I have mentioned before that baby boy here is not crawling, but I haven’t gone into much detail.
Not only that, but he’s not really trying to crawl…or pull to stand, or any of that. Most babies start bearing their own weight on their legs at only a few months. Ryan never did. Even now, if we want him to practice standing, we have to force him to put his feet down. He usually just does sticks his feet straight out like this.
We haven’t been too worried about it because his cognitive development and his fine motor skills have been right on track. Our pediatrician told us to give him some time and that he wasn’t worried either. But at Ryan’s birthday checkup, when he still wasn’t progressing, our doc offered to refer us to a pediatric physical therapist.
A couple weeks ago we went in for an initial evaluation and our suspicions were confirmed. Homeboy needs some help.
His physiology seems fine, but because of the way he scoots exclusively on one side, there’s some concern about maintaining his body’s left-right balance. If you only work the muscles on your right side, the left will atrophy, which makes you only able to use the right side, which further weakens the left… You get the point. Additionally, since he rarely puts weight on his feet, his ankle, knee, and hip joints need to be strengthened.
So far we’re focusing on that left-right balance, stimulating his feet with different textures and pressures (since his unwillingness to stand could be a sensory issue), and putting pressure on his joints by either having him stand while supported or pushing on his feet while he lies on his back.
We’re encouraging him to spend time on his hands and knees, which he usually hates, or just kneeling upright, which he also doesn’t care for. It’s more fun for him when we use the exercise ball, plus it helps him work the muscles needed for balancing, so we pull it out for at least a few minutes every day.
Unfortunately, continuing with this therapist is going to be cost prohibitive. She want to see Ryan weekly, but even with insurance our out of pocket will be $600 per appointment. And…no. That’s just not feasible. Fortunately Arizona has an early intervention program for kids who need help meeting developmental milestones, and it’s 100% state funded. Free help? Yes please. We have an appointment with them tomorrow to see if he qualifies.
Neither of the girls have needed any help like this, so the process–and accompanying stress–is all new to me. His “problem” is pretty minor, but it’s still hard sometimes not to get into a spiral of worry…is there something seriously wrong? Have we failed him somehow? Are we giving him enough help? Too much? Maybe we’re blowing it out of proportion and he’s fine and we needn’t waste our time? But what if he never walks and it’s our fault? It’s ridiculous, but that’s parenting for you. You get a little ridiculous sometimes about your kids.
Fingers crossed things go well. That either Ryan makes huge progress quickly and we don’t need physical therapy at all, or that he qualifies for the free intervention and they can help him meet those milestones.
And if nothing else, he’s still my sweet happy boy and I will squish him and snuggle him and kiss his chubby cheeks a million times a day. That can only help, right?
Did you need any interventions as a kid? If you have children, did they need any help meeting milestones? Or have you worked with kids who needed assistance to develop appropriately? I’d love to hear your success stories!
**All photos by Photography Hill**