Wednesday, January 19, 2011

In Which Connor Goes To Therapy And Has Homework

Connor had physical and occupational therapy today, like he does every Wednesday.  Today we were working on a couple of issues that have been concerning me of late.

The first issue is Connor's scoliosis.  Scoliosis, for those of you not familiar with the term, is a curvature of the spine.  Connor has always had a slight curve to the left because that's his weaker side, but since he's started having seizures that involve left-sided paralysis the curve has become more significant.  This is because for up to two days at a time after a seizure none of the muscles work over there, so he slumps pretty significantly to the left.  He also does it now whenever he's tired or isn't feeling well.

As a result, he's got a visible curve to his spine and one of his shoulder blades is rotated out.  Thankfully his spine is still flexible and the curve is still fairly mild, which means that right now he doesn't need surgery.  We're still planning on getting him some form of orthotics to help prevent the curve from getting worse; he's got a consultation for that on Monday.  In the meantime, our physical therapist showed us some positions and stretches we can use with Connor at home to help out his flexibility.  While I'm not concerned about the aesthetic issues involved with scoliosis, I want to make sure that Connor's spine is as healthy as possible and that his lungs and ribcage continue to develop properly.  I figure prevention is the best route so that we don't have to turn to surgical intervention later if the scoliosis continues to develop unchecked.

After PT we had occupational therapy, where we tackled the second issue.  We've been working with the iPad a lot at home, and as a result Connor is using his pointer finger more and more.  However, he's having trouble switching back to using his palm with his other toys.  Keep in mind that Connor doesn't like touching things; his palm is especially sensitive to touch and he avoids it if he can.  Now he has a fantastic toy that responds with him having to do as little as possible.  Why not use the same technique for all the rest of his toys?  So what we're seeing is that instead of grabbing or banging toys like he used to, he's instead barely touching the activating part of the toy with one finger and then expecting something to happen.  Because after all, it works with his iPad!

While it's awesome for us to be seeing that finger isolation, we don't want Connor to start losing the progress he's made in the desensitization of his palms.  So it looks like I'll be balancing out Connor's daily work on the iPad with sensory play focused on his hands.  Things like immersing his hands in various substances that he doesn't want to touch.  No doubt he'll be absolutely thrilled.

It's hard sometimes to know exactly how full to make his days; we can always be working on something.  I usually try and pick two or three issues to focus on at one time, and that way he doesn't get too overwhelmed.  I think we've got our goals set for the next few months; now I just have to figure out some fun ways to get us there! 



Mary said...

Didja know that I have scoliosis too? Guess mine must not have appeared until high school or later, or else school nurses really suck at spotting it. My physical therapist pointed it out the first day of PT and it's glaringly obvious on x rays.

Wherever HE Leads We'll Go said...

Sounds like a good balance - picking 2 or 3 things to work on at a time. It can be overwhelming to think about all the things we could be doing with our kiddos!

jwg said...

Just think, you could have a whole new career as an OT or PT! Seriously, have you begun dealing with wherever Connor will go to kindergarten next year? Will they be able to maintain the same level of therapies including doing some of what you now do at home? What kind of reputation do they have for giving kids what they need once the cost is covered thru the district?

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