Nathan is Hebrew and means "gift from God" - we couldn't have been more blessed than to have been chosen as his parents!

Thank you for keeping up-to-date with Nathan. We hope you visit often and enjoy experiencing our son's journey as much as we do. Please feel free to leave comments.

We love hearing from everyone!!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Doorway to the Soul.....

Some say, that music is the doorway to our soul. Others contend it's the medicine of the mind. Either way, the influence and benefits derived from music are immeasurable.

Like most children, Nathan loves music! We are a musically inclined family. I grew up playing musical instruments and singing in choir, Danny listens to every musical genre available, and we attend Broadway musicals like it's our job! :-) It's not unusual to find us having a kitchen dance party while we're preparing dinner or doing dishes. And, we love singing silly songs for no reason at all.

Nathan loves to dance, sing, and play with toys that make music. He has loads of musical instruments: a floor and upright piano, a guitar, musical bath toys, electronic and standard drums and much more. If Nathan becomes upset, is struggling with an activity, or just needs help learning something ~ we use music.

We currently use music when our unruly toddler doesn't want to brush his teeth, have his diaper changed, or sit on the potty. We use it to help Nathan learn his ABC's and letter sounds and increase his language skills. We sing all the typical toddler songs and a few that we've been taught by his therapists. Songs like his new favorite: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Wheels on the Bus, Old McDonald, Open Shut Them, On Top of Spaghetti, If You're Happy and You Know it, and Amazing Grace (just to name a few). We also make up our own songs ~ we have a song for brushing his teeth and one for going on the potty. Additionally, we always try to incorporate sign language into our songs.

As a result of the positive impact that music has had on Nathan's life, it made sense to place him in a regularly scheduled individual music therapy session. That process was easier said then done, but he now receives music therapy at home once a week and is really enjoying it. They sing, play musical instruments and work on increasing his language skills. As you'll see from the below pictures and the video that accompanies this post, his therapist also works on increasing his muscle tone. There is overlap in all therapy sessions at this stage of development.

Nathan will have the opportunity to receive these types of sessions at home until next August. Once Nathan officially transitions into CPSE, I'm not sure if he can continue to receive music therapy. Good thing is, I have about nine months to figure it! Until then, we're going to keep getting our grove on!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Our Little Cowboy

For the past few months, Nathan has really been enjoying his hippotherapy sessions (physical therapy on horseback). He and his horse Babe, have become fast friends. It's amazing to see the improvements in core strength that have been made since the beginning of his sessions.

Take a look at Nathan's posture in this first picture. Notice how poor it is? He is literally sitting at an angle. That's what they're working on correcting. The goal is for Nathan to have enough core strength to sit up straight and the therapist uses a lot of different techniques to accomplish her goals. As you can see from this picture, they've turned Nathan sideways to give him a little added challenge. Notice his posture? Not so great. He's not yet strong enough to sit completely backwards, but it's coming. But look at his posture here ~ he's sitting up great and even holding on properly! Way to go Nathan!! You should also be able to see he's wearing a special belt. His therapist holds on to this belt from behind, which help him to remember to sit up straight and stay on the horse. He's still a little boy who likes to just jump off things without thinking. Yeah, he tries! When he's "all done." When the weather is nice, they take Nathan and Babe outside the barn, which is a nice change of scenery and it presents Nathan with an added challenge ~ uneven ground. Although Nathan absolutely loves riding Babe, it's very fatiguing and he's not a fan of his riding helmet. It's bigger than his little head!

Funny story ~ a few weeks ago, Nathan and Babe were outside and the therapist stopped walking, which happens frequently (it's the communication component of the therapy). The therapists and I began talking and after a few minutes, Babe scraped his left foot twice on the ground. The therapists started to laugh because this was Babe's way of saying, "let's go!" However, before they begin, they make Nathan say, "go" or have him do their sign, which signifies go (he taps Babe twice). When they asked Nathan to say "go," he imitated Babe and rubbed his left foot twice along the saddle! I didn't even know he was paying attention! It was super cute and we all got a chuckle out of it. At the conclusion of each session, Nathan feeds Babe a treat of carrots and apples. He's always a little skittish at first when his big horse comes in for his snacks, but calms after a minute and enjoys the experience. Nathan's sessions end in mid-December and won't continue until Spring. He'll miss Babe, but I'm glad he won't be riding in the winter!

Nathan, Daddy came to see you ride Babe this week and you kept waving to him and throwing both arms up in the air like when we do "hip hip hooray!" He was so proud of you up on that big horse!