Today is CP Awareness Day. As I said last year, our awareness comes in just being. Our family rocks CP (or at least I think so) and hopefully that in itself helps to take away some stigma around disability.
Pretty fitting, however, being CP day, that Asher decided to show off some fancy moves in therapy and give me my own little gift of CP awareness.
First, I give you the W-sit:
And then criss cross applesauce
In case you don't understand the significance of these photos, I'll state the obvious:
No one is holding on to him.
Go back and look at those two pictures again, and then let me repeat:
ASHER IS SITTING INDEPENDENTLY!
Sitting is something in the past we pinned a lot of hope on. "If he sits by two he'll likely walk". "If he learns to sit, then maybe he could learn to….". "XYZ would be so much easier if he could just sit".
Then about a year ago I kind of said "sitting schmitting". What's all this fuss about independent sitting? I realized that the world would not end if he couldn't sit unassisted, as much as it would be nice if he could. We continued to work on sitting in therapy but it stopped being the be-all-end-all goal.
Over the past few months of therapy, Asher has started to show small gains in prop sitting (holding himself up with his arms in w-sit, like in the first photo). While his core is the most affected and therefore makes holding his trunk upright the most difficult, he can use the tone in his arms to his advantage to "lock out" so to speak, and help hold him up. W-sitting is frowned upon in most cases because it's not good for the child's hips; however, it is the "easiest" and most stable sitting position (and one Nolan chooses 9 times out of 10 much to our chagrin). Because of the stability and the chance for Asher to use his arms to help him, w-sitting is something our PT has been supportive of pursuing with him. The first time he held himself like that for a count of 5, I thought it was the most exciting thing I had ever seen. Over time he continued to do it off and on, but not with much consistency. Some days he could do it repeatedly (up to about 10 second increments) and other days not at all.
But today I looked over at him with his PT and he was in w-sit, propping himself up like nobody's business. After 5 or so seconds I wasn't so excited because I'd seen it before, but as the time kept ticking by and he just kept sitting there, I started to realize I was seeing something monumental.
Therapy continued and when I was more focussed on Nolan, I heard his PT quietly call me and there they were, reading a story in perfect criss cross. This time, I nearly lost it. Criss cross, not w-sit. Asher never sits like that. And by never, I literally mean never. But today he just sat there. Get it? Just sat there, like it was no big thing. If I said he held it for five minutes, that would be a big lie. But two minutes? Maybe. TWO MINUTES HE SAT BY HIMSELF.
As I write this, I am having trouble processing it to be honest. Does this mean that all of a sudden Asher can just sit without a whole ton of work? No, absolutely not. That is not me being negative, that is me knowing how much work it's taken us to get to this point - four years in fact. I also know that if we try again tomorrow, the result may not be the same.
However, what I am sure of is that if we keep trying it will happen again at some point, because it happened today. Do I believe that if he continues working on it, an independent sit for a minute or two on a more regular basis might be in the cards? Absolutely yes, I do know that now.
What Asher did today gave me an all important reminder - not just CP related, but for life in general:
Never give up. Always believe in possibilities. Expect miracles.