not home from Monday - Thursday....)

One of the biggest downsides to needing so much therapy is that you start to see your child as a patient and not as a little person. I have to remind myself to play with her in a non-structured way. We spent this past weekend at the beach and I gave myself a break from therapy while we were there.  I did this because *I* needed a break but I didn't realize how beneficial it would be for all of us to just spend the weekend as a "normal" family. It was the first time in almost seven months that I didn't think too much about Juliana's various issues and therapies. Now I feel recharged and ready to tackle our long list of objectives. I am realizing that I need to take a break more often. Juliana was very happy and smiley while we were there - maybe she needed a break, too.

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