Ella is finishing up her most intense run of physical therapy yet. We committed to doing two visits per week for a total of four weeks. We only have one week left and the progress she has made has been unbelievable. As a parent, it is common to question certain decisions you make for your children (especially when they cost a lot of money). But each week Ella goes to therapy, I have more peace about our decision to send her. From the outside looking in, she is a very happy, well-adjusted baby. We do realize this, I promise. But she continues to fall behind in the area of motor development and we are simply trying to encourage her in this area. I frequently as myself "how much further behind would she be if we weren't doing this therapy at all?". My personal goal, and the goal of the physical therapist, has been to see her walking by 20-months. She is definitely making strides in that direction, but we have a few more weeks to see if it will happen.
Here is a glimpse of how every physical therapy session goes:
She cries. And cries. And cries a lot more. It is actually a HUGE step that she will now stop crying when I pick her up to comfort her and give her a little break at therapy. It seems small, but it is a huge victory. The second Trent (the PT) reaches for her, to make her start walking again, the tears start right back up again.
What you also might notice in that video is that, despite all of her efforts to get out of that terrible place, our daughter is standing without any assistance. Trent was prompting her to take some steps and she did. This was a really big deal! No matter how stressed out, or upset she can be, she will do the work for him and that is worth every pretty penny. When we are at home, she will giggle and sit right down if we try to get her to stand by herself.
This past week, we finally felt that Ella would cooperate enough to try some treadmill therapy. Earlier on in her PT, she wouldn't even straighten her legs for Trent. She would keep them drawn up toward her body when he would try to make her stand up in the walker. I would have to put her in the walker, since she would stand up for me, and then he would come up behind her to make her move. Trent would have liked to have done the treadmill therapy a long time ago, but he feared she would just draw her legs up and not actually walk. Now that her confidence is going up, when it comes to taking some steps, we gave the treadmill a shot. She did AMAZING! She walked two hundred feet. Watch:
We plan to finish out our week and then take a little break. We need to see if Ella can figure some of this out on her own. She is already cruising more and less fearful to let go when she is standing with support. As long as she doesn't regress, we will just move forward with her once-a-month PT appointments through Willamette ESD.