Tuesday, October 6, 2015

31 for 21: Down syndrome & Physical Therapy

It's Tuesday, which means therapy talk for today's 31 for 21 blog.

Physical therapy has been part of Jaycee's life since she was an infant.

Let me be honest, when Jaycee was 2 months old, I wondered how physical therapy would be helpful. I understood she had Down syndrome. I knew that Down syndrome is associated with low muscle tone, which in turn makes the child very, very flexible. Because of this, developmental milestones are usually met much later. So, I consented to physical therapy not really knowing how it would be helpful when she was so tiny.

In one of her first physical therapy sessions, Jaycee was attempting to roll over. This being my first child, I thought she was doing well. The physical therapist pointed out that Jaycee was trying to roll over by hyperextending her neck (picture her chin being lifted up high). In other words, she wasn't using her muscles to roll over, she was using her flexibility to do an atypical movement.

She kept her neck hyperextended often when she was laying on the floor. Again, I thought this was what every baby did. Where did I put the toys with her neck hyperextended? Way up high where her eyes were, of course.

Jaycee's therapist, Glenna, showed me that hyperextension wasn't good, and I could help it stop by putting toys lower to force her to look down. I also was encouraged to put towel and blanket rolls behind her neck and head so that her chin would stay down toward her chest instead of up too far.

So a few sessions in to early intervention physical therapy, I realized that this was going to be very helpful for both Jaycee and myself.

Physical therapy has been instrumental in helping Jaycee learn motor movements and accomplish gross motor milestones such as running, jumping, and climbing stairs. Over the past few years, physical therapy has worked to build Jaycee's endurance and keep addressing her low muscle tone. Except for summer vacations or short breaks, Jaycee has essentially been in physical therapy since she was 2 months old.

Physical therapy has made a difference in Jaycee's life. I'm so glad we started early.

Jaycee doing a gross motor game at Special Olympics with her helper

No comments:

Post a Comment

submit to reddit