This week Harry had an appointment with the Physio. This is the 3rd session he has attended and he was referred by our paediatrician 6 months ago when she noticed his upper body muscle tone was slightly under-developed for his age.
I haven’t really mentioned his physical development much in the Blog, as our primary focus is his hearing. But it has been an underlying concern for us that there definitely seems to be a link with Harry’s lack of sound and his gross motor skill development. Gross motor skills are the sitting up, crawling, walking milestones that every baby has to go through to develop “normally”. As part of our process to dot all the “i’s” and cross all the “t’s” we took Harry to see a Developmental Paediatrician in the beginning to assure us he was going to hit all his major developmental stages. So far all tests and diagnosis have been extremely positive and indicate that the deafness is isolated and with that we remain positive that it will always be such.
The Paediatrician referred us to a Physio however, having picked up at 6 months that he could use some assistance with building his torso muscle tone. It was a simple case of the fact that he was not twisting the top half of his body to find sounds, so he was not building the necessary muscles in this area to allow him to sit up. Ultimately it was leading him to be reliant on lying flat on his back to play.
So back to the Physio. I was excited to see her again as the last time we visited was prior to Harry’s operation. I really felt that his physical progress had been enormous since this time and she would be thrilled. One major milestone was his sitting up which took place 2 days after Switch On. There is no scientific evidence that the brain receiving sound and vestibular system have a connection but in our book it was amazing to see Harry finally sit up on his own so soon after he had the CI’s switched on.
We walked away today with 4 main strategies to work on over a month. The goal now is to get him crawling on all 4’s (rather than Slug- like as he is now) and to teach him to get from crawling to sitting and vice versa. This will then lead nicely into him pulling himself up to standing and then progressing to walking. The physiotherapist was very clear to point out that he would end up doing all of these things eventually but perhaps not in the most succinct fashion. As I had laboured the fact that I need him upright to allow for a better grip on the magnets, she agreed we would fast track this stage of development so we could get him less reliant on lying on the floor.
I will be spending a great deal of time on the floor with Harry over the next 4 weeks pinning back his hips to force him to thrust his arms forward and push on them. This will lead to him realising that crawling can be more efficient by being on all fours and no longer dragging his tummy along with him. Based on the amount he eats I would have thought it will be immeasurably easier!
The Physiotherapist also left me with some thoughts on Play. Play patterns are all linked to brain development and specifically I need to focus on teaching Harry about cause and effect. All those toys you see broken and scummy in the waiting rooms of doctor’s surgeries and crèches now needed to be on my shopping list. Posting a ball through a ball run to see it move from the top to the bottom. Banging on the pop up toys to see them appear from their hiding spot are all foreign games to me and I realised that at this age with both my girls I was already back at work and their development was in the hands of the childcare workers.