My husband and I felt like deer in the headlights as we walked into Bob’s office for the first time. Just a few months before, on her first birthday, our little daughter had been diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy. Bob was quite matter of fact, confident, firm in a loving sort of way, and completely open and hopeful about the possibilities for our little daughter. We walked out of his office feeling like we could suddenly see much better in the blazing light of disability.
As we started the crawling portion of our program for the first time I actually felt hopeful about the possibilities of Maggie being independently mobile. But, the hours of program turned into days, and weeks, and months. Just moving arms and legs, over and, over and, over again with no sign of response or recognition in her little muscles.
I have to admit that my hope of ever seeing Maggie move on her own had long since died at worst or was completely hibernating at best. But we took a chance on the comforting and confident direction of Bob and just kept at it.
Then one day, in the fall of 2009 I put Maggie on her tummy in the living room and went to do a chore. I came back to find her in a slightly different spot. I cocked my head trying to remember exactly where I had placed her.
A few days later it happened again. I put Maggie down, left the room, came back and she wasn’t where I left her. I wish we could have taken a picture of our faces when we finally had to admit that Maggie was moving, crawling in fact, on her very own!
It took about a month before anyone could actually catch her doing it. But it was real. The right stimulation, at the right duration, at the right frequency had worked. Or daughter was moving independently. What a joy and gift, especially to Maggie.
In celebrating this accomplishment, we wanted to share a fabulous picture we took of Maggie on her first maiden voyage into the back yard. I placed her on a carpet in the middle of the grass, turned by back to do some yard work, and within 60 seconds Maggie had crawled to the only muddy spot in the yard. Aren’t kids all the same!
If you’re feeling hopeless, or discouraged, or just plain tired about your child’s own program and progress don’t give up! Your work and commitment will bear fruits, and it will be such a precious joy and gift when it does. Trust that the seed will grow.