Lots of things have happened; I have completed the Hanen Language Course which I thought was an absolutely brilliant course. Every parent should do this course, especially if your child has speech delays/difficulties. We have learned to really slow down and keep our language very simple with Cayla so that she will have an opportunity to talk and learn new words at the same time.
We have a new physio at TCCP, her name is Emma and is very nice. Megan is on long service leave and have travelled to Nepal lucky girl. We have met Emma a couple of times now both at the centre but also at our house. It is so great that they offer home visits and I think Cayla’s is more relaxed, talking and playing more at our house than at the centre. Also saves us time from travelling to the centre for every appointment which means a lot when you have 2-4 appointments a week sometimes. Emma has given us a home plan to help out with ideas for Cayla’s stretches and strengthening exercises that we have to do on a daily basis. Sometimes it’s overwhelming with everything new that we have to do every day but luckily Cayla is a very active little girl so is already doing a lot of her exercises on her own anyway.
Since the Botox is relaxing the overactive muscles in her calf the muscles at the front will finally get a chance to work and it is important to strengthen these muscles with different exercises. But it is equally important to stretch her calf muscles so we will have to find a balance between stretching and strengthening both muscles groups. This will improve her foot and body alignment, develop more muscle growth and in turn improve functional skills such as balance and walking.
So this is our day:
Cayla wears her AFOs for about 6 hours a day and the more active the better. Things that are better for her to do without her splints on and help building up her muscles are jumping, climbing, bike-riding and walking and playing in sand.
Other activities that are great for her to do are: walking backwards or sideways, marching practice, long steps, walking on heals while holding our hands, digging toes and heals into the sand, walking on uneven surfaces to practice her balance, jumping on a trampoline (which she absolutely loves), standing on a wedge, squat to play, lifting small objects up with her toes and drawing with her heals in sand, paint or shaving cream, frog jumps, climbing up slide and so on. We just pick about 4-5 activities a day but as I said, Cayla is doing a lot of these on her own anyway which of course helps.
Also included in our daily routine is adding language and practicing oral skills with Cayla. We are constantly repeating words such as open, close, up, down, sit, come dolly, dog etc. We are speaking slowly to her and try not to use too many words at the same time. Keeping it simple but at the same time adding words so we are improving her understanding which will hopefully make her say more words in the future. Great mouth exercises for Cayla are blowing bubbles, blowing small tissue ‘butterflies’, sounding like a car and so on. Our speech pathologist at TCCP, Marilyn, gave us a book called Mr Tongue which is a story about mouth, teeth, tongue. It’s not one of Cayla’s favourite books but she might change her mind in the future.