Sunday, May 15, 2011

Therapy Graduation

So, Brynn has been receiving the following therapies (at various stages) since shortly after coming home from the NICU: Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy, AVT (Auditory Verbal Therapy), Occupational Therapy (for eating), and a recently-added Developmental Specialist.

What I've learned through all of these visits is this: the whole idea behind therapy is to (1) identify what developmental milestone she needs to hit next, and (2) expose her to every opportunity possible (games, exercises, routines, etc) that would encourage her ability to hit that milestone. I saw Brynn as "behind" and was relieved to have professional experts as well as little booklets with check boxes helping me to get her "caught up."

Over the past few weeks, though, something has changed. Although I am appreciative of the comfort and suggestions many therapists have given me, I've realized that every milestone Brynn has hit has come at her time, her pace, and usually when I had done nothing to help that particular skill pop up. For the skills she doesn't yet have, I've met some other kids (who are considered "normal") that are just as disinterested in doing those skills as Brynn is. So is she really behind? Or is this just her personality?

The assessment about her fine motor skills being "severely delayed" is just not true. She not only threads shoe-laces, disassembles and reassembles her 1-CC syringes, but also holds her pens like an adult:

So when do other kids reach these milestones? Does it matter?

I guess I'm starting to see my little girl (finally) as perfectly Brynn. Her skills (and few lacking skills) are not due to her "prematurity." They are due to her personality. She is exactly where she needs to be, and more importantly...where she wants to be.

In fact, you should hear her language (I try to get video, but she clams up). Let me just say this: Brynn has only been hearing for 14 months, and yet she is constructing 4-to-5-word sentences all on her own. I got quite a shock when she said, "Mommy take cwoes (clothes) off...take showee (shower)." Well, she was right, I was getting ready for my shower; but I didn't even realize she knew the word "clothes," let alone how to make such a well-constructed observation!

She's also using articles (a, the), verbs, adjectives, nouns, pronouns, possessives, -ing endings for some verbs, and even a few past tense conjugations ("I dwopped it.")

Technically, she's still a few months "behind" according to all those language tests. But I remember visiting the Oral School for the Deaf in KS. Although the implanted kids were almost ALL caught up by 5 years old (the only ones who took longer were given amplification/implants too late), the class of 3-4 year olds were still only using one-word sentences. Brynn is only 2 1/2. And she's doing WAY more than 1-word sentences.

So am I worried about her language? Does she need more therapy? Is the therapy really helping her anyway?

I've realized it's time to cut the strings. I am 95% sure Brynn is far enough along to no longer need it; and I am confident enough of how to assist her anywhere I still need to (like tube weaning) that I don't need weekly or monthly visits.

But, oh that other 5%. Well, that's just the paranoid Mom in me--the mom that feels dependent on therapists to feel like I'm doing everything I could or should do for my child.

Hush, hush, 5%. Even though the experts have been helpful, your mother's instinct is still better than any expert. And instinct is telling you Brynn is fine. Brynn has arrived.

Goodbye, therapists. Thank you for helping me get to this point. But I am Mommy and Brynn is perfectly Brynn.

Post Edit: Oops, I forgot to add this:
2011Res: To Matt: I loved your "I'm sorry" flowers. It's been a long time since you've done something like that! To Brynn: today I savored your little act of kindness toward Heidi--picking up the spoon she dropped and holding it patiently until she grabbed it again. To Heidi: today I just couldn't believe how well you are starting to sit up. Dear Mr H: today I cooked you TWO dinners (since the first one didn't turn out) because I love you.


Alyson said...

What a happy day! Ah, the pen grip—it's sticky! I really work with my KG kids on it, over and over and for a whole year. Amazing that she just has it. I think you have this. Will you have frustrations and worries? Yes, but we all do, parenting is like that.

I can't wait to see what comes next!

Kate said...

Bryn's fine motor skills are MUCH more developed than Jason's. She'll have to teach him how to hold a pen because I refused to do it "correctly."