(Shirley, Hope's physical therapist, left; Barb, her OT, right)
Hope & I dropped off some presents this week for two very special ladies -- her occupational therapist, Barb, and physical therapist, Shirley.
About two weeks ago, Hope officially "transitioned" from the Early On home program into the school setting, meaning she'll no longer get any therapy at home. It'll all be based at a school about 25 minutes from us. As part of the transition, she also has a new OT and PT. And she's getting one-on-one speech therapy, which I'm really excited about it. All in all, Hope gets two hours of therapy a week. Sometimes I wish it was more but two hours is the maximum you're allowed in the Early On program in our county.
The hard part of transitioning out of the home program is that we won't see Barb & Shirley anymore which makes me sad (thus the "thank you" gifts). When Hope started working with them about a year ago, she barely had any head control, was nowhere near sitting, and the binky always had to be nearby in case of a major meltdown. Today, she's sitting great on her own, getting better and better trunk control, can hold her own bottle and can push a little pushcart thing on her own with just a little extra support. She's come so far.
And Barb & Shirley didn't just help Hope. They taught me exercises I could do to build Hope's strength, ways to maximize her independence and the importance of "play." They taught me that I didn't have to set aside time for "therapy" each day but to just to incorporate certain things into our play together. I really feel like they've helped make me a better parent.
And they gave me optimism about Hope's future. When you have a child with special needs, you don't take anything for granted. Nothing is a given. I never assumed that Hope would sit, walk, run or talk. Maybe I'm a pessimist. Or maybe it was just a way of protecting myself. But Barb & Shirley always made me feel good about all of Hope's achievements and milestones, no matter how long it took to get there. I'll never forget the day Shirley said Hope was a "mover" and she sees her running one day. I really hope she's right.