Saturday, May 31, 2014

After KKI


Allie finished KKI two Wednesdays ago and, aside from all of us being completely burned out, we are thrilled with how it went.  She met almost all of her OT and PT goals and (most importantly) she seems a lot more comfortable and confident using Righty in everyday activities.  I'll share her final evaluation as soon as we get it.  We are pleased.

Here is an example of her just using Righty without any prompting.

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Since KKI, we've been taking it easy and getting back into the swing of normal life.  We've been reading lots of books.  Her favorite is Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.  Here she is reading us part of the story.

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We've been having lots of playdates with her friends from school and some even involve train rides...



We're also getting ready for her baby brother's arrival.  We're only a month out now and Allie took her big sister training class today at the hospital we're delivering at.  She was pretty into it.  She especially liked rocking the baby and singing him her hybrid lullaby: "Rock-a-bye baby on the tree top... ashes ashes, we all fall down" and then she'd drop him.  I guess we have some work to do.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Roar

Katy Perry's song Roar is Allie's favorite song ever.  Whenever she hears it on the radio she yells "IT'S MY SONG!!!  I LOVE THIS SONG!!!"  We played it tonight during dinner and she went into full-fledge rockstar mode.  Check it out below:

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I also got around to uploading some of the adorable pictures that Bonnie took.  Here are some of my favorites:





I had a work meeting today and when I got home we all went for a walk.  Allie brought a bucket along with her and picked up rocks with Righty the whole way.  She picked up some big ones that I think would have been too heavy for her a couple months ago and some flat ones that she probably wouldn't have been able to pick up.  It's this kind of normal life thing that I always hoped for but worried Allie wouldn't be able to do.  When Allie picked up the first rock, Jonathan and I smiled at each other behind her back.  She makes us so proud!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Day 3 without the cast


Allie's favorite KKI physical therapy activity is definitely biking.  Whenever I ask her what she's most excited about, it's biking.  When I ask what she liked best about her day, it's biking.  She got to ride the orange bike today instead of the usual red bike and it made her day.

As soon as she rounded the corner into the hallway where I sit, she started yelling "I'm riding the orange bike Mommy!  Get a picture!  Send it to Gama! Take a picture of me on the orange bike!  I'm wearing a helmet!!!"  Have I mentioned how much her language has taken off?  She can articulate whole thoughts now and have real conversations about things that happened to her.  It's really cool.

They biked to the library so she could read a Curious George book and on her way back through the hallway to the gym she continued her shouting "I'm still on the orange bike Mommy!  Look at my helmet!  I read a book in the library.  Now, I'm back on the orange bike!"

By the time Allie makes it half-way down the hallway, all the other loitering parents are cracking up.  She loves the bike so much.

In addition to the bike, Allie is doing really well.  She pulled off all the stickers on a sheet by herself in the car today.  She held the sheet with Righty and peeled all of them off with Lefty.  This was the first time I've seen her successfully do this herself and she was really proud.  She also helped get herself dressed this morning by putting on her own pull-up and shorts.

The therapists at KKI are really good at making the kids feel good about what they're doing.  In all my hallway conversations with other parents, this seems to be one commonality that all the kids share.  One mom today told me that her son was resistant to using his impaired arm but, since starting with KKI, he's gotten really proud to show off what he can do.  I'm not sure if it is all the encouragement and praise that the therapists shower on the kids for trying or if showing kids how to do some things that they didn't think they could do before builds confidence to try new things or if it's something else entirely.  Regardless, it's impressive. It takes a great group of people to make wearing a cast and only using an impaired limb fun.  I feel extremely lucky that we found this program and that we happen to live within driving distance of it.

As her PT noted yesterday as Allie was shouting "I LOVE KKI!!!!" in the pool, she (and we) have really become walking advertisements for the program.  Looking back, it is still surprising to me how much resistance we got when we first started thinking about joining the program for the first time.  We had so many therapists and doctors tell us that Allie was too young for the program, that it would breed resentment, and ultimately discourage her right hand use.  None of these things could be farther from what happened.  I think the constraint programs have been by far the most successful form of therapy for Allie and she really enjoys it.  It seems like a win for everyone.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Days 1 and 2 post-cast (A.K.A. day 22-23 since starting KKI)


Allie got her cast off on Monday and has had two fun days of post-cast therapy.  She has 5 more days of intensive bimanual therapy and then we're done!  

