We had our first visit from the motor therapist on Wednesday, and I thought it went pretty well. She focused a lot on educating us, which I really liked. I’d envisioned somebody coming in and doing various exercises with Dante, some of which would probably aggravate him. Instead, she watched him move, asked us a lot of questions, and talked to us about things we can do to help his development. She also knew something about speech development, and had some ideas for us in that department as well. Some of her suggestions were things we’re already doing, but there were some new ideas too, that we’re excited to implement. One thing that surprised me is that she said drinking from a straw is great for speech-delayed kids, because it can help them exercise and coordinate mouth muscles that they need for forming words.
I had taken some time off work to be there, and I was really glad I did, since otherwise it would have been up to Laura to recapitulate the whole thing for me, and it’s much easier to receive that kind of education firsthand than secondhand.
In Dante Development News, he continues to take steps on his own, many times a day. He’ll stand up and take 2-8 independent steps, either reaching his goal or dropping down to crawl the rest of the way. He spent a lot of today playing with a big ball (it comes about up to his waist) that he just fell in love with. We’d gotten that a while ago, and he was mostly scared of it, but then Laura just gently rolled and bounced it herself for a good long while until he got curious enough that he wanted to try it. Since that point, it has been ball mania, which has been great, because it encourages lots of coordinated movement for him, and he really digs standing up and throwing it. He’s distinctly pointing to the ball and making a “b-b-b” sound, and he’ll point to me and himself and make “d-d-d” sounds. Oh, and when we were reading a book today that included the phrase “more and more”, he said “mow… mow…”, trying the sounds out in his mouth. We read the book twice and the effect repeated, so I don’t think it was coincidence.
One more parenting thing. My friend Stephen recently posted some links to articles about the psychology of how praise works for kids. This information made a huge lightbulb go off in my head. We had been flummoxed by the way Dante would seem to shut down when praised, and I think the idea of descriptive praise is going to be a really useful tool for us.