Last weekend Sadie did an intensive therapy session with Michelle at Movement Lesson. We've seen Michelle a number of times in the last 6 months or so, but when we asked her she said she's really seen the most progress not when children come weekly, but when they come 8-10 times, twice a day, for 4-5 days. So we scheduled to see her over President's Day weekend. 9:00 and 3:00 Friday-Monday. It was a lot of car riding. Sadie did a good job. It wasn't until our very last session that she had to take a nurse-nap break. When we first started going, Sadie needed this kind of break every session.
I've talked about this kind of therapy before, so I won't get into that. (you can read about it here) But I do want to talk about Sadie's progress through this therapy. Michelle worked a lot on her back. Many things are related to our spine and its curvature and how well it's supported. A lot of Sadie's inability of holding her head up comes with the rolling of her back. It's like she is a little potato bug and when she gets tired or mad she just curls up! Michelle spent a lot of time teaching her how to sit up straight and hold her head up high.
She focused a lot on sitting with Sadie. She worked a lot with her hips, trying to release the tightness there that keeps her from being able to support herself. By about half way through the weekend, Sadie was sitting (supported, of course) cross-legged! She also spent some time making efforts to uncurl Sadie's feet. It's interesting how we take something like sitting for granted, but for Sadie it's so hard because she spends so much time curling up like a potato bug! But sitting is so important. When Sadie can sit, it will open a world of possibilities for us...in the tub, in her high chair, in the stroller, in the grocery cart at the store, even just being on the floor playing with toys! I am really anxious for Sadie to be strong enough to sit.
We have noticed a lot of improvement in Sadie's trunk stability after these 8 sessions with Michelle, and so have Sadie's other therapists. All of them have really felt like she can hold her head up better and for a longer amount of time. Michelle also did this thing with Sadie where she would rock her back on her back, with her feet over her head, then rock her forward and use the momentum to propel her into either sitting or even standing. I had never seen her stand so straight and so tall before this weekend. It was obvious she was learning to use those core muscles to straighten, intead of curl, that spine.
I think though what has improved the most since seeing Michelle for this intensive therapy session, is Sadie's vision. Weird, right? It's supposed to be movement therapy. But it's neurological, which is the root of her visual impairment, so it effects and improves this area too. Sadie's vision has been "on" more and more during the day. She seems to be tracking objects better when in front of her face, and she is able to fix on something for a longer period of time. She seems to also be better at using her vision and doing something else at the same time. Because her brain function is limited, it's hard for Sadie to do two things at once...like scream and hold her head up, or use her vision and swallow her food, etc. However, she's been using that vision this week while on her tummy holding her head up, in sitting position, while eating, while nursing, and in the car.
Here's a video of what Sadie looks like when she's using her vision. You'll notice she's trying really hard to focus on me, you can tell by the flutter of her eyelids. She is so concerned with trying to see me she can't even pause to give me a smile...usually once she focuses on me, she will grin from ear to ear.
And finally, after seeing Michelle for these 4 days last weekend, we've noticed a change in Sadie's attitude. I don't know if it's part of the neurological maturity process, or if she's gained more confidence in herself, but she has learned to keep it together. Some might call this self-soothing, we call it not losing control. Sadie gets upset, frustrated, overstimulated, etc. and she cries...because this is how babies communicate. In the past, if whatever the issue is isn't resolved in a matter of seconds, it will turn into inconsolable screaming. Insert car screaming here. But just this week, we have noticed that Sadie can get over it on her own without losing control, and we love this new development...mostly because it may lead to the end of car screaming, but also because we are seeing our little helpless screamy baby turn into a child who is realizing that she can communicate with us.