I took Hannah to Kate Bailey for her follow up appointment yesterday and I can’t begin to say how thrilled I am at how well it went.
It’s been two weeks since our initial appointment and assessment and the changes in Hannah have been quite astounding. I am so proud of her and of us, we’ve worked hard but are definitely seeing the benefits. We’ve been fanatical about setting up a good, two hourly brushing routine and have been vigilant with Hannah’s sensory diet, ensuring that she is well stimulated, with interesting toys and textures. Initially, I thought the changes that we had noticed were just in my mind, but Kate confirmed in our follow up yesterday that what we were noticing she could see too and that it was all pointing towards a positive result and that Hannah was very receptive to treatment.
In the past two weeks, we’ve noticed the following:
- The tactile defensiveness in her arms has lessened, I can now touch her arms and chest without her having a complete melt down. However, she still shows her stress in her arms and as soon as she becomes fearful, she stiffens her arms.
- Her body seems looser and more relaxed. Previously, we couldn’t move her arms or legs easily as she was very stiff, now her arms and legs are relaxed and can be moved and manipulated.
- She is sitting completely unaided, is able to rock backwards and forwards and from side to side without loosing her balance.
- She is able to roll with ease and using rolling as a way of getting around. So if she wants to go somewhere, she will just roll and roll until she gets there.
- She doesn’t seem to be having as many melt downs and seems to be able to bring herself out of a melt down with ease. Now, if she starts crying, she will stop within a couple of minutes and not cry uncontrollably for the remainder of the day.
- I have managed to get her over her oral aversion to warmth, by gradually increasing the temperature of her food. She is now able to eat her food warmed without screaming and rubbing over her mouth.
- We’ve discovered fast bouncing settles & soothes Hannah, so when she does start to go into a melt down, if I bounce her on my knee, she calms down very quickly.
So the good news is that we don’t need any more OT appointments, unless we want to address something with her. We have to follow the brushing routine for another 4 weeks and then gradually phase it out. Kate says she believes that most of Hannah’s issues were environmental and probably had more to do with the amount of disruption she experienced, experienced as a newborn, being separated from her birth mom at birth, being cared for by strangers for 3 days in the hospital and then being moved to the place of safety and being cared by a number of different care givers and volunteers.
Even this week, there’s been a bit of regression in Hannah’s behaviour with the loss of Loveness and the start of Patience, our new nanny. Hannah is showing signs of stress, particularly in her arms and she looks to me for constant reassurance, she’s also stopped drinking her day time bottles properly and I really hope she will settle back into a routine soon.
Overall, Kate has said she believes Hannah is a very bright little girl, she shows tremendous interest and curiosity in the world around her, loves exploring her environment and is curious about any new objects and loves to turn them over, examine them and taste them and that as long as we learn Hannah’s triggers and to read her body language, which I believe we’ve made huge improvements in, then there should be no long term or lingering effects.
I’m keen to see how she goes once we’ve finished with the brushing regime! But time will tell. For now, I’m just pleased that she’s become a much calmer and far more receptive child.