Friday, April 23, 2010

therapy, therapy, therapy

My little man is 21 months old. He is such a nut. I love his personality. He is so lovable and sweet and aside from the fit-throwing is such a happy little guy.
I bought him some markers at the store last week. He isn't able to "color" but I figured he could start learning to scribble.
The whole time he was playing with them I was secretly sending up a prayer that the washable aspect of the markers was legit. I should have had more faith in Crayola's product line because Rhys was covered, Cody was covered, as was their clothing, and it all came out with no problem.

Today Rhys had a speech/oral consult with a speech pathologist (SP). Not to be confused with the occasional speech therapy he's been receiving from the OT. As always, we're trying to make sure we cover all bases and aren't missing some area Rhys needs help in. From way back when Rhys had problems properly sucking his bottles. We've been able to make do, but that improper sucking is now hindering his ability to use a sippy cup or straw. He also has a limited diet. Partly because he can't seem to adequately chew some things and in lesser part because he is a moody toddler. Again, we've made do but we'd love our little guy to eat "normal" toddler food instead of only oatmeal, yogurt and Nilla wafers. I wasn't expecting much from the visit, however I think any therapy is beneficial to Rhys regardless of what it is so I went with it.

The SP got here and I gave him Rhys's background. He was very interested in what I had to say. Okay, so we're off to a good start. Once we were done he had me give Rhys cookies so he could evaluate his eating. He watched Rhys eat and felt around in his mouth and on his neck. Which Rhys did not appreciate at all. In a few short minutes the SP spouted out some things Cody and I have noticed, plus some other things we weren't aware of.

To begin with, Rhys's right cheek muscles are weaker than the left. So now I'm pretty sure this guy knows what he's talking about because I had forgotten (how??) to tell the SP about Rhys's brain bleed! In addition to the weaker cheek muscles Rhys has an under bite. If we didn't have these other issues the under bite probably wouldn't be a problem. Lastly, Rhys chews up and down, but not side to side. It is more like a reflex than it is conscious chewing in an attempt to break down the food. All these things are making it difficult for his mouth to coordinate all the movements. And why Rhys has problems sealing his lips around a nipple or straw to suck. Rhys uses his tongue to move food around in his mouth, and he's doing a good job, but his tongue can't compensate for the lack of coordination. He is unable to identify food size and will try to shove the whole cookie into his mouth if you don't break it up for him. So if the bite is too big and doesn't break down enough when chewed it doesn't register with Rhys, his tongue tries to move it to the back of his mouth to swallow, it gets stuck and Rhys starts to choke.

Despite these difficulties the SP assured me Rhys is "200, no 500 times better" than most of the other kids he treats. He thinks once therapy gets started we should see progress in about 8 weeks. And he thinks Rhys will have no problem catching up and eating like a regular toddler without choking and puking. The therapy should also help him transition to a straw/sippy cup and help his speech. OMG, is that for real?!? It's almost too much for my little brain to take in. Cody and I have always fought very hard with Rhys's eating. First to make sure he consumed enough milk to grow properly and not require a feeding tube (which incidentally the SP told me would have horribly exacerbated the oral defensiveness), then to spoon feed and now to introduce new foods. We've always been of a mind that Rhys would outgrow it in time but never gave much thought to something being able to speed up that process. So I am super excited about the potential of this helping Rhys!

And now for Grammy's Zoe fix. She is now 7lbs 11oz. She actually slept for 5.5 hours last night. I'm in love with my kids, they are so great!


Michelle Smith said...

My two grandchildren are sooo precious. Rhys is so handsome and Zoe is beautiful. Keep those pictures coming

Alicia said...

Wonderful news, you guys! Excited with you for Rhys's progress! You are doing an excellent job parenting your two darling kiddos!

Melanie said...

Hi! Was thinking of you and wondering how you guys were doing, very handy to be able to pop over to your blog and get an update! Rhys and Zoe are looking so good, they both seem to be growing so fast. I love the picture of Rhys sitting up on the couch, looking at the camera. He looks so happy, and that's the first picture of him I've seen that I can really tell how much he looks like his mom! Hope you are getting enough rest these days and feeling somewhat recovered from the C-section.