Friday, May 7, 2010

Ok, there are those times that I feel the deep urge to warn you that your heart might totally melt! And this is one of those times.

Seriously, prepare to be CUTED out! See? Am I right or what?!

I thought I would give you a little glimpse of what Gabbi Girl does in therapy.... all THREE therapies!

This is actually something she has been doing for some time. She absolutely LOVES to write!

I think that is actually being done in the speech therapy room but not positive. I love the little pint-sized tables and chairs we have too!

Anyhoo. I KNOW this one is in the speech room. One of our Speechies is not very busy in the Shreveport clinic, so she drives over every Wednesday to just get the feel of how we do things in West Monroe (aka "home base") and to work with our Speech Therapy department head, Ashley. She also gets the added reward of working with my precious angel, Gabbi!

I kinda figured they'd been doing something like this in therapy, because she has been pretend feeding me things lately. Asking me, "BIte?" And then pretend smacking her lips as if she is eating. The cutest little thing!

The kid also LOVES books. I love how she has her head resting in her hand while she is "reading" this one.

And bubbles, oh, bubbles! What kid doesn't love them? I have to admit, though, this is one of those things I deny my kids. I hate the sticky mess. But as you will soon see.... they get plenty of them in therapy anyway!

"Bubbles", "Pop", "More"... all come from playing with bubbles! I learned from my speech therapist that "b", "p", "d" and "m" are some of the first sounds a baby makes. They are easily made at the front of the mouth, and as far as oral motor skills, they are pretty basic, requiring mainly a lip movement vs. movement of the tongue which is a finer oral motor activity. (Think about it... lots of kids lack the "r" or the "l" saying instead, "w" for "r" and "y" for "l". Now say them to yourself and see that much more tongue action required for the latter in each situation. ) Learn something new everyday don't ya?!
Btw. That is why I became "mo" instead of Aunt Melanie! An easy consonant and a vowel. Vs. that nasty ol' "l" sound! Ok, I'll move on!
It took Gabbi quite some time to use her lips well. She only began puckering about a week ago to give kisses. And now I can say, "give me a 'mah'". She puckers up and says, "mmmmmm-mah!" Sweetest thing ever!
This straw is used to teach a kid to put her lips together as well as to teach suction, of course. There is a series of straws, each a little longer and harder than the previous. Gabbi has moved right on up the ladder!

Any speech therapists out there, chime right on in. I am just tellin' it like I learned it. I do not have the experience to be talking too much about that area. Although, looks like I just talked about it a lot!
Next up.... OT!
Kristi was her occupational therapist assistant today.
Look more bubbles! See, now why would I bother with the clean up when there are plenty of bubble opportunities at the office!
Working with Gabbi in this position creates an opportunity for her to work all of the muscles of her back and hips in extension against gravity. Think P90x. Not using resistance other than her own body weight. And by having her on her belly to lift up, the task is even harder.
Gabbi's primary goal is to reach out with both hands at the same time to pop the bubbles. This facilitates full spinal extension and builds a good sense of midline.
I told my PT compadres today that I caught Gabbi Girl sitting in a wide straddle position for the first time EVER this week! I know this doesn't sound like a biggie to most, but Gabbi has always been a very asymmetrical kid. Remember her neck (torticollis) and her eyes (crossed for her first year!)? Well, she also always sits to the side, with one leg turned in and the other out. Only this week am I seeing some really neat midline sitting from my little princess.

Yay, therapists!
Look at Gabbi studying this puzzle piece. I am so glad to see this. I will admit (now) that I was also quite concerned about Gabbi's cognitive abilities early on too! Thus, 7 therapy sessions per week.

I can honestly say that I am feeling much, much more confident about her abilities now. I think she will be just fine.
Things don't necessarily come easy for her, but I see her processing things a little more quickly and easily.
It may surprise you, too, to know that a poor sense of midline of the body will contribute to poor cognitive development. In our clinic, we have watched kids with dyslexia perform better in the classroom when we work with a kid in PT, having them perfect jumping jacks, skipping, and using one side of their body (arms) with the opposite side of the body (legs). When their little bodies are working well, with organized information from their brains, then, the smaller,
but finer activities, like reading and writing become better too!
Have you learned just about all you want to know about therapy?!

Tough! More to come!
Remember me saying Gabbi couldn't turn off the light switch when I lift her up and let her try (every single time we leave/ enter a room!!!)? well, this little toy is a good trainer for some funcitonal activities, (like the light switch) to come! This includes buckles, snaps, zippers, opening tops off toys/ juice, etc.
But better than ALLLLLL of that is that I get a cute little Mother's Day gift from my baby girl!
Thank you, Miss Kristi and Miss Patchez for having a fun little activity for the kids to do that gives moms a fun little momento. I will have to post mine later. It is on the fridge right now!
This is actually an activity that is used for some kids who don't tolerate a variety of textures on their hands. Gabbi used to be in that club. Thankfully, she has graduated from that group! She does much better with keeping her hands down adn tolerating touch input into her hands, face and feet.

