We’re BAAAAACK!!!

Wow!!  What a month it has been!  I didn’t mean to fall so behind on the blog but we just got so busy with our revisit to IAHP. Before I begin, I must extend a HUGE thank you for all the support we have received through donations and our fundraiser.  These revisits are absolutely critical to Jacob’s development and we couldn’t do it without you!!

So, without further ado…

Jacob’s Evaluation and New Program

The first day of our revisit is when Jacob’s progress is evaluated.  The specialists at IAHP essentially walk through Jacob’s existing program to see how he does.  They also measure him to see how his has grown.  Then his progress is compared both to that of a well child during the same period and to Jacob before the program.  So how did he do?

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Intellectual growth – Jacob earned both his Seeing and Reading victories.  The Seeing victory means that he now has appreciation of detail within a configuration.  We saw the Ophthalmologist who examined Jacob at the last visit and he was very pleased with Jacob’s visual progress.  We even saw Jacob track an object!  It is one thing to have the ability to focus on an object, it is quite another to follow it as it moves through space!  His Reading victory is equally exciting!  This victory means that he has demonstrated the ability to read at least 100 words.  Whaaaat!?!  This formerly blind 2 year old can READ??  YES!!!  It is no surprise to us as it is something we work on every day.  But, how do we know?  Well, we brought samples of Jacob’s reading cards which have single, LARGE print words.  We held up 2 words and asked Jacob “which one says Corvette?”  or “which one says banana?”  Jacob would then look at the words and focus on the correct word.  He did it correctly all 5 times!!  So, we have shown Jacob over 200 words and he got them 100% right, therefore we can surely conclude that he can read at least 100!  Yipee!!

Physical Growth – Jacob is getting SO close with his crawling.  I realize that I have not yet completely explained Jacob’s physical program but I promise to outline it one of these days.  The bottom line is we are all very proud of Jacob.  He is clearly demonstrating that he has the ability to move his body in the necessary way to move, he just needs to put all of the pieces together.

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His new project will do just that.  We will continue to give him plenty of opportunity to move and we will continue the patterning to show him the proper way to move.  We will add a “gravity free environment” and a “gravity assisted environment.”  The Gravity Free is like a bouncer on steroids.  It’s purpose is to develop the vestibular areas of the brain which are responsible for balance and integration.  The Gravity Assisted will suspend him in the crawling position and will support some of his weight while allowing him to still touch the ground .  When he moves his arms and legs, he will make progress easily.  He got to try it out in the mobility room and he LOVED it.  He just took off!

When a child has physical obstacles, gravity becomes their worst enemy.  In 1976, IAHP began working with NASA to develop programs for our children.  In fact, Dr. Ralph Pelligra,   Chief Medical Officer of the NASA Ames Research Center, is still on the board at IAHP.

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Lecture – Tuesday and Wednesday were jam packed for Bryan and I attending lectures.  IAHP takes their education VERY seriously.  Every single detail is meticulously planned.  The auditorium was built to be the ideal learning environment.  It is even kept at a brisk 63 degrees because, as discovered by IAHP founder Dr. Temple Fey, the lower the ambient temperature, the less oxygen the brain requires and the easier it is to obtain and retain new information.  The speaker presents for exactly 50 minutes and, when the bell rings, they will stop, mid-sentence, and we take a 10 minute break.  At the end of 10 minutes the bell rings again and they pick up right where they left off.  At this visit we reviewed  intellectual growth, physical growth, social growth and physiological growth.

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In addition to learning about the Gravity Free and Gravity Assisted environments, we also reviewed the effect of food, chemicals and the environment on health, behaviour and the brain.  Further, we learned how Applied Kinesiology can be used to help our kids.  The Chiropractor and Applied Kinesiologust on staff at IAHP evaluated Jacob and made recommendations that we will follow to further his progress.

Jacob with his advocate Suzy
Jacob with his advocate Suzy

IAHP takes social growth and development very seriously and we were thrilled to have our first lecture on this topic at this visit.  The IAHP plan is called “The Law” and, like most of their programs, it takes behavioral issues right down to the basics.  It is a simple plan of making very clear rules with appropriate consequenses.  This will surely come in very handy as Jacob gets older, but for now maybe we can use it to keep Bryan in line (haha!)

The final day of Lecture was focused on Intellectual Growth, joyousness of reading, the auditory pathway, communication and language development.  We learned about the impressive tool of Facilitated Communication, invented by Rosemary Crossely in Australia. We are currently using a choice board with Jacob and will be advancing from a simple yes/no board to more sophisticated communication with more options and better questions.  Later, we will use a letter board to aid in our communication and if necessary, we can also progress to using acomputer.  This will certainly not replace speaking and developing language, but it will help Jacob communicate with us while we work to understand what he is saying.  The examples of written work produced by the children of IAHP using facilitated communication is just astounding!!  As they always say, brain injury does not limit a child’s intelligence, only the child’s ability to express that intelligence.  We know Jacob is a VERY  smart little boy and he proves it more and more each day.

Other Fun

Although we have very little free time during our trips to IAHP, we did have a wonderful opportunity to get together with Bryan’s sisters.

Jacob with his Aunt Darlene
Jacob with his Aunt Darlene

We went to center city Philadelphia and toured all the sites.  It was a lovely day, although Jacob slept through most of it.

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We are so grateful that they were able to make the trip in to see us!  During the week, our days often run very late.  However, we were able to get together with our wonderful IAHP friends, Ryan and Catie Lewis.  Their daughter, Cate, is about Jacob’s age and is doing incredibly well on the program.  You can check out Cate’s story at www.injuredtoincredible.com

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Phew!  That was a lot.  Again, I apologize for the delay.  I look forward to sharing so much more.  Thanks for following and remember, if you would like to receive and email when I post, click the Follow by email button at the top right side of the page!

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