Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Introducing car therapy

This year, Max started opening the car door and getting in by himself. As with any one of Max's milestones, I remain excited even though this has been happening for months now.

This feat is especially awesome because it includes a variety of skills—the strength, balance and coordination to lift himself up into our minivan, grasp the door handle with his more functional hand (his left) and pull it in. Once he's settled in, Max will grab the seatbelt and pass it to me; he can't yet insert it into the buckle. He's also not yet able to maneuver the handle and push the door out when he needs to get out of the car. We've been trying and trying but, no.

And so, Max's next private occupational therapy session is going to take place in the car, where he and his OT are going to figure out a way to enable him to open the car door. 

Therapy isn't always a magical cure and therapists aren't miracle workers, of course. When Max was a toddler who wasn't yet toddling, even our absolutely incredible physical therapist couldn't get him to walk right away. Nobody could have—it had to come from Max, if it was going to happen at all, when he was physically and cognitively ready. As with all his milestones and inchstones, they're on his timeline and nobody else's.

What physical therapy has done for Max over the years is train him to use his muscles, and give him tactics and tricks to enable them to do what he wants them to do. When you have cerebral palsy, your muscles can't always respond to the signals your brain sends, which is why his hand and arm refuse to do his bidding with the car door.

One of Max's favorite activities is sitting in the car and pretend-driving our minivan (if you ever hear anyone honking in our driveway, it's him), so he's all sorts of excited about car occupational therapy. I have a feeling that, with focus and work, he's going to nail this one on the sooner side. But there's no rush—this boy has all the time in the world to make progress. 

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Thanks for sharing!

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