First of all, I realized yesterday that we never blogged about the tremendous success of Shelby's constraint-induced therapy (the cast). It is common (and we expected) that Shelby would go back to mainly using her right hand and arm after the three weeks of wearing the cast. She definitely has done this. But, Shelby's therapists have been very impressed at the extent that she uses her left arm. The casting therapy seemed to literally wake up that side and give her brain an awareness of that arm and hand. She has maintained that awareness. In fact, the left arm continues to get stronger (she can now lift it against gravity) and she uses the left hand some. She does not fist the left hand nearly as much as she used to, although the left thumb is almost always curled and clinched inward. Shelby's OT has ordered a couple splints to keep that thumb open. Hopefully the splint will help her to use that left hand more for tasks such as grasping and feeding. So yes, constraint-induced therapy was a huge success. We will probably do another casting session at some point in the near future.
Those that talk to me regularly know that we have had some difficulty getting Shelby to eat. We introduced solids when she was 5 and a half months old, and haven't really progressed beyond the consistency of smooth texture baby food. It can be difficult to get her to eat that (it takes us about 45 minutes a feeding session, 3-4 times a day). Shelby has dropped on her weight growth curve since December, going from the 20th percentile, to the 5th, and then down to the 3rd. Her pediatrician thinks this is partly because she doesn't eat much and her body needs more than milk as she gets older to gain weight. Last week, we went to see a pediatric dietitian for some tips on getting more calories and nutrients into her. This was such an informative and reassuring appointment. The dietitian was very positive and reminded me that Shelby is still in the 50th percentile for height, which is a sign that she is growing, and may take after her dad (who is long and lean as well). We are about to bring in a speech therapist to work with us specifically on feeding issues and hopefully that will help. But since Trip and I have relaxed some, Shelby seems to be eating more. Last night, Shelby actually grabbed the spoon from Trip and pulled it to her own mouth several times AND she drank formula from a cup. This was a huge breakthrough!
Lastly, after a couple months of not seeing much progress in physical therapy, Shelby seems to be on the cusp of some big milestones! She has all of a sudden gained the desire to move somewhere. Before, she would just be content to stay in whatever position we put her in on the floor. If a toy was moved out of her reach, she would find something else to do, like rock back and forth or play with her feet. She is so close to rolling over and we are working hard towards this goal. This will be wonderful for her...she'll be able to roll somewhere and move independently. We are also working a lot on her hands and knees and shifting weight back and forth, forward and backwards so that eventually she'll gain the strength and balance to crawl. We are lucky to have a great PT working with us. I look forward to our weekly sessions with Beth, she seems to have taken a special interest in us and always makes me feel so good about Shelby's progress and development.