Monday, March 26, 2012

home based cimt - first week summary

so i was going to post day by day summaries. well it's now day 7 and obviously the day by day didn't happen. however i will say that each day has been a lot like the last day but also a little different. there is a pattern happening here.

basically what this week has come down to is (somewhat) structured and organized play focusing on (mostly) one handed activities. early in the week i made a list of activities to do for each day. we may stick to the list or we may not. over the last week it's been very routine for ozzie to get up and put the mitt on. there has been no argument or frustration in this respect. he would happily put his arm out for me to put the mitt on his left hand.

so every day we:
wake up, put the mitt on.
get dressed.
make breakfast/eat breakfast.
play play play! which includes:

  • wooden blocks
  • wooden puzzles
  • playdoh
  • drawing/colouring/stamps on big sheets of paper
  • using magnets to stamp on the magnadoodle
  • drawing on the chalkboard
  • singing with big arm movements
  • hand massage
  • high tens
  • sitting quietly someone's lap to read a book and he'd help turn the pages
  • hiding objects in rice or beans and having him dig through to find them
  • playing and digging in our sandbox
  • blowing bubbles
  • picking up sticks or pine cones around the yard
  • wrestling with his brother (with gentle reminders not to use his mitt as a weapon!)
  • playing with little cars, driving them around on the floor
  • playing with trains, setting up tracks

i mean look at this list. really look at it. it's not really all that different from what we do on a normal day to day basis. and this list? probably not much different than what you do with your kids too. the only difference is that with this play-based therapy someone is sitting with him 100% of the time, helping or guiding him with activities. that and ozzie's also using his non dominant hand on purpose, to get those new pathways forming in his brain. and honestly, i think it's working. (!!!!)

this week hasn't been an easy walk in the park. there have been meltdowns. there have been numerous times where tears have happened and patience has been limited. it's mostly been in regards to him eating. i can see how awkward it is for ozzie to eat with his non dominant hand. but he's doing it. and this is what most impresses me about my 2.5 year old. he's doing it!

tomorrow our ot and pt come for a home visit to see ozzie's progress.
one more week of constraint therapy.
we've totally got this.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

home based cimt - day two

i woke up earlier than the kids this morning, made the coffee, put the kettle on for brendan's tea. sat down to check what's going on in the interwebs. i heard crying. from ozzie. this isn't abnormal. he wakes up crabby more times than not. he just needed a mommy snuggle before really waking up. so he came into the living room where i was sitting and jumped up on my lap. we sat for a bit and i told him, "time to put your mitt on ozzie." his response? "okay."


mitt on. time: 8:00am

we dove into breakfast. he did not want to sit in his high chair, he wanted to sit at his little table, on his little chair and wanted me to sit with him. sure no problem little buddy. he wanted lots of fruit. strawberries, grapes & blackberries. fruit granted. & toast cut up into 4 squares, with milk in his cup.

he had some trouble. our ot told us to start with larger pieces of food for him to grasp with his affected hand. he opted out of his normal yogurt cup too, maybe he was intimidated by the spoon? who knows. i talked to him about the activities we'd be doing after breakfast. we'll keep practicing pincer grasp for picking smaller things up.

miles was also home today and being almost 5 years old - he was not interested in a lot of the things we were planning on doing. we had struck a deal that the little tiny lego would have to go away until after lunch since it's not exactly appropriate for the kind of therapy we're doing with ozzie.

first up: playdoh!
alright, i won't lie. playdoh is not my favourite activity. mostly because i end up doing most of the work. but today the work was spread out between all of us. i had ozzie squish big balls of the dough with his hand. he liked to use his mitted hand to squash the balls too, but again, gentle reminders not to get his mitt dirty worked like a charm. we made pizza, different toppings for the pizza, alligators, food for the alligators and so on. lots and lots of squishing. win!

we cleaned up the playdoh and got down on the floor to play with the wooden blocks. a snowmobile was made. and we attempted a house but someone was more frustrated this time around. he went to use his mitted hand more than he did yesterday, but was much more effective putting blocks away with his right hand. so we pretended he was a crane that was picking up each block, complete with sound effects.

