Yo soy La Lay

adventures in family, faith, and Down syndrome

Progress – Month 2

on February 26, 2014

All of Tessa’s therapies are in full swing now, so here is an update on where she is and what we’re working on:

Developmental Therapy
We are working on bonding as a family and smiling. I think the bonding is going well… we kind of like her… a lot. Plus, she’s a good sleeper, which definitely helps her cause. 😉 Tessa is doing some social smiling, though not a ton. More than anything, we would like Tessa to smile at Ellie. It will come… it may come faster if Ellie would stop undressing her like a doll every time I turn around.

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Physical Therapy
We are still hearing that Tessa is so strong!! The nurses called her “the swimmer” in the NICU because her arms and legs were always flailing. Now we’re trying to help her coordinate those movements a little more. It sounds odd, but she doesn’t know that her arms and legs are attached to her, so we try to encourage her to bring those parts in toward the body, like this:

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Rather than her preferred relaxed position:

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We do a lot of tummy time and also work on supporting her in a sitting position to gain more control of her neck. When holding her, we keep her legs from going “frog legged” as often as we can. Thankfully, she is loving sitting upright by Mom and Dad’s shoulders, so she gets a good workout in that way! She also throws her head back and extends her back a lot. They call it “extension” and while it is building strength, it’s not so great for her posture and physical development long-term. Again, trying to get her to bring everything midline (center) will help. We usually lay her on the floor between two rolled towels to help with this.

Speech Therapy
While Tessa is still eating laying down, we have much less gulping than before and she hasn’t choked on her food in quite some time. John went rogue and tried to feed her sitting upright, but she just wasn’t ready. Patience is very challenging, but I know she won’t eat on her side forever!! On a positive note, Tessa has found her hands and likes to chew on her thumb. I realize that this sounds strange, but different textures in and near the mouth are important! Also, to stimulate muscles, when we clean Tessa’s face, we always wipe toward the lips rather than away. Tummy time and sitting upright are helping her build up strength to eat in a typical manner. It’s so amazing how everything is related!

We won’t have an official re-evaluation until Tessa is 6 months and I’m curious to see where she is at by then. Babies change so much in their first year! This week, I packed away the newborn clothes (they lasted a lot longer with Tessa than they did with Ellie!). It goes so fast.

Tessa “stuck” in her towels. She doesn’t like it so much, but it’s good for her. 🙂

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3 responses to “Progress – Month 2

  1. Keri Sagen says:

    Love your blog. Almost sad when I have no more to read. You and your family are so blessed and it is amazing to watch you grow even more with Tessa. I still love that you use Julie. I hae known her since I was a little girl. My and and she were best friends and neighbors.

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