Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Physical Therapy, Walkers, and AFO's

Today Nina got to go to Physical Therapy for the first time. Wow! Let me say it again, slowly...W.O.W!

My appreciation of Physical Therapy has taken on a new dimension after today. You see, when we began to take Nichole to physical Therapy (at 3 months old) I did not realize how much we were doing. Yes, I am the type of mother that will learn as much as I can, and do all that I can to help my children. I got the book "Gross Motor Skills in Children With Down Syndrome" and did many of the exercises suggested. I worked with Nichole and somehow "knew" what to do. The truth is, there is very little you have to do with an infant, so slowly, Nichole and I learned together.

Nina, however, is a different story. Yes, I have the book "Teaching Motor Skills to Children With Cerebral Palsy" and I have read it and looked at it many times. But when you have missed 3 1/2 years of learning along with your child it is not that easy! I try, but this time around, Nina and I really need help!

Our Therapist is just an awesome lady, and she is so good at what she does! She showed me some stretches to do with Nina and now I know she is not going to break! I was afraid of doing something that could...break her? Hurt her? I don't know, all I know is that I am learning and trying to figure out the body of a 3 1/2 year old with Cerebral Palsy.

She also said Nina will need AFO's (Ankle-Foot Orthosis) I was expecting to hear this because she really needs them! These AFO's will help Nina to keep her knees, legs, ankles, and feet aligned in in the proper posture. See, when Nina stands, she stands with her knees bent and on her toes. You can see from the picture that having these on will help her to stand correctly (or so we hope!)

And Nina will also get a walker that will look a lot like this one, except in hot pink! This way we can get her moving and on her feet! I knew that our future with Nina would require special equipment, and today, this became more of a reality. I am excited, so excited, yet, this is new territory for us, and I choose to see the fun of a hot pink walker! What is sweet is that if Nina progresses, this walker becomes a reverse walker.
So we have started. This is the beginning of a journey for Nina, a journey that she would have never been able to take had she stayed in Ukraine. It is exciting and it is intimidating, but thankfully, we have so many friends, family, and professionals that will help us and encourage us and Nina along the way.

Proudly, proudly we will wear the AFO's and ride the walker. And if someone stares, we will wave and smile because we have much to smile about!


  1. Hi, so glad to hear Nina will be starting her pt! It has been great for Ilona. She is getting the orthos with the butterflies :) Ilona is getting stronger everyday. Recently, she has been walking across the room without her crutches. It's been amazing.

    Maggie Jackson

  2. Nicole8:48 AM

    I think Nina will look fantastic with her "hot" pink walker (I am excited to see her progress), I'm voting for the butterfly orthos too!!! You and Andy are such amazing parents so Nina only has success in her future! We'll be praying that this journey will go as smoothly as possible for all of you!


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