Today Mason’s physical therapist was over to work with us. Caylee’s big focus is getting me trained to do the therapy Mason needs. There are generally two therapy approaches, hers, or a medical intervention approach where the therapist is responsible for the majority of the work with the child and is in the home multiple times a week. While there is a place for both approaches, the parent-training approach is working for us! I like the perspective she brings during her visits because it can be hard for me to notice the progress he is making little by little. She comes in and looks at the whole forest for changes since her last visit, while I am down here in the middle of the trees (daily exercises) too close to notice some changes. She is always a great resource for different approaches to helping Mason meet goals we set. Overall he’s doing great and so we added a few new exercises to the day’s work.
These sound all fancy and difficult but are really easy. I hold above and below a joint and press the bone towards the joint gently 8-10 times. The pressure and movement fires off messages to his brain that things are happening and in fact can happen in these areas. It prepares his body for weight bearing activities like pushing up on his arms. She suggested I do joint compressions on his wrist, elbow, and shoulder joints as the first step in PT every time I work with him throughout the day.
I am going to apply it to his legs as well because we simply don’t know what nerve impulses are or are not getting through from there. The more input his brain gets, the more it can build pathways to work with his legs. His hips will benefit from the input for certain because we know he uses those/has some feeling. It won’t hurt his knees or ankles, and may provide some benefit over time. The brain is a remarkable organ that regenerates and comes up with alternate ways to do things when there has been a neural injury. If the input we do makes a difference, great. If not, at least we’ve tried it!
When he’s sitting while we’re holding his arms I’ll move him backwards like I am going to lay him down. This leaning back posture will force him to work on muscles that help maintain head control. His extensors are still overcompensating for things a bit and so we’re going to try and get around them this way so he can work other neck muscles.
Use his small boppy pillow in front of him around his waist. Help support him in using his arms/hands to push on the pillow and hold himself up. This cuts the amount of gravity he’s fighting against versus trying a full pushup while on his belly, so it’s a bit easier. It will develop those muscles so his tummy pushups become more possible, as well as giving him the basic idea of how to hold himself up when sitting later on.
Prop on straight arms on belly
He’s not strong enough to do it himself, so until then we will help him into position, doing most of the work. During this we also can give gentle bumps/vibration through his arms to stimulate his muscles.
Mason was quite put out with everyone making him work so hard today and was asleep as soon as we would leave him alone. I’m hoping he gets a nice long nap!