Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Last year for National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day I wrote about what Brett is capable of. I received so many great responses and heard from so many people, even those close to us, that didn’t know some of what Brett can do or is working on. So this year I thought I would do a quick update on some of the amazing progress he is making.

Here are some of the things Brett is doing more recently that I love:

-       He is moving around. It used to be I would put him on the ground and there he would stay until I returned. Or he would accidentally flip on his back and fuss because he didn’t want to be there. But this last year Brett is on the move. I set him down in one spot and give him a toy and I can come back minutes later and he will be on the opposite side of the room with another toy. I know this is going to sound funny, but I don’t really know how exactly he gets there. He doesn’t crawl … he swims. Sometimes he rolls, but sometimes he just kicks and kicks his legs and flaps his arms and somehow he propels forward. I give the credit to his new chair. I really think since he received his power chair in August he has a better understanding of his surroundings and that he can get from point A to point B.

- He is getting what he wants. No, we aren’t spoiling him (OK, maybe a little). He is making much more of an effort to get the things he wants. He’s in his chair and he dropped his toy and I’m not getting there fast enough. He will wiggle out of his straps and lounge to try to get it. More recently I started leaving him in his chair next to the drawers in the kitchen. I silently nudged Tate the other day and we watched as he wrapped his hand around the handle, pulled the drawer open, reached in and grabbed a straw out of the drawer. I’m not sure who was more delighted us, or him! Tate and I have both learned that you have to be careful not to leave anything within his reach you don’t want him to have. It used to be it would just sit there and he would just sit there and no problem. But not anymore! I left a piece of cake within his reach today and turned to talk to someone - and he was hungry, and it’s cake. He grabbed it to pull it toward him and dumped it. I was never so glad to see food on the floor. Tate left a mug of hot chocolate near him – I’m guessing it smelled good. Chocolate and glass all over the floor (and thankfully nobody was burned). But he is motivated!!

-       He says “Yeah” quite a bit. I remember my mom used to say “say yes, not yeah” but I’ll take yeah any time. He also uses a thumbs up sign to say yes and sometimes it’s like saying “me too”. When I get Brett out of bed every morning and say “I love you Brett” that little thumb goes up and I sometime say “you love me too?” and I get the “yeah”. Those are the days when you can actually see me float.

-       He’s driving – backwards. When Brett was trialing the power chair we found that pulling the joystick toward his body was a more natural movement and they switched it so pulling back drove him forward. But his wise therapists quickly told me that that is just encouraging the patterns we are working so hard to break. We are trying to teach him to extend his arms away from his body to reach and play and so we switched it back. It’s been that way for about two months and all I can say is it’ll be a long road. But, in the meantime, Mater from the movie Cars has nothing on Brett. He’s the best backward driver in the world!”

-       He’s potty training! He’s been ready for a long time. I think the truth is I’ve been avoiding it. I thought we would start out with  working on a few things while he is on spring break. Two days in and he has had a lot of success. We were both exhausted after the first day – but I am so proud. The communication piece is still a puzzle and I think if we can come up with a word he can consistently speak he would be staying dry. But I’m not always in the same room with him and I’m missing some of his hand signals. Once again he is way ahead of me!