m&d puzzles. we did the musical instruments puzzle today. gentle reminders to grab the little red knobs were met with smiles because it worked for him! good stuff. the fishing rod style puzzle went a little haywire because he started using the rod as a weapon. a little frustrating but we got back on track picking up the wrecked cars with the magnet and also practicing numbers since there's numbers on the cars. win!

ozzie then took some direction of his own. because miles is also home today and was playing quietly by himself with little hot wheels cars - ozzie wanted to join in too. so he did. ozzie got on the floor with miles and happily played cars, driving them around the floor with his right hand grasped around them, while his other hand was flat on the floor as support. activities while miles is home could prove to be a little more difficult than i'd anticipated. but we'll work through it and get the boys playing therapy appropriate games or toys together.

happy to admit that three hours seemed to fly by.

home based cimt - day one

we had our ot visit us at home on the first day of constraint induced movement therapy (cimt). we talked for a while about the length of time ozzie would be wearing his constraint mitt for. we talked about different activities we'd have him do. we assessed certain toys around our home that would be good for this type of therapy, what wouldn't be so great. she originally thought he'd wear the mitt for 8hrs. after doing some of my own research and reading, i wondered the effectiveness of 8hrs vs. 4hrs a day. honestly, i was overwhelmed with the idea of keeping ozzie constantly occupied with therapeutic activities for 8hrs a day for 2 weeks. i thought he'd get bored or i'd run out of ideas of things to do with him. but our ot came bearing news that in the lastest research and reading she had done, that 3hrs was just as beneficial over time, as the previously thought 8hrs a day.

big collective sigh of holy relief? yes.

so our first day:
ozzie sat in my lap while i put his mitt on. leading up to that first day of therapy, i had told him on different occasions he'd be wearing a mitt on his one hand, he'd always say, "no mama. no want to." but thankully he sat patiently as i put it on. however, i do need to make a few minor adjustments to the mitt itself, more velcro. more velcro!

we sat and played with the bin of wooden blocks. to start we did have to remind him to use his right hand (affected hand) and not his hand with the mitt on. habit. he'd try to grab a block from the bin with his mitt. more gentle reminders. he did well at first, especially tapping blocks on the mitt - which would make a sound because of the splint material inside the mitt itself. so he built a house, a tower or two, a snowmobile. lots of crashing them down too. there were a few times of frustration and he'd try to take his mitt off. "want off. want off." but we'd again, gently distract him to toss blocks back into the bin so we could clean up and start another activity.

next up: melissa and doug wooden puzzles. the magnetic ones with the fishing rod. these were great and we'll do this one a lot. we have 3 versions of it, demolition derby trucks, undersea creatures & bugs. he had fun taking the bugs out but also putting them back in. the m&d puzzles with the little knobs - we wondered if they would be too hard for him. there were a few frustrating moments here too but you can see him trying so hard with his pincer grasp in his right hand. we have 2 versions of this one too, cars, planes, trucks & musical instruments. we did notice that he'd reach for the pieces with his right hand without reminding him that was the hand he needed to use. however he'd try to put the pieces back in the puzzle with his left hand.

a smaller 12 piece puzzle which any other time would prove easy for him, well. proved difficult. the pieces were too small for him at this stage of the therapy and he was very easily discouraged. lots of, "can't do it. can't do it." so we helped him along by putting the pieces together and he'd push them down flat with his right hand.

at this point, our ot leaves and we're on our own. took the art easel outside for some drawing time. ozzie would pass me the chalk with his right hand and bark commands of what i should draw. i didn't mind. flowers, stars, moons, snowmobiles. dad took over while i made some snacks to eat outside.

in the front yard we sat on the steps, chilled out and ate our peanut butter and crackers. he had a bit of trouble with the crackers and his thermos. he didn't want to get messy. and it's totally okay to help him. so we did.

we took the mitt off. ate some more food and off we went to go shopping for some new shoes for ozzie as well as some groceries. we talked to ozzie several times over the rest of the day, that as soon as he wakes up the mitt will go on. just so he understands what to expect. always with a resounding, "okay mom. yep."

folks, at this point i am feeling a big fat phew. that this will go smoothly. well, as smoothly as we make it. it's all about keeping ozzie distracted, don't keep the kid waiting on the next activity, keep ozzie happy!

easy peasy.

