Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Intensive Therapy Program

While we have been home from the Intensive Therapy Program for over a month, I still want to document our time there. I posted previously about the long drive each day and the 4-hour per day therapy program. However, the travel time was the least of my stresses. There is a reason they label it an "Intense" program. I felt like the exercises were pushing Crew in a way he has never been worked before. After about 9 days of inconsolable crying during the Neurosuit part, I became convinced that Crew had torn a muscle or something. It was just to hard too watch and I asked them to stop so I could look at his legs. Every time he was put into a hamstring stretch of any kind he would collapse and start crying. I was biting my nails trying not to freak out and I even told them I was quite disappointed in the program. I knew going into it that it would be hard but we have always tried to make therapy fun and this wasn't fun. I was so worried that it would ruin his perception of "therapy" and I told them that. They gave us the option of bumping the hours per day to 3 hours and I felt like that was a good move.

Before we committed to the program, Carl and I decided that it would be worth it if he even learned one small skill during his stay. Sometimes, something as small as holding a toy or sitting for a few more seconds can be a huge accomplishment. Realistically we hoped that he would pick up something small. We knew the program was not a cure all.

Our days started with a massage and then 2 hours in the Neurosuit (which we later reduced to one hour per day). Half an hour in the stander, another half hour in the monkey cage and a half hour in the spider cage where we worked on various strength training exercises. Crew did quite well in the cages considering and he liked the stander.

From the pictures you can see the pain in his face, the determination, and his sweet temperament... trying to look happy when he's not. Maybe it was harder on me as it is still hard to write about it without getting upset.

So, the big question is was it worth it? I truthfully can say that it was. Crew gained strength most noticeably in his legs. His high kneel is so much better. He learned to stand up from the bench with only a finger for balance and has made progress with his walker. When using his walker he is able to turn sharper and his endurance has improved. So thankfully we did make progress... in more than one skill which is more than we expected.

The next question: Would you do it again? I have to say that I would. The center doesn't take children before they are 3 and so we qualified but I wish they would have said something about the level of development. A typically developing three year old understand when you say for example, "Just 1 one more and then your done". Crew totally did not get this and sometimes we would sit for several minutes waiting for him to do just one more squat, one more leg lift, one more crunch. I really do think that he would have done better if cognitively he was at a higher level. So with that said, "Maybe again next year".

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