Moving right alongAiden is now 20 months old. With his physical differences and surgery down-time, he continues to develop at his own pace. A little delayed, but developing normally nonetheless.
He army crawled and we were happy, but we thought we'd never see the day he would crawl on all fours.
He crawled on all fours and we were happy, but we thought we'd never see the day he would pull to stand.
He pulled to stand and we were happy, but we thought we'd never see the day he would take an unassisted step.
Now he's walking like a champ and pumping his little legs to almost running speeds, climbing up the steps to the second floor and hoisting himself onto the couches.
We started therapies with First Steps when Aiden was just a few months old. Mary Ann, Jennifer and Stuti have all been a part of our lives for a little more than a year now.
Mary Ann, his physical therapist, comes once a week to work on gross motor skills (started with sitting up, rolling over, then progressed to crawling, walking, stairs, etc.). It's apparent that she's done her job well. We are very pleased with his progress. In fact, now that he's walking, I'm not quite sure how much longer we will need to continue this therapy.
Stuti, his occupational therapist, visits Aiden twice weekly. She helps to develop his fine motor skills through interactive play, oral motor exercises and self-feeding work. Right now we are working a lot with strengthening his mouth muscles with activities like sipping applesauce through a straw and massaging his cheeks and tongue with an electric toothbrush. Things I never would have thought of on my own. That's why they're the professionals. And that's why Aiden is thriving.
Jennifer is Aiden's developmental therapist. Or I should say "was". As of this past week, I'm happy to announce that it was decided that because of Aiden's progress and accomplishments in the last few months, developmental therapy was no longer deemed necessary. This was a hard decision to make - considering that we want to make sure we are doing everything possible to help Aiden in the long run. But the many initial worries I had about Aiden's cognitive development have been put to rest lately. He's doing everything a child his age should be doing (give or take - some things he still needs to learn, other things he's ahead of schedule).
Although we are ending developmental therapy, I've decided that speech therapy is the next step. Aiden's vocabulary is extensive. It includes over 15 signs, a handful of words, he imitates dozens more and understands almost everything we say. Now I want to address the fact that he is not vocalizing words very often and when he does, not clearly or accurately for the most part. Kids with Apert Syndrome typically have speech delays for a number of reasons, including the developmental delays from surgeries and hospital stays, the anatomical differences in the retrusion of the midface, high/arched palattes, etc. I'm confident that with the extra help of a speech therapist, Aiden will progress in this area just as he has everything else.
So, needless to say we are extremely proud parents. And we are extremely grateful for the help he has received along the way.
In summing up Aiden's achievements, it reminds me just how lucky we are to have such a strong support system of dear friends and family in our lives. We are truly blessed. Aiden is proof.
PS - And of course, Ethan is a blessing as well. He's smart, affectionate, energetic and...all boy. Here's proof. I Have no doubt that he will be an excellent role model for Aiden :)