Sunday, August 31, 2008

Another Kiss Dis

allie-kiss-1 Here's Allie finally giving up on playing hard-to-get letting the charming and Susan in close for a kiss.

allie-kiss-2 Here's Allie ecstatic after springing her little trap on the unsuspecting charming and beautiful Susan. She almost bit her lips off.

Allie exudes personality. She may have special needs and may even be a little slow to respond. But she is definitely not slow of mind. She doesn't miss a thing.

On Wednesday we'll be in family court with Allie down in San Francisco. A judge will bring the adoption process to a close. Allie will be our third child.

check out this Kiss Dis, too.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Allie sports a TheraTog

IMG_0289 There's the mild-mannered Allie, and then there's Super-Allie. This is a TheraTog suit designed to provide optimum alignment and posture. Melissa broke this suit out for experimentation during Allie's session last Thursday. It was big fun for Allie. She loves the sound of velcro; she thinks the ripping sound Velcro makes.

Which reminds me:

Did you ever have one of those cloth and Velcro wallets that were so popular imagewhen I was a teenager? One time when my teacher bent over in class, I opened my wallet making that Velcro ripping sound. That teacher stood up so fast grabbing her behind thinking she was covering up a tear in her polyester pants suit... What a crack up. My dad heard from the dean of students so often they were on a first name basis.

Anyway, that was a little off the subject. What I meant to tell you is that I'm pretty sure Allie's suit is where Olympian Mark Phelps swimsuit got the inspiration for his winning swimsuit.

I wonder if he pulls loose those Velcro straps near the girls volleyball team to make them think their little suits are ripping.

This started out as a post about Allie. Here's some video of her and Rena.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Trinidad, CA

IMG_0272 Allie, the charming and beauitiful Susan, and I have been doing a short day trips in the new van for the past few weekends. Each trip, we drive a little further. Today we did 80 miles round trip with a stop in Trinidad (pop 314), CA, for a short walk on the beach. Allie did phenomenal.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Commando Crawling

These are videos I shot today of Allie at physical therapy.

Since I'm an ex-Marine (once a Marine, always a Marine, my father the twenty year lifer always says), all of my off-spring WILL know how to:

  • low crawl
  • shoot a weapon while covered in mud
  • field strip an M16 in thirty seconds or less
  • sing the Marine Corps Hymn while laying at attention in bed

So here's video of Allie learning how to low crawl...

Friday, August 08, 2008

Latest Allie Occupational Therapy Update

IMG_0174 Rena completed a thorough review of Allie's goals and achievements.

Summary: Ali is now two years old and continues to make progress towards her goals. She has increased muscle tone and limitations in fine motor coordination and self care skills.

Past Goals:
1. Reach to cause and effect toy with 80° right shoulder flexion: met
2. Reach to cause and effect toy with 80° left shoulder flexion: met
3. Grasp 1 to 2" cube or toy using a radial digit grasp: improved but not met
4. Use both hands together when offered a light weight 12" toy held to her fingers: not met

Current Goals:
1. Finger feed 6/6 Gerber Puffs or other soft finger foods independently
A. Finger feed 3/6 Gerber Puffs with moderate assist
B. Finger feed 4/6 Puffs with minimum assist

2. Spoon feed 2 ounces of thick puree with moderate assist
A. Spoon feed 1 ounce of thick puree with maximum assist
B. Spoon feed 4 bites of thick puree with moderate assist

3. Demonstrate a radial digit grasp on cube or toyIMG_0229
A. Consistently use a radial palmer grasp with cube or toy

4. Independently hold a light weight 10" toy with both hands
A. Hold a 10" light weight toy with both hands with minimum assist

General: Ali is now two years old and scheduled for twice weekly occupational therapy. She continues to make progress towards her goals.

Caregiver Concerns: Her grandmother notes that although Ali now tolerates taking a bath, it has become increasingly difficult to support her in the tub. Ali leans towards the right when sitting in her car seat and her grandmother would like her to be safely supported when in the car. She also wants Ali to be more successful feeding herself.

Range of Motion: Ali's upper extremity range of motion is within normal limits.

Muscle Tone: Ali has increased muscle tone in bilateral upper extremities. All shoulder motions, forearm supination, and elbow extension are tight at end ranges. Although she will open her hands, her thumbs are often in her palms in the left more than right.

Fine Motor Coordination: Ali is demonstrating increased curiosity about her environment and is using her hands more frequently to explore and play with toys. She has met her goals of reaching with her right and left arms to 80° or more to play with cause and effect toys. Although she is beginning to visually focus and occasionally track moving objects, her vision is not consistent or functional. She frequently relies on her auditory and tactile senses to relate to her environment. Ali's ability to grasp and release is restricted by flexor tone in her hands and thumbs. Although she volitionally opens her hands for toys, she lacks complete active thumb abduction and opposition for more refined and age appropriate grasp and release patterns. With her right hand, she has a functional lateral pinch but not the graded control and coordination to finger feed independently. With her left hand, she pinches with her index finger pad to the dorsum of her thumb IP. Ali is not yet using both hands together to grasp and explore large toys.

IMG_0164 Activities of Daily Living. Ali feeds herself Gerber Puffs and other finger foods with maximum assist. She is normally handed finger food, but is starting to occasionally reach to it on her tray. She often gets the food near her mouth but has difficulty consistently targeting to her mouth and coordinating the release of the Puff into her mouth. Ali was placed at a table in a Snug Seat to assess her abilities to use a spoon. She was given a bite of chocolate pudding and then the spoon was placed into her hand. Once the spoon is loaded for her, Ali brings it towards her mouth. She was able to target her mouth with minimal assist for a couple of bites, but overall needed hand over hand assist to get the food loaded and into her mouth. Ali is dependent for the remainder of her self care needs.

Recommendations: Occupational therapy to continue with twice weekly visits to
1. Work on the above goals
2. Obtain bath chair, car seat, and feeding chair
3. Monitor range of motion, fine motor coordination, and self care skills
4. Update her home stretching and activity program
5. Consider Joe Cool type of splints to help her open her hands for continued
advancement of fine motor and self care skills

Monday, August 04, 2008

Trip to the South Jetty

We're so proud of Allie. We took her for a pretty long ride (forty miles round trip) around the south end of Humboldt Bay out to the South Jetty. Allie did great. She was happy, self-soothing, and looking around the whole way. Both ways.

If you've followed any of Allie's story, you know that our trips have been very short. Long trips with her are a nightmare. Next month, we have to ride down to San Francisco for an appearance before a judge. This is the final step in Allie's adoption. We're not looking forward to the trip. But yesterday's happy-ali was the longest trip she's taken without pushing her to the limit and gives us tremendous hope. We usually don't venture more than ten miles from home with Allie due to her tendency to have an emotional and physical meltdown. But she's made tremendous progress over the past few months. And she really likes riding in this new van much better (who wouldn't?).

40.6 miles round trip