Ryan and I met with his Developmental Pediatrician today. We have been seeing him about every 3 months since Ryan was born. At first, I really saw no reason for these visits. It just seemed like they were documenting his progress, but I could do that.
We normally meet with the Nurse Practitioner, but today we met with Dr. Fierro. It was wonderful! He spent a lot of time with us. He was encouraged by Ryan's progress and had a few suggestions for us.
First, he discussed the need to set limits and expectations even for Special Needs children. I think we're already doing in this in the small way that we need to do it.
He then suggested that we start focusing on teaching cause and effect. The therapists have also been giving suggestions recently on how to do this. Most children start learning cause and effect when they drop something on the floor and Mom (or Dad) return it to them. They quickly learn that if they drop something, someone will pick it up for them. A lot of cause and effect is also taught visually. This makes it a little tougher to teach a child who has visual impairments and extremely limited use of his arms. I need to get busy and make the wheelchair tray for this. (I'll put pictures up and explain the concept more as soon as I finish it.)
Dr Fierro thinks Ryan will be a good candidate to communicate via computer as he gets older. He explained that teaching cause and effect is the first step in preparing him to be able to use adaptive communication devices.
We also discussed the current therapies Ryan is doing and recommended that we start looking into future options. Currently Ryan receives therapy from a group that works with 0-3 year olds. Thus, next year we will need to establish a whole new team of therapists. He gave me a couple of recommendations of therapy groups. Apparently, I need to visit with each of them and get Ryan on their waiting lists.
Let's see ... oh, we also discussed that we need to allow Ryan a lot of time out of his AFO's and primarily use his AFO's (foot braces) only when we're working on weight bearing exercises. He encouraged us to be sure not to use him when he's trying to sit, crawl or roll. Good to know. He also would like a slight modification to the new AFO's. He wants to put in a tarsal plate, which is kind of like a little speed bump that will prevent Ryan from curling his toes under.
And, he also reinforced the need to really stay on top of keeping Ryan's seizures under control. He likened seizures to a computer powering down and back up. "Each time you power a computer down and back up, you risk it not coming back up."
Dr Fierro was very complementary of our family and the stimulating environment we provide for Ryan. He said Ryan is thriving because we are taking such good care of him physically and also providing lots of opportunities for him to grow and develop. It was nice to hear such kind words.
I'm thankful we were able to meet with Dr. Fierro today. It was a pleasure.