Jun 2, 2009

A Day of Firsts

This is the look of victory. We have 2 large flights of stairs in our house and I've been working to teach Ainsley how to climb them. Due to her developmental delays I have had to grab her thighs and lift them up the stairs, position the hands on the next step and crawl her up the stairs. It's hard work, for both of us, but I guess it's finally paid off. At Ainsley's school they have a large ramp for physical therapy think like a gigantic home made slide. We'd tried to use it a few times but it was a bit much for Ainsley. Today after a few weeks break we tried again and I was amazed when I put her into position to climb the stairs together she looked like she would do it on her own. I stood there but didn't touch her and she CRAWLED UP THE STAIRS BY HERSELF! Slow and deliberately of course but by herself!

Then she continued to amaze us by crawling down the ramp without assistance. They had just repaired it the previous week and covered it with marmoleum which is an ideal surface because it's smooth but not too slick. Crawling down hill takes a lot of control and uses a lot more strength. In the past she'd needed a lot of help. Even with the new improved surface it was clear she had progressed massively since our last attempt in therapy.

Here is video of her making it up the final stair. Unfortunately I had to get the camera from the car. By the time I got it this was her 3rd time up and down the ramp so I only caught the end and she'd started to get tired.

As if that wasn't enough, she's also improved at climbing over things. This would be typical for a baby that is crawling but was very difficult for Ainsley. She only this past week has been able to climb over my legs if I'm sitting on the floor. So today she amazed us both by climbing very determinedly up and down "pillow mountain" for the first time. It's hard to gauge the size of these pillows from the pictures. Let me just say they are HUGE. Way to go Ainsley!

Her incentive? A white ball that lights up when you bounce it. But she's not done yet....

We want to teach Ainsley to do things that can further her independence. It is limiting not to be able to go where you want and get down from things. That's what we're working on here. Again another first. She was able in one session to learn how to get down from this wedge! She loves her pound-a-ball toy which was her incentive here. After she'd pound the balls in, Caroline would but her back up on the wedge so she would have to get down again to play.

She loves this thing. It's a great incentive. Shhhh don't tell her that's actually therapy too. It teaches cause and effect, eye hand coordination, and takes a strong grasp and shoulder strength to hammer the balls in.

Here she is doing it on video. You can see how hard she has to work to accomplish this.

But that's not allllll......

She also made massive progress on immitating the motions of up and down. That's an important piece of several of the activities that her class works on in music time every day. Due to her cerebellum issues she's not really able to keep up with some of those activities. So we'd been working on some of the skills used for music time during her one-on-one therapy. She'd been able to do this before but not quite as well. There are two videos here. In the first we are leading the song and you can see how she's pretty slow. Although to her credit she'd done it really well earlier in the session before I'd grabbed the camera. So she's pretty tired by this point since she's been through 2 hours of school which included 1/2 hour each of speech therapy, physical therapy and then an hour of combined therapy with Caroline.

In this video she is leading and after she catches on to the change you can see how quickly she is doing this up and down movement. This is great progress. And the fact that she can do any movements this fast is encouraging.

And earlier in the day she did a great job identifying objects during speech therapy. Her receptive language is improving. Jenny was quite impressed. Last week we started using a communication output device especially during music time since it's loud and being non-verbal you can get overlooked when your primary communication is through gestures. Below is a picture of the device from a few days earlier. Whatever you record into it is what the device will "say" when you push the button. In this scenario it says "my turn" whenever it's pushed, which she LOVES to do. It was so clear today how excited she is about having a voice even if it is electronic.

Truly she is amazing. She works so hard and always with a smile on her face. I am SO PROUD!


  1. What a busy girl!!! This is so wonderful to watch Susan. WTG Ainsley!!!!!!

  2. I was going to ask if you guys were working on any forms of augmentative communication with Ainsley since she's having such a difficult time picking up signs.

    Congratulations! It sounds like she had a thoroughly exhausting day with tons of accomplishments! That has to be heart warming. :o)

    Way to go Ainsley!

  3. Wow, Wow, Wow!! Susan, how did you keep yourself from not crying while video taping all Ainsley's accomplishments?! It's so awesome to share in Ainsley's progress. I'm proud of her too and I'm proud of you - you don't give up either! Slow and steady wins the race .... keep up the good work.

  4. Wow! I'm proud of her too--that's amazing stuff, Ainsley!

  5. Actually, I just got a moment to watch the videos again, without a cranky kid distracting me (note the comment time :-). I'm really amazed at the difference in Ainsley since I last saw her...really, her reaction times and complexity of movement have advanced so much! What a thrill, and what an amazing kid. I love those little flashes of smiles as she accomplishes something, too.