Monday, March 30, 2009

Who would have thought!?

A year ago, I cried that Leah would have to wear braces. I cried a lot and even when we got them and tried them on her, I fought back the tears. It hurt my heart to know that she needed these braces.

But today...I love the braces!!! It still makes me sad that she needs them, but it makes me smile like I've never smiled before to see her walking everywhere!!!! The tears I cry now are of pure joy, because Leah is walking! She is really walking!!

Since 15 months she's been taking steps and we kept wondering when it would happen and boy oh boy has it happened!! I begged Leah's PT to help her get to his point and she kept telling me, that once she was walking I would be begging her to slow down!! Haha, today we had that first real experience with that. I took Leah out to lunch, with a couple of my girlfriends and their kids...Leah sat for maybe 10 minutes and then wanted out of the high-chair. After that I got in about 2 more bites of my sandwich and my lunch had officially ended. Leah was walking circles around the restaurant, which was luckily empty!! She even walked into the Men's bathroom...yikes, that was embarrassing!

Her gait is looking so much better in the braces, she is not hyper-extending nearly as much. She has a beautiful knee bend when in standing and her feet are both nicely flat. When I don't have her in the braces I can see how different her gait is and how her balance is not as good. We still only have them on for 5 hours a day maximum, and while she walks without them on...I really see the difference they make!

Who would have thought I'd be sitting here so excited about braces!?!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

18 Months!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Well, we've had Leah's braces for about a week and half now. She is been doing very nicely in them. She was in them today for the longest period of time yet, about 4 hours. We probably won't do more then 5 hours a day, but right now we are still watching for any skin breakage or blisters. Thankfully there have been none, so I'm hoping we are good to go with that! Leah now has 2 new pairs of shoes for her standard gym-shoe and one cute little mary-jane style gym-shoe. I LOVE the mary-jane style because it is incredibly lightweight and super easy to slip on over the braces. The gym-shoe is a bit more bulky and heavy! The only issue with the mary-jane is that Leah is able to get them off herself and once she gets them off she starts to un-do the braces. Props to Nordstroms for having a wonderful sales lady who was knowlegable about fitting braces and to them for having sizes that fit braces!!

Here she is in her braces...eating lunch! Yum!

These are the mary-jane style:
And the gym-shoe:

Here's a video of her walking with them. As I start to say in the end of the video, I probably should have moved back further!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Evaluation Time!

The past couple of OT and PT sessions have consisted of Leah being tested for her yearly Early Intervention evaluation. There was no question in any of our minds that she would of course qualify for services, but this is just something EI has to do.

Both her OT and PT used the Peabody Developmental Motor Skills (2nd Edition) to test Leah.

I have to say, I was terrified for the results, but am feeling much more relieved after hearing them!

Last week her PT tested her, here are her scores...

Age tested at: 17 months

Stationary Skills (This sub test aims to measure the child’s ability to maintain balance or equilibrium.): 18 Months!

Locomotion Skills
(This sub test evaluates the child’s ability to move): 14 Months.

Object Manipulation (In this sub test, the object that is manipulated is the ball. This 24-item sub test involves activities such as throwing, catching, and kicking balls.): 13 Months.

I was pleasantly surprised that she scored as high as she did. Although, I must admit that I think these tests are ridiculous. They are based on a typically developing child and I can't expect Leah to be on that same level! With that said, she would have scored much higher overall had she been walking fully. She is still so close! Another reason, I think this test is ridiculous is because during the testing the PT had Leah stand while holding a ball, then she told her to throw the ball...Leah threw it but didn't extend her arm fully so she did not get the full amount of point. Uhhh, so ridiculous! Then she had Leah standing while holding the ball, told Leah to throw it and wanted her to take steps after. Well, Leah stood there threw the ball and proceeded to loose her balance and fall. She did not get any points. Ugh! Such a dumb test! Oh and she only got half a point because she needed some help going down the stairs (on her tummy), yeah well a day later she was doing it all the time with no help! Anyway, I'm happy with where she is at. All over the 12 month point! Her PT had only good things to say about her.

As for the OT testing, this was even more ridiculous! The tasks on the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales are mostly unilateral at this age. Which means Leah scoring was amazing! It's crazy because every task the OT had her do, Leah was allowed to do with her non-effected hand! Here are the results:

Age tested: 17 months

Grasping: 28 Months

Visual Motor Integration
(This sub test evaluates the child’s eye and hand coordination): 19 Months.

So, you can see that she scored REALLY well and that she is actually quite advanced with her right hand. Our OT, did say that by the next evaluation things are going to get a little bit more bilateral and require her to use 2 hands. Bilateral play comes around 2 years old.

Again, the OT had wonderful things about Leah. The overall evaluation went perfectly, I can't ask for better therapists to work with! They are so great!

Stay tuned for a post about shoes! My little monkey now got 3 new pairs of shoes in a week!! Two that actually work with the braces (and are super cute!) and one for her non-brace time! Yay!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

They are HERE!

Leah got fitted for her braces today! YAY! Finally!

