Cara had her PT/OT (physical therapy/occupational therapy) open evaluation yesterday at Children's Hospital and, overall, things went better than I expected. On average, Cara is at the 10-14 month range, which is right on considering she just turned 14th months on the 17th. The one area that she is lagging behind is in her gross motor skills. She is not really mobile yet and because of that, she's at/around the 6-9 month category for those skills. We also need to work on getting her pincher grasp developed. Her therapy plan is going to be mostly focused on strengthening her torso and leg muscles so that she has the strength where she needs it to begin to crawl, support her weight and eventually cruise furniture and walk. They are also going to "push her out of he comfort zone" when it comes to maneuvering from a sitting position to the pre-crawl position and forcing her to get used to supporting herself and using muscles that she previously hasn't used. She does have low muscle tone in her lower abdomen and legs. I have been given a list of things to work on with her here at home to try to encourage her development in these areas. Basically, we are doing play therapy--such things as coloring with markers, stacking blocks, turning pages of a book to develop the pincher grasp, reaching and playing with toys on her Boppy pillow to get her accustomed to being "on all fours" and other fun activities. Somehow, I don't think Cara is going to mind having me spending more time with her. She thinks it's all great fun.
She will be going to PT once a week for awhile until we start to see some progress and then will possibly scale it back to once or twice a month. At this point, she will be seeing OT once a month. Reason being is that they want to make use of our limited insurance coverage to get her mobile, which both therapist deem more important than anything else.
Cara had the most fun yesterday and soaked up all of the attention. She enjoyed playing with all of the "new" toys in the PT gym and showing off for the therapists. She was able to do some things that I didn't know she could do, with a little bit of coaching. Now that I know the potential is there, she's not going to be getting off as easy anymore!
Her therapists also want her to see a speech and language pathologist to work on language development and acquisition. At this point, Cara has still not spoken her first word though she does babble almost constantly and says "Mmmmommmm" a lot. She also needs to learn to respond to simple commands and phrases. We are wanting her to talk right now, but I imagine, once she does, we'll be wishing for peace!
We have been very fortunate to have great friends who have helped point us in the right direction for finding sources of free or reduced cost services for Cara. We have discovered Developmental Pathways and are busy getting started on the qualification process for receiving services from them through the Child Find program that is offered in conjunction with their program and the local school district. They provide developmental screenings, personalized home visits to see, hands on, what services Cara might benefit from and then, if we qualify, all of the intervention services we might need. This includes PT and OT as well as, hopefully, a speech and language pathologist. The best part is that the therapists from the hospital will work with Child Find to coordinate services. In other words, they will fill in the gaps if Child Find isn't able to provide everything that Cara needs. I'm so excited to get the ball rolling and start to see Cara catching up developmentally.
All the therapists seem to agree that if we follow the therapy plan, Cara should be on track developmentally by the time she's 2 years old. This is such wonderful and encouraging news for us! We have our work cut out for us over then next year or so, but it's going to pay off big time for Cara.
Oh...in other news. We have qualified BARELY for the Colorado Indigent Care program which will help pay for any medical expenses that we incur. I found out too, that we can back-bill up to 90 days which means, this may help cover the cost of Cara's shunt surgery--the portion that our primary insurance won't cover (about $1300 to date and rising). I just about cried when the financial counselor told me this yesterday. A huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders! Finally, we may be able to catch up financially.
So, yes, yesterday was a great day!