While most adults may think of physical therapy as ice packs and massages on some cushy doctor’s office style table, Ryker knows differently! For at least 1, and sometimes up to 3, hours daily Ryker participates in therapy. Ryker’s version of therapy is far from relaxing. Often times he is panting and grunting while straining to get into or maintain a position, with the occasional whine of disapproval thrown in there as well. Ryker has a lot of equipment to support him in progressing towards his goals. He looks like a little athlete when he dons his SPIO shirt, shorts and AFO’s. As you can see in the pictures, he likes to supervise when they are put on. He does his best therapy work when “Coach” Daddy is present. He also recently received a stander, which he and big bro love as a way to both fully vertically interact! We try to use his minimal daily allotment of stander time to ‘chase’ Daddy around the house and play hide and seek. ‘
Therapy work is ESSENTIAL for his continued development and progress. The Early Intervention therapies that he receives are home-based models. Meaning the participation of everyone around Ryker who cares for him during the hundreds of hours a week the therapist is NOT present in the home is expected and vital to his development. Everything the therapist works on with him are things we are expected to continue working on in their absence. Our presence during therapy sessions ensures we know what he is doing and how to do it with him ourselves. Things that come naturally and may be considered ‘basic skills’ for a typical child are huge mountains for Ryker to climb with his hypotonia and other issues. He needs every opportunity he can get to ‘work-out’ and practice his skills. Often times these opportunities are hard to come by in between feeds and naps, so when they present themselves they need to be capitalized on!
Ryker is so close to sitting up unassisted. He is also rapidly progressing at rolling over and tummy time- the most essential skill of all to strengthen his back muscles that are tied to all of his other developments! He can transfer toys from one hand to another and tries to chew on everything possible (his incoming molars may lend themselves to more motivation to do that). This past weekend Ryker waved ‘good-bye’ to his nurse! Our hearts burst with pride not only that he could do that movement, but that he was able to neurologically process that his nurse was saying goodbye to him, waving at him and asking him to wave bye-bye. This is just one example of an everyday thing that would go unnoticed for most families that is a huge deal for us. Actions like that make us dig in and work even harder to give Ryker every opportunity to work on attaining new skills and strength. Watching his progress, especially how happy it makes him to be a ‘big boy’ with his brother, is worth it all.