Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Occupational Therapy

Well, I just got good and scared by this morning's appointment. We met with Elle's occupational Therapist and Elle showed some signs that were a little concerning. This guy basically works with fine motor skills which involve mostly the hands. For starters, her left hand is behind the times. With her right, she grasps small things with her thumb and forefinger, but her left still palms objects and at this stage, they are supposed to be equal. The jerky, excited thing she does with her hands and holding them up all the time is "atypical behavior". She is really hesitant and slow to grasp things (I told him about her 1st birthday cake and how it took her a long time to dig in). On a day to day basis, when you hand her a toy she waves her hands for a while before attempting to take it (crackers too). He told me that sometimes damage can happen (such as the cord at birth incident) that can cause problems with nerve connections getting from her brain to her hands, etc. I of course want to know the ramifications of all of this and how it could impact her life into adulthood. All he can tell me right now is that she is still very young and it's hard to say. He did say (and I suppose this was supposed to be comforting), but at this point he doesn't see any reason that she wouldn't be able to walk. We were left with some assignments until we see him again.

-The first thing he wondered about is her eyesight. It's possible it is not good and could be hindering her development, so I am supposed to get her eyes checked.

-We also need to work on putting things in containers. She needs to put things in buckets or whatever is around and take them back out.

-He also wants me to hand her toys with just a small piece of it available for her to grab so she uses her thumb and finger more to develop that skill.

-We need to have more tummy time and I am supposed to put toys out of reach ahead of her and help her to army crawl towards the toy, so she can understand that she can move and hopefully start wanting to.

-I am also to put her in the crawling position, up on her hands and knees (which is the same thing the other lady told us to do).

So, yeah- I'm scared. I'm scared my little girl is going to struggle her whole life to do simple things we all take for granted. I am comforted that at a young age, even though she's behind, she is able to do many things. I can't believe we are looking at a worse case scenario, and I have to remind myself not to freak out and speculate too much. But as a mom, your heart bleeds a little just thinking about your child having to struggle more then normal children have to struggle, cause childhood and adulthood is already a struggle. I just love her so much and she is such a sweet little spirit and she's so fun. Dang she's fun, I could just play with her all day. But right now, the fun sounds I hear from her in the other room are sounding like not so fun and maybe a nap is more in order, so I better go. I hope this isn't too depressing, but I figured I would record my thoughts fresh from that meeting, whether that is a good thing or not. Keep us in your prayers and thoughts- we may just need them.


Ami said...

Emily - I can't speak to you as a parent in this or a similar situation. I can't even speak as a "professional" when it comes to development at this age. But, I can tell you what we tell parents all the time in my job. We're constantly having situations that are hard to deal with... hard to hear... hard to share... hard to imagine the future... etc. I will say that, overwhelmingly, the earlier issues (academic, development, speech, etc.) are seen and addressed, the higher the likelihood is of success. Of course, no promises can be made that all is going to be perfect and there aren't going to be struggles that you are going to face (and that Elinor is going to face) in working through all of this. But, hopefully it is encouraging to know these things... First, you are doing the right thing for your daughter. Second, we ALL have areas that are a struggle. Some are more "apparent" than others, but we all have them. The keys are learning strategies that help us, and you're doing that for Elinor now. I'm know it's an overwhelming place to be; I've sat alongside many, many parents in a similar place. But, the other side is so rewarding. ((()))

Emily said...

Thanks Ami- that helped. I forgot you work with kids with learning disabilities (is that right?) Something along those lines anyway- she really IS young and had I not pushed a little, we would still be cruising along how we were, so I'm glad I did, since she is now getting help by people who know what they are doing and it's good to know that the earlier you intervene, the better success she'll have. Also talking to Rob when he got home helped. He has a way of being the voice of reason and grounding me when I freak out. He is no professional, but he has worked a lot with people with disabilities in the past (not babies though), but he doesn't see any alarming signs in Elle on that account. We don't think Elle is suffering from anything she won't be able to overcome with some work and time. She is slow to do things, but once she gets something down, she seems to have it down like any other child (just late). We were also watching her play with her favorite toy of the week (a plastic lobster) and she was pinching it's antenna with her thumb and finger of her left hand like crazy (I don't know if there is a difference between picking something up and handling it though). Also, she isn't ALWAYS hesitant to get her hands to grab something if she wants it. We don't see the hesitation EVERY time. When there is food in front of her, she is quicker then any kid I've ever seen, getting her hands on it and into her mouth. In fact I will record a little of lunch today and post it.

Pops said...

Well, I know the following: 1. Ells could not have a better set of parents to care for her and help her if she has any problems in development. 2. She will always be loved by those that meet her and know her. 3: Her grandpa has and will pray for her and I know that my prayers have been answered at times by the Great Father in Heaven.

Take heart and love the health and cuteness that she has. She will always be special.

Haley said...

Yeah I agree with everyone, she may have some obstacles and things that she needs help with but she will be even stronger after! Definitely early intervention by professionals is the best way to help her. I truly don't think that any problems she may have will be permanent. Some hard work and practice will really pay off! You guys are great parents, keep it up. Excited to see that little cutie eat some lunch. :)

Emily said...

She didn't dig in to lunch today with her usual gusto, so I'll try dinner.

The Holdaway Family said...

It is so hard to see your children struggle. My sister has daughter, Elsie, who wasn't sitting up by nine months. Her and her husband brought this up to the pediatrician. They ran test but nothing was conclusive. They finally slapped the diagnosis of "cerebral Palsy" on little Elsie. It frustrated my sister and her husband becuase it was such an umbrella diagnosis. She has recieved occupational, physical and speech therapies. She is now four years old and even though she has a lot of struggles she has come along way. You can read her blog if you want

What ever happens to Elinor she has the best parents possible who are willing to get her the help she needs. I can see the wonderful spirit around her and she is a blessing from our Heavenly Father! I will keep you and your sweet baby in my prayers!

B said...

Well, one positive I thought of is that little kids in glasses are adorable.

I am also looking forward to a clip of her eating.

I know with Matt sometimes I worry about his brain too. I love it so much, but just knowing that he struggles with things like listening and reading. It makes me sad to think that those things are harder for him, but we all know that he's worked through some junk to become a mostly perfect and wonderful adult. We all struggle with some things; Elle's might be a little more apparent, but she's such an awesome babes already that she'll probably overshadow the rest of us in absolute cuteness and fun, even if she is terribly lazy and uses her feet as hands for the rest of her life.


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