Danger certainly is determined! Described as non-verbal, he now has about 25 words and a dozen or so Pic Com Signs. Mikey needs a lot of sensory feed back with any task that he undertakes. Simply speaking, he needs to move to feel his body is working. He needs to do about 5 laps of a room, settle down for 2 minutes then do another few laps. It is a very trying time for him to learn new things and to retain this information. Coupled with his hemiplegia it’s a fine line between appropriate sensory feedback and pure exhaustion! His muscles use 3 times the amount of energy due to the hemiplegia and brain signals to those parts of the body.
For about the past 12 months, we have been working on how to dress/undress independently. Helping him with this technique is paying off. While getting ready for a bath, I stand back and watch him struggle, I grin and bear it and encourage him to try. He manages to pull off his t-shirt using is unaffected hand, over his head, unaffected hand down his hemi-side, then he shrugs it off with his other side. He then puts it IN the dirty laundry basket – even his own dad doesn’t do that!
The sense of achievement he feels while being able to now do these simple self-care tasks is a huge accomplishment for him. He will be 5 years old in September so to be able to dress independently, is another right step towards his independence.
One of the best pieces of advice I was given from a therapist was to use a dressing chair (just a cheap plastic kids chair). As it usually gets chucked down the staircase twice a day, plastic is best… but it does work as it gives him the stability to dress/undress that he otherwise wouldn’t have.
Perseverance pays off – Mikey, lead the way mate!