Yesterday we had a visit from both our IDP case worker and our Physiotherapist. It was nice to have them come at the same time because they are both assigned to the boys' case but have never seen them in the same visit, able to observe the same behaviours. Of course we paid more attention to Asher because he is the one we are more concerned with. PT did a complete assessment of him and we discussed as she went along, noting when and where he elicits less than ideal movements.
One thing PT noticed is that Asher's Assymetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (ATNR) is still present, especially when he is turned to the right. This is also known as the "fencing reflex" as the baby takes a pose similar to a fencer - one arm drawn in tight with the other outstretched. This is a normal reflex in newborns that "should" be resolved by around 6 months of age. Asher is 6.5 months corrected and his is still hanging on, surprise surprise. When does that guy ever do things on time?
PT told us that it is not really cause for concern...yet...as it is only concerning when a baby does it all the time. Asher only does it most of the time, which is promising I suppose. So now our job is to keep on top of his exercises and hope that by the time she sees him again in 3 weeks it is showing improvements as opposed to remaining the same.
It was nice to hear from physio who hasn't seen them in a month, how improved Asher looks. Now when he is sitting with us or being held he is much more relaxed. His arms have less tendency to turn in at the wrist or shoulder and he is seldom tight. The problems occur when he is trying to play. He is quite uncoordinated when making deliberate movements such as grabbing toys or putting them in his mouth; however all of us agreed that although he is still awkward he is definitely improving. Another positive is that he isn't seeming to favour either hand. When he does grab for toys or put his hands to his mouth he seems to do it equally with either side.
It felt good to know that what we're doing seems to be helping. PT gave us a bunch more suggestions so now it is a matter of just remembering them. The nice thing is that there are no specific "exercises" - all his therapy is integrated into normal day to day activities - eg. how we carry him, how we help him roll over, how we move him from sitting to lying, etc. I am looking very forward to next visit because they are going to take pictures of Asher in all the suggested postures then print and laminate them for us so we can leave them lying around with his toys and gear as reminders.
Again let me say how thankful I am for this therapy we receive. Every stretch and correction of improper movement we do helps Asher to learn the proper way to do things and hopefully prevents or at least minimizes any disabilities he might have. I am so proud of them both. Nolan progressing on a steady curve; Asher getting there, just a little more slowly. Again can I ask - could we be more thankful? I don't think so.