Monday, March 09, 2009

Stretches, socks and treadmills!

For Avery, part of living with CP is the need for frequent, intense stretching. This has never been something she enjoys. Unsurprisingly. But here is more proof of the fact that she has an amazing, thoughtful Daddy, because recently he has been able to get her to do a lot of her stretches willingly and almost unassisted! This might not sound like a big deal, but it is! All its taken is giving the stretches fun names, but it's made the world of difference. Here are some of Avery's stretches:
The Dinosaur Stretch!
The idea is to stick one leg up straight behind her as high as she can. It's difficult for her to do, and she can't hold it for more than a split second on her own, but she likes pretending to be a dinosaur - I suppose the leg sticking out is her "tail" :)
The Butterfly Stretch!
She can do this reasonably well all on her own, but to get s decent stretch she needs help getting her feet together properly and pulled up close enough to her bottom, but once there she will push her knees down all by herself and then "flap" her legs like a butterfly :)

There's another stretch called the whale or alligator stretch, which I apparently haven't taken a photo of yet because I couldn't find one when I was looking for one for this post! So I'll try to get a picture of that one too. She does that one by sitting with her legs out in front of her, and she has to open up her legs as wide as she can, which isn't very wide, so we help her do it, and then she helps keep them like that for a few seconds by holding her knees, and then a toy comes along and she "eats" it by snapping her legs back together.
I'm telling you, I consider it almost miraculous to see her not only putting up with stretches with very little complaint, but also actually enjoying them!!! It's amazing! Of course, I think that stretches done this way may well be not quite so vigorous or maybe effective, but the fact that she's willing to do them is worth the slight loss of intensity. Plus, I think the fact that she's relaxed while doing them goes a long way - when we do them the regular way, her dystonia kicks in straight away which makes it really difficult to even pull her legs into a stretched position.
Here is Avery a couple of weeks ago on the treadmill at physical therapy with the wonderful Lisa. She's been doing this for a while, walking with the treadmill on its lowest setting. She actually quite likes it! But Lisa was even able to let go for a couple of seconds last week! Of course, the second Avery noticed she wasn't touching her, she about fell over and Lisa had to hold on again, but it was still great!
I had my mother send me some long white school socks for Avery to wear with her braces and theratogs. I was thinking about it because the long socks she had before just weren't good enough, because they started falling down, and even if they didn't they weren't great with her theratogs because they didn't protect her skin from the silicone on the elastic, so she was forever getting sore red marks all over her legs where the webbed silicone touched her. These school socks are PERFECT! They are long enough that they don't leave any exposed skin between the top of her braces and the bottom of her theratogs, they don't slip or fall down, they're thin and airy so they won't make her too hot when the weather gets warmer, AND they make me feel nostalgic :D Bonus!!!


Lisa said...

Seeing those socks reminded me of Alexandra's soccer game last Saturday. It was her first one and we quickly discovered that it was best to put a pair of knee highs under the shin guards as well as over to protect her skin.

I love all the names that you gave the stretches! Kids are so funny. You slap an attractive name on something and their whole outlook changes :)

Sarah said...

What a great dad!

She is such a good girl doing her stretching and starting to enjoy it...even better!

Sweetest Girl in the World said...

Your husband's a genius! I love the names and the photos of her doing them!! Very creative dad!

Love those high socks too! Happy to see you found something that works so well.

SuzanSayz said...

A spoonful of sugar always works best. What a smart creative and devoted daddy. I know how excited we all get at even the most minor of Lizzie's improvments. So I know just how it feels. Every little new thing accomplished really is a cause for celebration.
And what a pretty little Avery!

overseas grandma said...

Avery is an amazing blessing in our lives but she, in turn, is so blessed to have such dedicated parents.