There are many things I never experienced before having identical twins both with a diagnosis of Down Syndrome. But the one I'm going to blog about today is therapies.
When the twins came home they began Early Intervention therapy at about four months of age. The first type of therapy they began was Physical Therapy. At four months of age the therapist came into our home and did little leg exercises with the boys. As they got stronger they worked on holding their head up, then rolling and sitting, then getting up on hands and knees and then into standing positions. This was alot of work for the boys and one thing that this made me realize is that we totally take our typical healthy children for granted at how naturally things just come to them. To explain this, its just a natural progression for children to lift their head, then learn to roll, then get up on their hands and knees..rock back and forth and then start crawling and so on. With my boys they literally had to be taught how to do each one of these steps. Its amazing how hard my guys worked to get where they are today.
Then Occupational Therapy started. They stared with play therapy. They would learn to push buttons on toys to make the lights and music go off. Then they would pull things, put rings on a post. Now that one was one that literally took us months to master. I'm pretty sure it took both boys about three months to be able to put four rings on a post. It was quite a challenge for them. Now we put shapes into a shape sorter, we're starting to work on pre-writing skills. They also put weighted vests on them for sensory input and this helps them focus on getting their work done. Here are a few recent photos from outpatient OT.
Isaac on the swing:
Building a tower:
Now stacking the squares back together:
After OT came Speech Therapy. The major surprise with this therapy was that the therapist(s) are not trained in sign language. All they do with the boys is try to get them to vocalize and make sounds. After trying this for three years now, I would think they would offer another suggestion. Now some of them do know basic sign and they incorporate this into the therapy session, but I'm still amazed that signing is not "part of their job". The twins truly enjoy speech therapy. Its alot of puzzles, reading books, signing songs, and playing with balls and cars trying to get them to make any noise we can.
Here is speech therapy putting puzzles together:
Here is TSS signing them a story:
Then the boys both had a VitalStim therapy for about a year. This was an electrical stimulation to their neck area to help strengthen their swallowing.
Notice the electrodes on their neck and the little gray machine behind Isaac, that was the volume controller. They would turn the intensity up if the boys would tolerate it. They were to eat and/or drink during this 45 minute session each week.
Now they also have TSS services due to their Autism diagnosis and I have to say that by far these girls are the best thing that's happened to me and my boys. They basically take each therapy that the boys are given and replicate it all week long. Each boy has 18 hours a week with their TSS and they behave better for them than they do me...LOL
Now that the boys are three they attend a preschool provided by the school district to prepare them for kindergarten AND they attend another preschool for children with Autism called Stepping Stones. So between the two preschools they have a four day week of schooling and TSS's at home three days a week.
So the boys are very stimulated and very intensely educated. I am very happy with where they are right now and it amazes me to see their wheels a turnin and thinking about what they've been asked to think about and doing what they've been asked to do. I am so proud of them. I am so happy with our journey so far with them and anxious to see where this journey takes us. God is so good and I am so honored to have been blessed with these boys.