They used all these tiny little handprints and made me a flower with the hands as the petals all around. A collective "awwwwww".
And last but not least. In fact, best of all.... (remember I AM a PT!), there is physical therapy!
Miss Jessica is helping Gabbi Girl learn to pull herself into an average sized chair. This is paying off, because Gabbi is FINALLY dropping herself off the side of the bed, as well as tyring to pull herself onto the bed using the sheets to pull up.
This is yet another way I know she is gaining an awareness of midline and building strength.
Looks like Gabbi Girl got right to work in the waiting room. See those cute things on the wall? I had those put on the wall after seeing them in the waiting area of D clinic at St. Jude. That was the solid tumor clinic and the one Jake went to a very regular basis.
Gabbi works on a therapy ball for building her core and learning to use her body for balance. Tonight when we were on the river with Don, it was clear that she needs to continue with this core work, as she could not even sit herself up with a life jacket on. Odd, huh?! Are you reading this, therapists? Keep it up.
I'd say we have the perfect ball for every sized kid!
And, well, that concludes our day at therapy with Gabbi. Hope you enjoyed it and learned a little more about why we do PT, OT, and Speech.
My little bird has come so far, and continues to demonstrate more and more organization in her physicality, maturity of thinking, and ability to play freely and independently. I want to take a minute to tell all of her therapists how much I appreciate them. My baby is going to do just fine... thanks to their dedication and good work.
Oh, and thanks for all those nice comments about my house. Made me feel good that so many agreed with my color choices. I appreciate all of you who commented!


Denise said...

WOW! Thanks for that awesome lesson(s) in PT! I really, really enjoyed learning a few new things.

Unknown said...

I enjoyed the lesson and I learned some things I didn't know. So glad to hear that precious doll is moving right along.

kimybeee said...

i read the post and just as i got to the end it occured to me - God really knew what he was doing when he chose a physical therapist to be Gabbi's Momma! what a blessing indeed...

Bella's mommy said...

Yay for GG!!!! She looks like she is progressing nicely! Miss Bells has completely overcome her sensory integration issues. Now we are just working on that hip rotation thing and the fact that she still is taking one step with both feet on the stairs at a time. Oh and that whole W sitting thing, too. Our goal is to graduate from PT by early fall. She will be starting dance in the fall to help with her balance. I'm so glad Gabbi is doing so well!

Amy K said...

Cuted out is right - that GG is absolutely adorable, and glad to see how well she's progressing! Thanks for teaching us more about your profession.
Not that I'm surprised that you have bright, cheery, fun colored walls in your clinics too - anyway, love the colors.

GLOANN said...

Melonie, God knew what He was doing when you were chosen for Gabbi's mother. She is so precious.
---Gloria Martens

tricia said...

Loved and appreciated your therapy lessons;I truly did. God placed Gabby in the right hands so she can thrive.

Belinda said...

OK I am totally cuted out!!!! O love the pic of Gabbi "reading" with her hand on the side of her face...You are a blessed Mommy..HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!!!

Holly said...

What a great lesson in therapy. Wish we had a place like your here. After reading I can see how much it would help my daughter in so many ways. So glad Gabbi has a Mama who knows what she needs and is making such great progress.

MLP said...

Glad you gave a warning because I really am so CUTED out!!! Oh that little princess is DARLING in every single way possible! Love her sweet little face!

Your house is AMAZING! I love all of your choices and ideas for it! Keep those updates coming. SO fun!!! Can't wait to book my vacation there!

blessedmomof3 said...

Love this post. She is darlin'! You go Gabby Girl! I wish every child who needs it could get this kind of early intervention. It makes all of the difference in the world!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the VIRTUAL TOUR/JOURNEY in the GABBI'S DAY @ MMPT!!! It really is informational and contained a wealth of information for some in your reading audience that may have a child that exhibit some of the same issues that Gabbi exhibited. I gotta agree... "God really knew what he was doing when he chose a PT to be Gabbi's Momma"!

Sarah said...

I SOOOO wish you lived closer! I would have Sophie with some of your awesome therapists in a hearbeat! There are just a few things that are "off" and you have given me some ideas of what to work on at home with her...

Way to go Gabbi!!!

Amy K said...

Hey Mo, just stopping by to wish you a very Happy Mother's Day...a relaxing day filled with much love, joy, and pampering!

Amy said...

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY MO!! I hope you have a wonderful day with your girls!