Now that I'm starting to get a hang of this new therapy, I thought I would write about what we are doing. We have been doing it for about seven weeks now and I finally feel like it's becoming part of our routine. I must admit that the first few weeks were hard. It's always challenging when you start something new and there are doubts and frustrations that come along with that. I also felt a lot of pressure to get it done 100% no matter what. The goal is to do 50%, but I felt a need to finish it all. I quickly learned to let that go. I can only do what I can do and I have become okay with that. Life happens.
The first step we took after leaving the evaluation a couple of months ago was cutting dairy out of Camden's diet. He has always had some major congestion issues and for a while I just got used to it and didn't think anything of it. After talking with his therapist she suggested trying to stop dairy, mainly cow's milk. I've always thought about doing it, but never took the plunge. Camden gets a lot of his calories from milk so switching to almond or coconut milk was not an option. He would wither away to nothing! We decided to switch him to goat's milk since it had plenty of fat and calories. It's easier to digest and is better tolerated than cow's milk. Then I realized that almost everything he ate had dairy in it...cheese, yogurt, goldfish,etc. It was a difficult transition at first but it's not so bad anymore. After about 10 days we noticed a dramatic improvement in his snottiness and congestion. It was pretty much non existent. He also had more energy and just seemed more alert. Every once in a while I cave and give him a treat, but other than that he has been dairy free except for the goat's milk.
We have a checklist of all the activities that we are supposed to do with Camden each day. The goal is to do it 5 days a week and then the other two days you rest. It's always random days for us since my two days I work a week is always different. Some weeks we only do it 3 or 4 days because we are just so darn busy. Anyhow, each activity has a specified amount of times you do it per day and for how long. For example, we do picture cards twice a day for two minutes each time. The words are taped out in the picture because it is supposed to be the picture only. I flash through them quickly for a total of 4 times per picture. We eventually take away older cards and constantly add new ones. Cam really likes this one. He seems to really be paying attention and points to each card as I go through them. This helps with visual processing, central detail vision development, and receptive and expressive language.
We also do various textures all over his body. I try to keep them all in this basket but sometimes he gets a hold of it and some items end up missing. I usually do the tactile sequence activity with this one since he has to be naked. These are all sensory exercises.
We do oral exercises a couple of times a day and these are definitely not Camden's favorites. I think he just gets annoyed with me sticking things in his mouth that aren't food. The little pink toothette helps with stimulating the nerves inside the mouth. The chewy tubes help with practicing biting and chewing skills. I try to do these right before he eats because he's in his high chair and it's easier for me to remember.
We are working on getting Cam to crawl on hands and knees. He has his own way of getting around which consists of the one leg out booty scoot. I don't know if we will ever get him to do this. I have tried to no avail. I get over his back and try to keep him on all fours but he either lays flat and screams or pushes back up to sitting. Crawling on the stomach or hands and knees helps to organize the brain and to build/repair strong foundational neuro pathways. We do several exercises for this and I will probably never get a picture or a video because it takes at least two people to do this. We don't do this as often as we should because by the time me or the hubby get home from work it's late. I've tried to recruit Carter to help but he usually gets up in the middle and says he's done. I don't blame him. He shouldn't have to do it.
We also do a lot of audio input. We listen to children's music, classical music and children's stories. We have always done this, but we do it A LOT now. Camden has finally taken a real interest in books now so I'm taking advantage of that. Input, input, input.
We do an activity called auditory direction sequences which helps build the auditory processing that is foundational for decision making, phonics, attention span, following directions, conceptual thinking, and language skill. You write down a list of commands like "clap hands" on index cards. You choose a few from the stack and call out the command. The idea is to be able to call out 2 or 3 commands and your child follows them in the appropriate order. Cam is still a little young to do more than one at a time so we just do one and then move on the next one. He already knew how to do a couple of them, but we had to show him how to do a lot of them. Once he has learned them he should be able to do it when you say the phrase without you showing him. He can do several now so we are working on learning some new ones.
That's just a handful of exercises that we are doing daily, but it kind of gives you an idea. If I wrote about all of it this post would go on forever! It definitely isn't for everyone, but for us it's working right now. Some of it was hard on Camden at first. He would scream and fight, but he did that with ECI sometimes too. He only fusses with a couple of them now and actually enjoys a lot of them. We have our re evaluation in December. Until then we will keep plugging away!