These days we have therapy three mornings a week. One morning we have OT. Another morning we have Speech. And the third morning we have both PT and OT. Fortunately these last two sessions overlap a bit so they are not two completely different appointments.
Calvin comes with me to the OT and PT appointments. We watch these sessions through a one-way mirror (Juliana is typically perfectly content with her therapist and I feel very comfortable with their overall philosophy, so I am happy to sit outside the room as an observer. My presence would really distract her otherwise).
We've also been seeing our new speech therapist for about a month now. I was really dreading adding this therapy back to our schedule but so far it has turned out to be absolutely wonderful and very productive. Calvin doesn't attend these sessions as I think it's difficult to do speech with a sibling present. It's been decided that these mornings will be spent with Grandma and Grandpa, definitely a win-win for all of us.
This level of therapy is perfectly manageable right now. We still have two days a week where we don't have to be anywhere (perhaps not entirely true as we do still see an audiologist, an orthopedist, etc.)
So, how is Juliana doing will all this therapy? During our last speech session our therapist said that Juliana's feeding skills are at age-level. While this wasn't totally surprising to me, it was still pretty amazing to hear someone else say it! A year ago she was probably only eating a few ounces a day, and even just a month ago I was struggling to get her to accept certain textures. Now she is amazingly caught up with her peers. I no longer have to distract her to get her to eat, I no longer have to feed her myself. This is another sign of improved sensory processing. She is eating very few pureed foods these days, there are only a few instances where I feed her these foods mostly for my own convenience.
All of these feeding progress is great as it has made things easier on me. But what's even better is the clues that it is giving me into what's going on in her brain. I'm not a speech pathologist and obviously my expertise has been related to only one patient. But from all my research online and in conversations with therapists, it seems to safe that very often mishaps in the brain will manifest themselves in many different ways, feeding issues very often being one of them. A child who is not neurotypical may aspirate, gag, swallow food whole, may not chew properly, may have an extremely self-limited diet, may not be able to self-regulate food. A child with serious sensory issues usually is a child with serious eating issues. Juliana is moving past these issues at what is certainly a lightening fast pace. (And yes, I credit GAPS for this success).
|Yet another picture of Juliana chowing down. Sausage patty this time.|
All of the therapists have noticed her fine motor skills. Sometimes her hands lack the strength to do something (light switches are still difficult for instance) but when it comes to other tasks she's quite adept. Case in point: she has enjoyed playing with Calvin's legos for some time now. She really tries to put two pieces together (admittedly difficult, I remember that even Calvin had a difficult time with this initially). She enjoys taking things apart piece by piece. She recently discovered that we have little hats and helmets for the lego men to wear and she loves putting these on their heads and taking them off again.
|Admiring her creation.|
What else is in store for Juliana? It truly seems that the sky is the limit. Next up? Crawling.