I’ve spent the week since Jake’s last occupational therapy appointment being really thankful. Life stinks sometimes and making lists of the good, when things are good, is important and encouraging. Here’s my thankful list:
🙂 After only a few tries, Jake was able to bounce up and down on my yoga ball without screaming.
🙂 We only did therapy snacks three times, instead of seven, as ordered by Becky and as a result, Jake has returned to his mostly cheerful, unstressed little self. (So, has Mama!)
🙂 Jake now eats applesauce off the table with a spoon and we’re making progress towards him licking it off the table. (Table manners go right out the window during therapy snacks!)
🙂 I learned that making beef jerky into a space ship and having it “blast off” the table, sounds effects included, is THE thing that will entice Jake to hold his beef jerky.
🙂 Jake now laughs hysterically at me blowing bubbles and tries to pop them. Blowing bubbles is the therapy teams way of getting a kid to relax and have fun before therapy snacks, but Jake was really scared of the bubbles up until this week.
🙂 Part of the therapy snack is cleaning the table off with our hands using sudsy water. Sudsy water has been a part of Jake’s “no fly zone” but, he finally touched the bubbles and cleaned off his section of the table, only looking mildly worried.
🙂 Jake has caught on to the sign language I’m teaching him, learning “all done” and “more”. We’re still working on “please” and “thank you” but I know some adults that still need work on those ones!
🙂 He has started talking more and that always pops up at the funniest moments. On our daily walk with the dogs, Lucy saw a squirrrel and was straining at her collar and making horrible sounds, and over my shoulder, I heard Jake saying, “silly doggie”. I just about fell over! Jake is a frighteningly accurate mimic and he and Lucy gagged and rasped their way down the sidewalk.
I’m amazed at how quickly Jake has progressed! When he was first assessed, Jake was close to the bottom of the pyramid of the 22 eating steps between not tolerating food and eating independantly. (There really are 22 steps! Who knew?) In the last five weeks, he has moved several steps up the pyramid and the top doesn’t seem as impossible as it did last month. I was excited to tell Becky lots of good news today!
And, she was very, very happy!
Today, we reinforced all the things we’ve been working on and added a few more things to try out. This week, we’ll be trying to get Jake comfortable with his teeth. Which sounds funny, I know. He always opens his mouth wide enough to not have food touch his teeth on the way down his throat, which is common for kids with his problems. We’ll be tapping food on our teeth and giving him food hard enough that his tongue will automatically push it towards his teeth. We’ll see how that all goes.
Since Jake has a hard time knowing where his body is in space, Becky put him in a “Benik vest”, which is the little compression suit you can see in the picture above. It hugs him tight all the time and helps him feel his body. Amazingly, after about ten minutes of him wearing the suit, his stance narrowed and he moved a lot more naturally! If he does as well with it next week as he did today, that will go on our “wish list” of items that will help.
Becky was astounded at Jake’s progress this week. He really has turned a corner in how well he’s able to tolerate different textures. On our way out, she looked at me and said, “Keep doing what you’re doing. He’s a different boy this week!”
I’m so thankful that he’s been doing well. It has come easily, but still with a lot of work. I leave our appointments with a full brain and frequently with a full heart. I’m so grateful for Becky, for the progress Jake is making and for the encouragement sent my way by all of you. It helps and lifts me up on tough days.
I think I’m going to go make a pot of coffee while Jake finishes up his cheerios and says, “More please!”