Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Keep on Movin'

Last weekend, I took E to work with me. She booked it to the Coffee Ladies.

She still prefers to keep her weight on the left side, but we're working on it. Her confidence with the loftstrands is getting pretty good!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

PT payoff: local playground

I took E out with a new toy today. I bought her a Kinderbike, b/c I thought she would (eventually) be able to do it. We tried it two different times, about 20 minutes apart. She doesn't really get it yet; she knows to kick her feet out and "walk" them forward, and she knows to sit on the bike seat, but she doesn't know how to do them at the same time. My goal is to start with rolling back and forth, and standing while rocking the bike side to side. I think once the feeling isn't so novel, she'll be able to engage her legs better--right now her inner thighs are too tight for her to move well when she is on the bike.

Her reward for being so patient with me was going to the park. She has to get out of the car (I'll post a vid of that, I keep forgetting) and walk to the park with her crutches. There is a pretty big obstacle from the parking lot to the park, however.


We've been working on going up steps with crutches...SHOWTIME!

She can now navigate a lot of our playground by herself (but one has to stay close in case she falls). E loves to climb, and once we were through the structure and the monkey bars, she wanted to go swing. Here is she trying to get there herself. She is walking on mulch, up a slight hill to the swings.

She can also pump the swing herself to keep moving. Usually she is good at this; today, she really wanted to swing high. Right after this vid, she straightened her legs (and her torso, unfortunately) at the wrong time and nearly fell off the swing (a first).

The last part of our playground trip was the slide. As I've written before, E hasn't been able to stay sitting up while descending a slide--I guess she is so excited she stiffens up. She also does this when she's throwing objects in a sitting position, so we've been working on leaning forward while throwing in ring-sit. I think we are making progress; at the beginning of this slide, she stayed sitting for a little while--more than she ever has.

Great job E!

Buddy Basketball

This weekend we went to visit family in Maryland. Elena loves "sports", so she entertained everyone by playing "basketball". Her throwing is actually getting pretty good! I am trying to get her to bear more weight on her right foot, and try to keep that leg straight.

We also got to spend some time at the playground down the street. Typically E only walks (poorly) on a smooth, flat surface. She's game to try anything, though, with a parent behind her. Here she is navigating a flat playground on tire mulch. I think this would have been even better with her old AFOs (she keeps popping out of her new DAFOs, which she is wearing here).

There are some more playground videos on The Doodle Youtube channel.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Le Scoot

Today E said she wanted to ride her scooter. And I had to, Scooter at the Hospital it was!

Here is E rounding the corner to The Life Less Ordinary Hallway. She has trouble with her right knee collapsing, but she is trying very hard to keep it in-line with her foot. This is a HUGE improvement from the first time she was on the scooter.

Scooting, right leg push--LOOK OUT, she's fast!

Clip showing right and left leads

After all that scooting and a cool drink, she's on the move after chatting with The Coffee Ladies.

Shout Out: Lowe's Kid Builder Clinic

Saturday I took E to her first Kid Builder Clinic. She got to use a real hammer (adult size), and make a wooden project (this one was a drum). She LOVED it!

The children sit on the floor in the store to do their project--this was a little difficult, since E had her braces and shoes on, which makes Taylor-sitting difficult (and then using her hands on top of that). She sat with a little lean, but overall she did well. She did almost whack her fingers a couple of times (Mommy to the rescue!).

E singing a song about how cool drums are

PT recap: working with her new DAFOs

At PT Theresa had Elena do a lot of her normal exercises wearing with her new DAFOs. I had low expectations, b/c her feet will feel very different, and her shoes are much heavier/bigger b/c to accomodate her new braces she had to go up a full shoe size.

Overall, not too bad. She spent a lot of time doing steps with her loftstrands (not shown) and going up and down the ramp.

Note how far out she puts her crutch when going up the ramp--that's so she can put her weight on her left leg (dominant leg) while doing most of the work.

Here is E walking in her new DAFOs. She might have moved a little better if she wasn't holding something. Still--she made it!

New AFOs

Two weeks ago Elena got her new AFOs. They're DAFOs, actually. Our orthotist recommended we switch to this brand b/c he thought E would stay better in the "foot cage".


Well...I had my doubts. First of all, the entire inner portion of the DAFO is soft, and it slides into a harder shell--this was completely unlike her last pair [UPDATE LINK]. Once she put them on, she said they felt good and she liked them.

We've been trying to work our way into the switch, but it's been difficult. She says her right heel hurts sometimes--I believe she is coming out of the brace starting with the right heel, and it's rubbing her heel against the brace.

She also came home from school completely out of her DAFOs--still wearing them, but basically with only her tippy toes in the heel cups. In otherwords, the braces as is do NOT keep her heels from coming up and her feet escaping the braces. Granted, she was probably playing on the floor when she started slipping out (we hadn't had much of a problem at home with this) but the fact that she was walking so oddly and in pain was very upsetting.

I'm going to give these DAFOs a good solid try...but I have to admit, I like the way her old style performs.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cuevas Medek Exercise

I have just been informed by our physical therapist that Simona DeMarchi, a Certified Cuevas Medek practitioner is coming HERE! She will be coming to train therapists with this method at our local therapy center.

The course will be from November 30th-December 4th.

Unfortunately, Simona does not live here, but perhaps soon one of our therapists will have completed their training and we can receive CME services.

Even bigger news--they will be using E as a practice model!

There's more--if YOU are interested in your child being a model for this session, contact me. I will route your contact information to the coordinator here. They are particularly looking for children with poor head/neck control. There is no cost for the CME treatment for your child, and parents are welcome to observe the laboratory portion of the course.

If you are a therapist and are interested in taking this course, it is a 4-day course with an optional 5th day for clinical practice. The course will be taught by Simona DeMarchi, PT, CME IV practitioner. Contact her at for further information.

I am very excited about this! November 30th is right around the corner!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

PT recap: An Hour Without AFOs

Theresa worked with E sans AFOs today. She did pretty well--better than I would have expected!

The idea behind this approach is to challenge her balance/movement by giving her support further and further away from her core, while allowing E to (hopefully) initiate or complete posturing or movement herself. The goal today was to try to get her to stand up tall, with minimal support (at the ankle). Since she can already keep a standing position (with her AFOs) (for a while, but not indefinitely), Theresa also wanted to see how E reacted to getting from the floor, to a squat, to a standing position. She can do this when wearing her shoes/AFOs (with poor form) occasionally.

E wanted to use a ride-on toy; she's done this before in bare feet, with some success. Still, she is taller now, and with the shoes on the movement is usually labored. This is the best I've seen her do it in shoes!

Overall I am very pleased with this. I'm not a total convert, but I definitely see the benefit in working without AFOs. We'll see how she progresses in a few weeks--with exercise and "sneaker time" at home. We're going to start with 10 minutes a day of work, and then maybe some more of just playtime without the AFOs on. I still want her wearing her AFOs and shoes the majority of the day.