Monday, March 19, 2012

because today is the day before.

so remember way back to almost a year ago, ozzie was about a year and a half and still not walking? we chalked it up to him being the 2nd kid and it's well known second kids seem to take their sweet ass time doing things? well he started sort of walking. yay! however, something was not right. mother's intuition? maybe. i stressed and tossed and turned and didn't sleep well during this time period.

and remember way back to april of last year when we took ozzie to a development clinic to get him checked out and they referred us to a physiotherapist for more information and testing? i stressed and tossed and turned and didn't sleep well during this period.

and remember how we just continued on with our summer as if nothing was wrong, but something was totally wrong and i called and called to find out when we had that developmental pediatrician appointment and it was so far away i wanted to kick and scream. and, you guessed it, i stressed and tossed and turned and yep. i didn't sleep well during this period.

and remember at the end of last summer, we met with a consulting pediatrician. he skirted around a diagnosis of cerebral palsy. and he ordered an mri. and he referred us to an orthopedic surgeon. yeah. the days surrounding that visit consisted of stress, tossing, turning and not sleeping well.

and remember way back in november we went and had ozzie fitted for his afo? we picked it up in december and the night before his first full day of wearing it i stressed, i tossed and turned, and did not sleep well.

and remember in december we finally met with a developmental pediatrician. the appointment itself was very anti-climatic. we already knew most of the things he told us that day. plus he told us he'd be passing ozzie on to a different developmental pedi/neurologist. still. i stressed, tossed and turned and did not sleep well.

today is the day before.
starting at 930am or so tomorrow morning, we start two weeks of constraint induced movement therapy (cimt). two weeks. 8 hours a day ozzie will wear a constraint mitt on his unaffected hand. his left hand. his "good" hand. his dominant hand. he'll have to get used to using his right hand for many things.

the idea behind this type of therapy is:
Constraint-induced movement therapy (CI or CIMT) is a form of rehabilitation therapy that improves upper extremity function in stroke and other Central Nervous System damage victims by increasing the use of their affected upper limb.[1]  via wikipedia.

neuroplasticity really is an amazing thing. new neural pathways will be made in his brain, and hopefully it'll make ozzie use his affected hand more, without being told to or reminded.


i should be stressed. i should be tossing and turning. i should be losing sleep. but i'm not. sure i'm nervous about how the whole thing will go down. but if i've learned one thing over the last year: it's that my kid is resilient. he's a trooper. he is becoming a little more independent each day, to the tune of "me do it myself!," if you try to help him. and yes, he has a few somewhat major things he needs to work on, things that would come naturally to other kids his age. he will get there. in his own time.

but today? i feel at peace with it all. because tomorrow? may be a different story.

Monday, March 5, 2012


alright folks. where have i been? it's been over a month between posts... well. hmm. sickness has been hanging out for the last couple of weeks. so that's been fun. 

well life, i guess, has been happening. and what better way to jump into my lack of blogging than with a game of tag? easy since all i have to do is answer some questions. so here you go. enjoy! i will not tag others since well... i don't expect much i guess. or maybe i just don't want to bother anyone. both alicia and sarah tagged me from their sites, so go check them out too.


