Sunday, September 12, 2010

Let's get physical

Although Luke and Will receive physical therapy at their respective pre-school programs, we opt to also take them to a separate physical therapist after school hours. Ms. Jen has been with the boys for more than a year now, and they really like her a lot (so do we!). We like her creativity, the consistency, and the fact that she sees them even when they are tracked out from school and not getting other therapies. It makes PT nights a bit challenging logistically, because the boys go to PT after I get home from work, but it is a challenge that's worth it.

Typically Nate takes one of the twins to PT and I stay home with the other twin and Matt. Lucky for me, last week Luke and Will were scheduled for the same evening. Matt and I got to go experience Luke and Will in PT. Exciting for me, indifferent for Matt, and weird for everybody else. Oh well.

Luke was up first. Ms. Jen first puts him on the treadmill with weights around his ankles. He walks forward for about 5 minutes at a slightly fast walk, but the part he really looks forward to is his one minute of walking backwards! He does really well on the treadmill (he gets to turn it on, which he loves) and doesn't seem to mind that it is actually work to strengthen his legs.

After the treadmill, Luke goes through a number of obstacle courses which require him to climb, change weight-bearing on his feet, go up and down stairs, step over things, and jump. A lot of these things still prove challenging for Luke, but he definitely enjoys the praise when he does well.

When he is done with his PT, he gets a lollypop. On the day I was there, he was particularly good and got to scoot himself around the gym on the PT equivalent of a skateboard! He had a blast and unbeknownst to him, help to build some arm muscles! If you get the blog update via email and want to see the video for this, check out the blog directly at

Will doesn't really look forward to PT as much as Luke does. As much as possible, Ms. Jen incorporates toys into his therapy but Will just has to work so hard to do even things that might seem simple to us. I think that he knows walking through the door that he's in for a rough 45 minutes. If he could tell time, I can imagine him watching the clock.

For Will's PT, he does a LOT of stretching to relax the increased muscle tone he has in his arms and legs. He also works on rolling over, holding his head up while on his belly, and reaching for things at a distance.

On the night that I went, Will was particularly unhappy when Ms. Jen worked with him on sitting and standing. These are tasks that Will works on a lot with his physical therapist at school, with our nursing assistant at home, AND with Nate and me... but it doesn't seem to matter. Because of his lack of muscle tone and coordination, the acts of sitting and standing are really tough for him. We keep trying, so one day he can do it on his own! In the mean time, we turn our ears off to his whines and keep our eyes averted when he breaks out an inevitable Old Man Face.

Ms. Jen has indicated to us that she can tell Will holding more of his own body weight when he sits up, when compared to his posture when she first started working with him. Way to go Will! I didn't really get to see that, though. Of course on the night that I was there, Will's muscle tone bounced between that of uncooked and al dente spaghetti... there was nothing in between!

Ironically, Will's favorite part of PT is when Ms. Jen seats herself on a dolly (like the furniture moving kind), leans him against her, moves his feet, and they go walking together. From my perspective, this seemed like the hardest work for him... but my perspective doesn't seem to mean boo! Will seems to take a lot of pride in walking. And even though it is pretty physically demanding on Ms. Jen, Will does so well with walking that she does it for as long as Will will tolerate. It was exciting and tear-inducing for me to see! Again, if you get the blog update via email, check the actual weblog to view the video!

So there you go... a typically long-winded view into a small portion of our lives as parents of two very special little boys who continue to work exceptionally hard to overcome their challenges!

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

The boys look so, not so much!
Wish you could have seen Will tonight. He did so well on the Lite Gait, walking for 5 minutes with hardly any fussing! And did great in his Kid Walk last Thursday.
Love those two boys!!