Allie has been absolutely Dada obsessed lately. She's always looking for him, asking about him, talking about him, pointing him out... I'm starting to get a little jealous! I remember about a year ago when Allie was all about Mama. Her physical therapist joked that Jonathan had it coming and before he knew it, the admiration would shift to all him. She was completely right.
At Allie's semi-annual physical medicine and rehabilitation checkup, her physiatrist recommended getting an ankle and foot brace known as an SMO to help stop her right foot from turning out when she is walking. (By the way, she is walking so much these days!) I reported the SMO recommendation to Allie's physical therapist and she was shocked. She said that she is against bracing kids until they have been walking comfortably for at least two months because sometimes strange movements correct themselves. She was also surprised that a SMO was suggested for her right leg but there was nothing recommended to even-out the newly added height to her left leg (such as a prescription insert).
The PT asked if we would be comfortable waiting until late January to go to the orthopedist for the brace. She said that we may want to get some over-the-counter inserts to try out first and we will reevaluate in a month or so. The physiatrist suggested that we check with Allie's PT to get her thoughts on the SMO and I'm very glad we did.
The plan is to work on Allie's strength training (walking up stairs, step-ups with her right leg, squats, and lots of walking) to see if she is still turning her right leg in a month or so.
Allie had a speech evaluation a couple weeks ago and I don't think I ever wrote about it. The speech pathologist (who has been peripherally following Allie for the past year) was thrilled with Allie. She said that Allie is making all of the age-appropriate noises that she should be making. Often, kids with strokes have speech problems not just because of the neurological issues but because they can't move their tongue and lips in the typical way. It doesn't look like this is a problem for Allie---yay!
Jonathan and I have been keeping a list of Allie's words and her approximations for them (e.g., she says "water" as "wawa"). The pathologist said that kids are supposed to have 50 words by age two and Allie at 21 months has already exceeded this---another yay!
However, most of Allie's words are nouns and we want to work on improving her usage of verbs. I think this is more of my issue than hers. I noticed that I mostly point out nouns and I have been trying to get myself to describe actions more than things lately. She seems to be catching on quickly.
We are getting another speech evaluation this month so that Allie can get a formal evaluation instead of the qualitative evaluation that we got last month. I think that things are going better than we could have hoped for considering that the stroke wiped out all of what would have been the language center of her brain. She continues to amaze me.
We increased Allie's cognitive therapy from once to twice a month a couple of months ago because she was getting really frustrated when we pushed her too hard. The cognitive teacher is amazing and has shown us how to be firm with Allie while pushing her to do a little more than she wants to. For a while, it was really hard. Allie would get pissed and throw herself on the ground crying in protest. Well, I think she is making good progress on this.
We were playing with some wood puzzles tonight that she normally has a really hard time getting the pieces into. I don't know if this struggle comes from still slightly weaker fine motor skills or a difficulty in visual-spatial skills (which is also common for stroke kids), but Allie usually gets frustrated that the pieces aren't going in easily and gives up. Tonight, she was determined to get these puzzles together... and she did! There was a lot of grunting, a little sighing, and a lot of maneuvering, but she put together all three puzzles (about 20 pieces total) a couple times ALL BY HERSELF. I was struggling not to jump in and help her, especially when she would look up and me and ask in her cute voice "Elp?" (aka, help?). I somehow restrained myself offering only verbal cues ("Twist it! Scoot it over!") and I am so glad that I did.
She figured it out and gave me a self-satisfied high-five after she finished each puzzle. I'm glad she was able to work through her frustration and keep at it. She's on her way to be a master puzzler.