Kai in his Theratog suit that goes under his clothes
My brother Nick recently picked us up from the airport when we flew in for a family visit. The first thing he said was "oh my gosh, he is normal!" It was music to my ears!! He was referring to Kai's walking ability. Remember how I would describe Kai as walking around like a drunken sailor. In October Kai started to wear his Theratog on a daily basis. It has made a tremendous difference in his balance and motor planning. The purpose of the suit is to provide a level of pressure to the skin that you and I take for granted, so that he is aware of where his body is in relation to the wall, floor and other objects. It also forces him to use his muscles in the correct way, which helps the brain to know what to do when he doesn't have it on. Currently, Kai is wearing the Theratog from 9:00 in the morning until about 3:00 p.m. He wears it under his clothes and really seems to like it. Another therapy tool that we recently started to use is called a weighted blanket. You can buy them on line for hundreds of dollars but my therapy facility has a woman that makes them for $35.00. She sews 6 pockets into a blanket and then fills popcorn kernels into ziplock bags that then go into the pockets. When we need to wash the blanket we remove the baggies of kernels and we can throw the blanket in the wash. I put it on Kai at night to help him sleep and he loves it! Once again it is giving him a pressure that is calming to the body and it provides him a sense of where his body is in space. I am learning so much about his neurological issues and I am very hopeful that he can work through much of it.
Currently Kai consistently signs 15 words. Giving him a voice through sign language has really opened up a new world for him. He can now tell me when he is hurt, thirsty, hungry and when he wants things on or off. Recently he learned the sign for yes and I didn't realize how empowering the word "yes" can be. Before if I asked him a question and he wanted to say yes, he would just look at me. I would have to guess that yes, he wants to do it. But now, he readily shakes his hand yes when he wants things. It makes life so much easier for the both of us. He can sign the ABC's to the letter G and is signing up to the number 10. This week he learned the sign for family. He will point to Dan and he will spit a "d" sound out for dad, points to me and says "mom", is trying to spit the "b" sound out for Bei and then points to himself and then we always remind him about Elvis too. Kai's expressive continues to be difficult. I am asking his Auditory/Oral school if they will support him in sign language. It is a stretch to ask them to do it, because it isn't their curriculum. I want him to remain in the Auditory/Oral school because he is closing the gap on receptive language and they provide him so many incredible services. Yet, he needs an expressive language also.
The next venture for him is to start swallowing and feeding therapy. The therapist at Functional Kids really believe that a lot of his issues stem from his oral delay. We are going to start hitting that really hard. I am waiting to hear back if my insurance pays for the CPT4 codes that are billed before we dive in. I don't want to end up with a big bill in 6 months.
Kai is making remarkable progress!! It has been incredibly rewarding to parent him and see his hard work pay off. He is a blessing and an exceptional child.