Saturday, August 2, 2014

Developmental Pediatrician Update and Class Field Trip

Field Trip Photos

We had Allie's annual check up with her developmental pediatrician this week and I'm happy to report that she's still meeting or exceeding all of her developmental milestones.  (You can read about her past appointments here and here.)  He was particularly impressed with how well Allie is talking and that she is interested in learning to read.

He and I talked about some of my concerns with Allie's gait.  We have been considering enrolling her in a gait-specific physical therapy program but I haven't had the bandwidth over the last couple months to follow through with it.  The nearest one I know of is in Baltimore at KKI and the idea of driving an hour each way has been too much for me to consider.  Allie and I had met with a new private physical therapist that operates inside a kids' gymnastics center and it seemed like it could be a good general exercise program for her, but it wouldn't specifically address her asymmetric walk.  Plus, her county PT whom we love thinks that Allie would get just as much out of a regular gymnastics class. We've also been looking at the PTs at the Children's Hospital but they don't have anyone who specializes in gait and they seem to be massively understaffed at the moment.

The development pediatrician put us in contact with a PT group he likes (and that our insurance covers) and we start weekly private PT with them next Tuesday.  He suggested that we conserve some effort and postpone the KKI gait program in favor of trying this local PT for a while.  Sounds good to me.

We also had an interesting conversation about being more selective with therapies.  When Allie was first diagnosed, we packed the poor girl's schedule with every intervention/therapy that we could think of.  I think it was helpful for her but in retrospect I think it may have been even more helpful for me.  It made me feel like I had some control in an otherwise frightening and overwhelming situation.  As she got older and more functional, I was able to take a step back and just enjoy what an awesome kid she is.  Moving her OT and Speech to her school was a huge step in feeling like we had so much more going on in out life than Allie's recovery.  About that time, a lot of my anxiety about how she was going to end up dissipated.

The developmental pediatrician's main point was that Allie is transitioning to a time in her life where her social and intellectual development need to be the priority and we shouldn't let her physical progress and intervention get in the way of that.  He wanted to make sure that we don't pack Allie's schedule with a bunch of activities that are not going to benefit her as a whole person.  I really like this doctor and I appreciated his assurance that it's ok to take a step back and make sure she's enjoying her childhood and that we're enjoying her.

In terms of follow-up, we have two homework assignments:  (1) have at least two playdates with her friends each month and (2) go to the library and get her some "early reader" books.  She has a playdate at least once a weekend so we're already doing alright with that one.  We took a walk to the library the other day and let her pick out some early reader books.  So far she really likes them and we talk a lot about sounding out the words.

Since Allie is doing so well, we were told to follow up in 1-2 years or earlier if needed.  I like that our follow-ups are getting further and further apart.

On Thursday, her class had a trip to a local nature center where they got to look at birds, plants, and learn a little about local history.  This is the first field trip that neither Jonathan nor I chaperoned but luckily one of the other parents sent around some photos of the kids having a great time.  Allie was excited to tell me how much she learned about owls.

While Allie continues her adventures, Andrew has been busy sleeping and eating.  So far (knock on wood), he has been a very mellow baby who loves his bassinet and a good snuggle.

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