The Amazing Owen
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What a difference a year makes, indeed!! Look at Owen go!

I wish I had known you guys would be in Niagara Falls! That's our neck of the woods (and very close to my old stomping grounds) :)

I'm so glad to hear how wonderful things are progressing! Yay Owen!!
Comment By Melanie At 7/1/2009 8:35 AM
Looks like you guys had a wonderful time! You all do about as much therapy as much therapy as we do. I'm getting super overwhelmed; but you seem to handle it all in stride. Thanks for letting me be a part of things while you were gone! Didn't hear anything, but I was happy to do it. Glad your vaca was great!
Comment By Jill At 7/1/2009 12:08 PM
Seeing Owen standing and progressing so well is so encouraging and gives me so much hope.

A vacation to Niagara Falls sounds wonderful! We're talking about taking a cruise sometime before the end of this year. We're waiting out for the best possible deal and realizing it also means we'll have to push back some of our home improvement projects, but like you said, vacation is the best therapy, and we feel the strong need for one!

On a side note, in answer to your question on my blog, I use Windows Movie Maker. It's the program that comes with Vista.
Comment By Kristen At 7/2/2009 12:19 PM
I'm so glad you updated! I've been missing Owen :) He is really taking off in so many areas! It just melts my heart to see him standing there with Daddy at Niagra Falls.
Comment By sherri At 7/2/2009 5:44 PM
His standing looks GREAT! He is always such an inspiration to me. I look at him and wonder, 'will Elisabeth be doing that in a year?'.

I am so glad that you had a wonderful vacation. Sounds like it was a blast!
Comment By Lisa At 7/3/2009 10:32 AM

Original Entry:
Therapy of All Kinds

OK, time to catch everyone up for the last month and there is a lot to tell.

Owen now gets therapy every day of the week.  Monday is physical therapy (PT), Tuesday is occupational therapy (OT), Wednesday is PT again, Thursday is OT again - with a focus on feeding, and Friday is speech therapy either at home or in Greensboro, NC.  I realized just now that I don't have any new pictures of OT (sorry Vesna, I'll get some this week) but I do have a lot of pictures and videos from the other therapy types to share.

One of our main focuses in PT and OT right now is arm strength. Since Owen can't crawl, he has not put as much weight on his arms as a normal child and therefore needs to build up some muscle to be able to push buttons and do other basic tasks.  Here he is with his PT Nacol and attendent Tessa working on the ball to prop himself on his arms:

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We are also working on getting him to stabilize himself with one arm or hand and do some kind of activity with the other hand.  This is very important because right now he tends to use both hands in exactly the same way at the same time for all tasks.  An example of where this is a problem would be trying to take apart a stack of cups. You want one hand to hold the bottom of the stack and the other to grab the top cup and pull.  This is a bit beyond Owen's capabilities right now because he will try to pull with both hands and can't get them apart. Kids normally learn how to use two hands to do two different things by needing to stabilize themselves with one hand while sitting or standing and then having only one hand free to work with.  Owen is finally making some progress in this area:

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I realized recently that I had somehow managed to completely miss having any pictures of Owen's speech therapists.  This simply won't do.  So I brought along the camera to one of Owen's speech therapy sessions with Emily in Greensboro, NC.  Emily specializes in children with cochlear implants and has been a great help with Owen.  Owen really seems to enjoy his sessions with Emily:

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I also have a little video from this session. The video is in three short segments.  In the first you can see Owen saying the all important "Mama".  We have now had several straight weeks of Mama's every day so I think we can safely believe that the word is here to stay.  Yippee! In the second segment he is just being cute - we have been working on drinking from a cup in OT and when Emily gives him a bucket with a toy in it he mistakes it for a cup and tries to drink from it.  In the third you will see a major milestone for Owen.  It appears that Owen has finally achieved object permanence (normally achieved around nine months old).  In the past if you showed him an object and then hid it by placing a napkin over it or something, he wouldn't cry or try to find it - he would simply move on as if the object had never existed.  I went to take a video of this a month or so ago, because it's really weird to watch him get all excited about a cookie and then forget it was ever there, but when I finally got the camera out he actually went and looked for the cookie for the first time.  In this video Emily hides an airplane and Owen actually goes and finds it.  Click on the image below to see the video:

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Owen also has a speech therapist that comes to the house. It isn't practical to make the two and a half hour drive to Greensboro every single week.  We tried it for a while and he got so cranky that he wasn't getting anything out of the therapy. So Melissa comes on the off weeks to work with him.  Melissa works with him on signing and speech. 

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Now back to PT.  In addition to arm strength we are working on standing.  Owen still looks like a bit of a bobblehead when he stands, but he is definitely improving.

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And we have another little video of Owen standing up:

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I also have a quick little video of Owen riding a little fire truck. We are working on his core strength to help with his standing.  This toy originally belonged to his sister Sammy.  On a whim I took it out of storage.  I sat him down on it and away he went.  He can only go a few pushes before he falls off, but he certainly seems to get the idea:

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And finally we have the best therapy of all - a VACATION!  Owen has worked incredibly hard since his shunt revision in January and he deserved a real break - along with the rest of the family.  Last summer vacation plans had to be cancelled because at this time Owen was just getting out of the hospital after three weeks with a shunt infection and would spend another month recovering at home.  What a difference a year makes:

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This is Owen standing at the railing looking out at Niagara Falls.  Owen did amazingly well on his 10 day trip from VA to Niagara Falls, Canada, to the Adirondacks in NY, to Mystic Seaport in CT and back home again.  He handled the traveling with no problem and we had a great time visiting family, friends and interesting places. 
 
 
 



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