Henry had his first physical therapy session on Friday. It went really well. It lasted about 40 minutes because Henry started to get tired and wasn’t as receptive to it anymore.
At first, Henry was very standoffish. He would just watch this new woman trying to interact with him. It took a solid 15 minutes for him to warm up to her. But, he did eventually start to play, move and interact with her.
She mentioned some things right off the bat. She asked if we ever noticed that Henry’s head is tilted. I told her no, I had never noticed. After watching him some more, she said that Henry has torticollis. She explained torticollis as having a shortened neck muscle on one side – causing the head to tilt. She said that children with this condition usually have a type of motor delay, because they hate tummy time. All of this was ringing bells like crazy.
So, to correct the torticollis (does this sound like a large Greek man to anyone else?) J and I have neck stretches that we’re supposed to do with Henry. We place our right hand on his left shoulder, and our left hand on his head and gently bend his head down, so that his right eat goes towards his right shoulder, and that stretches out the shorter muscle. We do this 2 or 3 times a day – twice at a time for 30 seconds at a time. Henry reacts to it as you would assume any baby would. He screams, and cries and looks at you like you’re torturing him, and tries to throw your hands off of him. Ahh, fun times. But, despite Henry’s best efforts to make us feel guilty and to stop with the child abuse, J and I have been dutiful about doing it.
The therapist also told us that we need to help Henry to spend some time on his knees. We have to get him up on all fours, and see if he’ll reach and grab at toys in front of him. He’s been really good about doing that. She did say that when Henry’s on his tummy that he keeps his legs really wide, and that’s why he’s having a hard time getting up on all fours – his knees are simply too far apart to make it easy. So, by getting him used to keeping his knees together, we’re strengthening muscles that need to be strengthened. She is also going to get him a pair of spandex pants that have the knees sewn together. My sister laughed at this and announced that my son is going to be wearing spanx….the funny thing is, it’s an apt description.
So, that’s what happened at this week’s physical therapy session. She did tell us that Henry has improved his motor skills since the last time he was assessed. He was at the 5 to 6 month mark when he was seen 6 weeks ago, and now he’s at the 7 to 8 month mark, so he’s making progress on his own, and hopefully now that we have some tools we can get him going even farther.