We had some exciting news from Zoe's OT, Judy yesterday. Judy does both OT and PT with Zoe once a week. Gavin and I do an intensive therapy routine with Zoe five days a week and her teachers at daycare do a light therapy routine when she is there two days a week. We started a standing exercise (we do some Medic exercises with Zoe for those who are familiar with Physio) last month and Zoe has already picked it up (amazing for Zoe to pick up on a new skill in a month!) Zoe has been doing really great at the standing exercise and I was very excited to show Judy how well things are going (Judy had been away for the last two weeks). Judy was so surprised at how quickly Zoe has picked up this exercise and I could see the excitement on Judy's face. Judy started talking out loud about what the next steps are and said in an excited voice, "You know what this means right?" I didn't really understand where she was going with it, so I just said "Sure" and laughed. Judy said, "This means that Zoe can weight bear. This means that Zoe has the bone, joint, and muscle strength to weight bear. Which means that Zoe will walk some day. It is going to take a lot of work and time, but Zoe will walk." I don't think I really let this sink in until today. I guess Gavin and I have always assumed Zoe will walk. When we bought our house we planned for worst case scenario and went with a one floor bungalow just in case Zoe needs a wheelchair or walker. But we have always been hopeful that Zoe will walk independently one day even if she needs a walker or wheelchair initially. So, now that I have had time to think about it- Judy's statement is quite exciting. It is great to hear that Zoe will walk some day. We know it is a long way off for Zoe and will take a lot of work, but it is very encouraging to hear that she will walk. And it is also encouraging to hear that all of the work we are doing with Zoe is paying off. It is exhausting doing constant therapy with Zoe and sometimes frustrating as we see other kids are able to achieve skills without the intense therapy. Zoe is one of those kids though that needs constant intervention. So, it is nice to know that what we are doing is benefiting Zoe and that it will pay off in the long run.
The other exciting thing that Zoe is doing is she is starting to move on her belly when doing tummy time. She kind of spins in a circle at this point (a very slow circle) but it is great to see she is moving for toys. She can roll onto her left and right sides from her back but still can not quite get all the way onto her belly. So, we use a wedge to give her some help with gravity and she is able to roll all the way over. This way she gets the feeling of rolling and it will create that mind/body memory which helps her seek that stimulation as she builds muscle strength.
So, what's next? Now that Zoe understands how to stand (with a lot of support and balance from us holding her), we will work on building her endurance. Currently, she can hold the stand for about 10 seconds. We will work on slowly increasing that time and her endurance. We will also continue to work on all the other skills (rolling, sitting, banging, clapping, eating, sign language, etc).
Another interesting observation Judy made is that she feels Zoe's language development is being held back by her fine motor skills. It is becoming obvious that Zoe understands a lot more signs than she is able to sign. Her speech therapist is coming in two weeks to start work with a "button" that Zoe can hit and it will speak a phrase. We will continue with the sign language while exploring technology to help Zoe express herself. Zoe loves when we sign with her and do hand over hand signing (she smiles and laughs) so at least that is one of the therapies she can enjoy.
I will try to get Gavin to record and post some video of Zoe standing. We are so proud of her!
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