Wednesday, May 7, 2014

PWS Awareness Day 7: Infant Stimulation

Oscar qualified for occupational therapy starting in the hospital and physical therapy followed soon after.  An early intervention specialist came weekly to our house. 

Pretty soon our schedule was full of appointments and my head was spinning with things I needed to do to stimulate his brain and help him build muscle strength.  Babies learn from from sucking on their fingers, from accidentally batting at the toys hanging near them, from shifting their weight and finding themselves in a new position.  Oscar couldn't do any of these things so we did them for him.

His trunk and neck were too weak to sit upright, so I learned how to support his chin while stroking his back to activate his trunk muscles.  He couldn't lift his arms or legs so we laid him on an inclined wedge and propped up his extremities to help him fight gravity a little easier.  We tied loud bells to the bouncy seat and moved the bar so close that any movement would be rewarded.  We laid him on his side and supported him with a rolled blanket so he could see the world from a different angle. We gently rolled his body back and forth and around, and kicked his legs for him.  We put him on his belly and rested his mouth on his hand so he could explore his fingers.  We placed toys and mirrors all around him. We played classical and jazz music all the time.

We tried our best to help him see and hear and feel the world like a typical baby.  But it was exhausting feeling like there was always something more I could and should be doing to help him develop his muscles and his brain.  So sometimes we just had to let it go, let him sleep too long, let him lie in one position too long and focus on Abe or ourselves.  Finding the right balance, one that can be sustained, is one of the hardest parts of having a child with special needs.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, he's so cute. And your words lovely and moving. And Milo had that exact same stripey jacket when he was a baby and seeing it made me a little sad. And, oh, doesn't the older kid always lose out? In my case it was twins, and not special needs, but my poor oldest son was practically neglected for a year or more when the twins were babies.