She was great during the fitting, a little fussy...but she had only had a 45 minute nap prior, so that was to be expected! The braces turned out so adorable! They are so cute and little! We learned that the shoes we just bought will not work with the braces (of course, just my luck!). So, tomorrow we will go pick out some new shoes at Stride Rite! Leah had both braces on and took off! She has been walking so much anyways, but having them on she just started walking all over. Even though she shouldn't be in them without shoes.

Liz the physical therapist who did the braces, mentioned that Leah's heel cord was very tight today, which I thought was very interesting. Leah's heel is always the tightest part of her leg, but I was surprised to hear how tight Liz thought it was. Nadine, our weekly PT, hasn't mentioned it being that tight in a long time--if ever. I'm wondering if it's because of the new shoes and all the walking she has been doing that she is becoming tighter. Anyway, Liz mentioned that she thinks we should probably get Leah a strap for the top of the AFO (the bigger brace) to ensure that her heel stays down in the brace. She said that shouldn't take long to get and Leah can still wear the braces how they are for now. She also mentioned that we might want to think about Leah wearing the AFO at night to stretch her heel out. These are all things that need to be discussed with our PT.

So, our schedule is to start wearing the braces for a half hour tomorrow, then an hour the next day and to build up to 5 hours a day. Again, we need to discuss with our PT, but this is what Liz recommends.

Aren't they so cute!?!

Monday, March 16, 2009


Today, I decided enough is enough, Leah needs shoes! We've been waiting (and waiting, and waiting) for the darn braces to come so that we didn't have to buy 2 pair of shoes! The braces were supposed to be in last week! Anyway, we decided that since she won't be in the braces 24/7 we should get her some shoes that fit her for the times she's not wearing them.

Leah is 17.5 was time she got some REAL shoes. Enough with those darn robeez! So, today I took her over to Stride Rite and got her the cutest pair of shoes! She has never been fitted and it turns out her foot is already wide, the lady said we are going to have a heck of a time fitting shoes with the braces. Great.

We picked out the shoes, tried them on and decided to leave them on her while we paid. She took off! She was walking down the halls of the mall! It was adorable.

While we were trying on shoes and I was talking to the saleswoman (who was great, if anyone lives near me, email me and I'll give you her name!), about Leah getting braces and that we'll need to come back to get her another pair of shoes. She mentioned they were having a buy 1 get on 50% off and then she told us to keep the recipet and come see her when we have the braces! She said she'd give us our next pair for half off! Yay!

As we were walking out of the mall, I get a phone call from Leah's physical therapist...guess what she said?? THE BRACES ARE HERE!

Really!?!? 1) We have been waiting months for them and 2) We just bought Leah a brand new pair of shoes and haven't even left the mall yet!

I knew the second we gave in and bought her shoes the braces would come! Just my luck!

Oh well, She looks too darn cute in her new shoes and is walking so nicely in them!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Butterfly Girl!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

General Update!

Age: 17 months

Physical abilities
: Crawls extra fast, Takes approximately 15-18 steps at a time, Balance has improved immensely, Learning to walk and turn corners, Climbs on the couch/bookshelves, Can stand on one foot and kick with the other, Dances by lifting legs independently, throws balls.

Speech/language,vocabulary, sentence length, etc.: Has approximately 10 consistent words

Reading/pre-reading: Reads books to us and/or her dolls, Runs her finger along the words (like we do) while 'reading.' Helps to turn the pages.

Number stuff: Counts/shows on her fingers 1-2-3.

Other cognitive stuff: puzzles, reasoning, etc.: Can do puzzles with the pegs on them, will put things in the correct place without help but cannot always get them in their spot the correct way without our help.

Imagination:Pretends to eat food that's not there, also pretends to feed it to others, has stuffed animals make animal noises though not always the right noise for the right animal

Social: Interested in playing with other children, will follow them around trying to get their attention. She will also get upset when a toy is taken away from her.

Character/personality: Very loving and always willing to give a hug or a kiss, she is also incredibly friendly and says 'hi' to everyone she sees. She has recently developed a bit of a temper and is not a fan of the word 'no'.

Anything else/other: Leah is a very happy toddler. She is doing just beautifully. We are still waiting on her AFO/SMO and are hoping once she gets those her walking will improve even more. We hope they provide her with a bit of security and stability. She often relies on holding our hands when she wants to walk, we believe that she has a hard time trusting her body, but once she is up and going she often does well.

OT/PT: Leah is in OT once a week and PT once a week. We will soon be going back to OT twice a week. We are also going to be adding on Water Therapy sometime in the summer. (We tried last month and Leah didn't enjoy it). Leah loves her therapists and enjoys playing with them. They are thrilled with her progress.

Constraint Induced Movement Therapy: We are planning our second round of CIMT for April(ish). We will reevaluate then and make sure that it is the right time. We are also hoping to enroll Leah in a Constraint Camp this summer. She would be the youngest they've ever done, but the OT's think she will be ready. This is all pending the progress she makes in the next couple months.