Tuesday, January 24, 2012

An Update on Lauren's World

Lauren is approaching 2.5 years and in the last 6 months, she has started to come out of her shell. While she still is shy, quiet and clingy, which I think is just her overall personality, she is definitely more alert, observant and more aware of her environment. While she can still have moments and periods of time where Lauren is in her own little world, she’s come a long way outward, and we hope the progress in this area continues. First off, Lauren is interacting with Kayla so much more now. The two are constantly smiling, laughing and giggling at each other over dinner time, while Kayla makes funny faces to provoke her sister and Lauren reaches out her dirty hands to grab at Kayla's face. Nobody else seems to be able to get Lauren's attention and reaction as much as Kayla and we are super happy she is developing a relationship with her sister. They understand each other perfectly and Kayla knows how to make Lauren smile and of course how to push her buttons! Lauren also likes to give kisses now. They are wet, sloppy, open mouth kisses, but we are absolutely glad to have them!!

Lauren is walking alot faster and steadier these days and sometimes when she's excited you can see her starting to take some really quick steps…we know one day she’ll be bursting into full running strides! Lauren recently got fitted for SMOs (supra-malleolar orthosis) as her physio therapist noted she is flat footed and walks with ankles pronated inward. The SMOs are like orthotic inserted into the shoe but provide support at the ankles and in the foot archway. The SMOs will help Lauren with balance and walking and because they are custom molded, she’ll need new ones as her feet grow…thankfully she’s tiny like her sister and can wear the same shoe size for a good 6-8 months. We continue to work with Lauren on kicking, throwing and bouncing. She recently has learned how to bounce and it brings a smile to our face when we see her bouncing to music (which she had never done before)!

Lauren continues to be busy with school and therapies. Her teachers at her nursery school have commented that she is doing well and is becoming more independent and taking more initiative. At school they are working with her on choice making (i.e. selecting an item when presented with two options). Seems easy enough right? But for Lauren it has been something she's had to learn. I remember in the summer when I offered her the choice between a raisin box and a cracker (I had one in each hand) and she simply wouldn't choose one. I knew she was hungry and that she favoured the cracker over the raisins, but she simply just stood there, stared at my hands and then turned away frustrated. When offered just the cracker on it own, she immediately took it. After months of practice and asking her to make choices with snacks, meals and activities, she is becoming more proficient at it. We are now moving to making choices via photos in the hopes that eventually we'll be able to construct a book of little pictures so she could indicate what she wants. Its a great tool to aid in communication since she isn't talking yet, and I'm hopeful she'll continue to grasp the concept. Her occupational therapists continue to work with her on activities to develop hand strength (she has weak hands and low tone in the upper parts of her body).

Last week we started music therapy with Lauren. Her past traditional speech sessions were play based, but since she doesn't have a strong interest in playing with toys, it was hard to get her to vocalize to indicate she wanted to continue to play. So I thought we'd try out music therapy with speech goals incorporated. The first session was pretty good, considering it was the first session. The therapist is awesome, she plays piano, sings, plays guitar, and had lots of different instruments for Lauren to try. And most importantly, she seemed to understand where Lauren is at and what she needed to do to get Lauren to focus. Lauren was shy at first but then quick warmed up and was able to vocalize a few "more" (or sounds like more “m” sound) for the music to continue! This Saturday, we also return back to Kindermusik, for music group classes which I think she is really going to enjoy. Steve and I will alternate taking her and I think it will be really nice to be able to spend some 1:1 time with her.

So Lauren is still Lauren. I know in reading this, you’ll think the next time you see her, she’s a completely different person. But I guess I’m describing Lauren in Lauren’s world, not the outside world. In the outside world you’ll probably only notice that her hair has grown a little longer, or she seems a little taller, or that’s she’s still not talking and not always responding to you. But in Lauren’s world, she’s made a lot of progress in achieving her inchstones, supported by her loving family and friends. It’s definitely still hard to see other kids, same age or younger than her, mastering skills that would take her months (or maybe years?) to acquire and learn, but for the most part, I’m past this and have learned to accept that its just going to take Lauren a bit longer to do things and that she’s on her own timeline. Her own time and in her own way, she’ll get there…wherever there is.

1 comment:

  1. Way to go Lauren!!! That is HUGE!!!! As for the orthotics- They have helped Airomise a TON. I had asked his doctor about when to replace them and he said that they actually work for a few shoe sizes. He has had his for a year now and they still work :). He will actually ask for them to be put on. (Puts them in your lap or tries to put them on himself- can't do it yet). It is the only way he can stand right now. Hopefully we can get him actually taking steps soon! Lauren is truly an inspiration! :). Oh and AIromise just saw her pics and gave her a BIG kiss. Slobbery too. LOL.


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