Yesterday revolved around Allie playing with two of the visiting therapy dogs, Matilda and Olive.  They were two wonderfully behaved dalmatians and, like with Lewis the first therapy dog, she had a great time with them.  Here is Olive's business card:

 

Today, Allie started off the day at aquatic physical therapy.  She was so excited to go to "swim class" and she talked about it the whole drive to KKI.  After a fun hour in the pool, she took a shower and got herself dressed. Her OTs are trying to make some progress on Allie self-dressing and it seems to be paying off.  Then, she got to do craft time with her OTs and then play in an open kids' gym.  I only got photos of the gym time, but here are some of the fun things they did.

Playing on the crazy swing:

Crawling through the swinging tube:

And, playing in her personal ball pit:
She had a lot of fun but was totally exhausted by the end of it.  She fell asleep in the car so I brought her home instead of dropping her off at school.  We're currently enjoying a lazy afternoon of Curious George watching while cuddling on the couch.

We are all burned out.  Only one more week to go! 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Days 18-21 with the cast

It was such a relief having a week off from taking Allie to KKI.  Thanks again to Bonnie and Tom for helping out and giving us a much needed break!

Day 18

Allie had a good day at therapy with Bonnie at KKI.  Check out how fast she's gotten at riding the bike!

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After KKI, they went to her weekly speech therapy appointment afterwards.  Allie's initial speech evaluation back in March was pretty scary but things have really taken off since then.  At her session two weeks ago, the therapist and I started talking about a potential exit plan for speech because Allie seemed to catch up on all the areas we identified as needing work.  At the appointment last Friday with Bonnie, Allie did a new evaluation and her expressive language score was 100 points (the normal range is 85-115)!  We then got immediately discharged from speech and Jonathan and I did a little happy dance.


Day 19

Allie and Jonathan took Tom and Bonnie to the airport and then we had a pretty laid back day of house projects.  Allie's only therapy came from her weekend KKI homework assignment of rolling balls with her right hand while squatting, flipping over puzzle pieces, picking toy trains up off the ground and putting them onto her train table tracks, and opening and closing drawers and cabinets to get things out.  I didn't get any good photos but her supination has made huge improvements over the past couple weeks.  She was able to pick up an upside-down wooden puzzle piece, show me the front by turning her palm to the sky while extending her arm, and then put the puzzle piece in the right spot---all with just Righty.  It was really cool to see.

She and Jonathan also surprised me with pre-Mother's Day flowers and a balloon, which Allie took to smacking around the house.

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Day 20 (Mother's Day)

Allie was so cute on Mother's Day.  She must have said "Happy Mother's Day Mommy!" about 50 times, basically on repeat.  Allie did some more homework, which was mostly the same as Saturday's assignment, and took a 4 hour long nap.  I think KKI is wearing us all out.


Day 21

The cast comes off!  Jonathan is at KKI with her right now and was informed that today is her last casted day.  Our last day of therapy is next Wednesday but everything from here on out is bimanual, focusing on integrating her new Righty skills into her daily life.  I am so excited for the cast to be done.  It's been very helpful, but I could use a few less accidental smacks in the face with the smelly, grungy cast.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Days 12-17 with the cast

We have seen some pretty remarkable improvements in Allie's strength and coordination with her right arm and hand.  She does need a lot of help, which is exhausting, but luckily Allie's Gama Bonnie came into town to take her to her therapy sessions and entertain her during the day.

I have a lot more pictures to upload, but here are some cute ones from Bonnie that I have on hand.

Putting together a marble ramp:


Riding a bike.  She's getting super fast:


Carrying around a bucket with more and more stuff in it:



An unexpected surprise of the last month is how much more Allie is talking.  She's conversing in full sentences and picking up new vocabulary every day.  She's made such great progress that she's getting discharged from her private speech therapy this month, which is a huge relief to us.

Allie's Papa Tom came into town yesterday to accompany Gama, so the three of them are up at KKI right now.  Allie was really excited to show Papa her bike riding skills and the Curious George puzzle.  I love that she's having so much fun there.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Day 11 with the cast

Which puzzle piece shall I choose? (Check out the finger isolation!)

Allie got her cast back on this morning and was surprised to see it slightly modified.  The therapists cut out the portion of the cast that was giving her a rash and re-lined it with new material.  They suggested we don't get this one too wet.

Towards the end of Allie's session today, her long-time OT pulled me out of the hallway and asked if I could come in the room for a minute.  I was half expecting to find a tantruming girl but instead she was sitting and happily doing a puzzle.  The OT just wanted to show us how well Allie was supinating.



The OTs were putting stickers on the bottom of the puzzle pieces when Allie flipped them over and then Allie would have to put the piece back.  The OT was just amazed at how well Allie is doing.  At one point, Allie supinated with the puzzle piece and stretched it out for me to see.  The OT said "Kids just don't do that! She's doing so well!"