  1. Post these rules
  2. You must post 11 random things about yourself
  3. Answer the questions set for you in the post you were tagged in
  4. Create 11 new questions for your tagees to answer
  5. Tag them on Twitter, Facebook or your blog

photo of me: wedding day. feb. 2, 2012.

ten random facts about erin:

i’m #3 in the kid ladder. i have two older sisters and one younger brother. out of the three girls, we each have a different colour of hair. 

when i was a kid - having breakfast for dinner was so neat. well, now i know it’s one of those last minute, there’s nothing else to eat let’s just have bacon and eggs sort of dinners. add fruit to the plate and all bases are covered. 

when i was picking classes for my last year of high school i signed up for a fashion course because i loved sewing. at the last minute they got rid of the program. i went on to study graphic design fundamentals and technical/medical illustration in college. i’ve now realized that sewing has and always will be my real passion.

i meal plan. but more times than not, those meals never actually get made.

i have a child with cp. but i hate using that term.

my motivation comes in short bursts. i wish it would come stay a while longer.

if i were to win the lottery, i’d immediately hire a personal chef. 

i grew up on lake huron and have no idea how to swim properly. 

i prefer salty snacks to sweets. potato chips are my kryptonite.

i’m so grateful i’m able to stay home with my kids. some days are easier than others and yes i complain but that’s normal. we have made a lot of sacrifices to do this, but mostly they come from brendan. i probably don’t tell him enough how much it really does mean to us all, we love him so much - he’s a great father and an awesome husband. so thank you brendan, xoxo.

questions alicia asked:
  1. Did you have an imaginary friend? What was his/her name? not that i can remember.
  2. I’m interviewing you for your dream job- how do you get me to hire you? sorry - my dream job involves me being my own boss. so.
  3. Is there a song that makes you want to cry every time you hear it? the entire Elizabeth Mitchell, You Are My Sunshine album because it reminds me of when Miles was a baby - but the song, Black Jack Baby gets me every time.
  4. What is one personality trait of your partner’s that you wish you had? he’s very motivated and gets tunnel vision when persuing a specific goal. i wish i could be more like this.
  5. Go-to website for sure-fire hilarity? america’s funniest home videos.
  6. What’s your favourite childhood memory of a grandparent? there’s many, pops always used to say, “nuts for the nutty!” as he’d offer you some of his tinned peanuts.
  7. You see a mom at the playground. She’s on her phone while her mouthy kid stuffs sand down his pants and smushes his chewed gum in her purse. What do you tweet about her? probably nothing because i don’t have a cell phone. *edited - i DO have a cell phone but no web capability.
  8. Describe a moment in the very recent past you wanted to give a self-high-five. having made ozzie’s constraint therapy mitt at home. it was important to me, that i had made it right. at his last appts. i brought it to show his ot, and indeed i had done a good job, better than the ones she had made. pat pat.
  9. How long does it take to get from your house to Windsor, Ontario? to drive: 3hrs 35mins.
  10. Do you remember what you wanted to name your kid when you were younger? Boy name and girl name: although i always knew i’d have kids, can’t say i had names for them. i DID think a girl was in my cards.. but nope.
  11. If you could only dip your vegetables in one thing for the rest of your life, what would you choose? guacamole.

questions that sarah asked:
1. What was the first album you ever purchased (vinyl, tape, or cd)? i remember the first tape purchase my mom made was blondie, best of blondie,cassette tape ℅ columbia house. MY first purchase was the pixies, trompe le monde, cassette tape.
2. What was the first accessory you bought with your own money? um? i don’t know? a headband?
3. Favourite gift you’ve ever received? my children.
4. The coolest person you’ve ever met? that first date with brendan. wow. also, my children.
5. The item in your home with the most sentimental value? a necklace from my husband.
6. The grossest thing in your refrigerator right now? some ginger coconut chicken which has been sitting for probably way too long in there. time to toss.
7. Something you always purchase at the grocery store? like, everytime i go? probably milk.
8. One thing you hope to accomplish this year. i want to sign up for a fall craft show.
9. Your current favourite song. breakfast, lunch and dinner - kermit ruffins.
10. What we’d eat together if I showed up on your door step today.
i’d love to prepare a feast - but if it was last minute - probably some sort of red thai curry. i almost always have the ingredients on hand. if i knew you were coming, maybe steak, sweet potato fries w/aioli, asparagus, and i’m sure some fattening hot dip with chips as an appy. now i’m hungry.

so there you have it. easy transition back into the blog. i'm going to prepare some pictures to post. new fabric in the house means new projects on the go! stay tuned.