Friday, June 25, 2010

Ethan Starts Physio

A little background is needed here.
1) I'm high maintenance. I worry about anything and everything, especially when it comes to Ethan.
2) I've always been aware that Ethan's motor skills are not as strong as I would like them to be, but he is developmentally on track.

About 2 months ago I got a letter from Ethan's principal wanting to see us to discuss Ethan's progress. It turned out he wanted to tell us that he thought Ethan had serious problems with regards to his fine motor skills. This was an issue for me, as there really wasn't a discussion, since he doesn't actually teach Ethan, so there was no idea sharing. It turned into an even more serious issue, as I felt I was being attacked by mates on Facebook.

I started to question myself as a teacher (who should be able to notice if a student has developmental issues) and a mother (who should not "be an ostrich with her head in the sand"). Interestingly enough, my mates who saw Ethan and I on a regular basis felt there was nothing to be concerned with, and my closest mates who I hadn't seen in ages (work schedules) were sending me emails telling me I should consider physio for Ethan.

Was I be a bad mother if I believed there was nothing wrong? Was I a bad mother, or worse yet, was Ethan a bad child, if he needed help? Would we be looked down on or pitied?

I finally caved, and went to see the paediatrician. Ethan's visited Dr Thomas a few times in the past, so he knew the past concerns I had regarding Ethan's motor skills. He mentioned that in the past, he was concerned that Ethan may have a muscular issue, but it was too early to tell. Now he knew there was nothing wrong. When I told him the comments that were being made to me, he felt while there wasn't anything seriously wrong with Ethan, why not find an OT, go for a consultation/evaluation. It wouldn't hurt, and any extra help we could give Ethan would really benefit him in the end. The problem now arises that we live in Tanzania! Where am I going to find an Occupational Therapist here? There are a lot of physiotherapists here, but Ethan's 3!!! Could one give a child of 3 years the support he may need? So we now started looking at possibly finding an OT in South Africa, going there for a week, and seeing what s/he had to say. But again, where to start looking?

Once again an angel came into our lives. Mikey is a colleague of mine at school. He had a parent of his who brought in an OT. Unfortunately this OT was visiting from Ireland, so there was no chance for Ethan to see her. Mikey spoke with this parent and she came to see me. The day before Mikey spoke to her, she found ... get this... a paediatric physiotherapist who specialises in sensory motor skills! (Angels!!!!) Oh, and she's here. In Dar!

So last week, I took Ethan to see her. We visited twice in the week. Once to check his gross motor skills, and once to check his fine motor skills. We discovered that Ethan is double jointed. Correction, we always knew he was double jointed, but we learnt her was uber flexible. She was able to make his big toe touch his leg. Eewww! According to her, Ethan's flexibility is his natural ability. So his fine motor skills move in an unnatural way, which overrides his muscles. She emphasised that there was nothing to worry about. So for everyone who felt Ethan's tripod grip would lead to sever spinal issues, nope!

Through our discussions, she's learnt that I'm a teacher, and do a lot of motor activities with Ethan, so she's confident that there's nothing to worry about. But as Dr Thomas said, any extra support we could give Ethan, will only benefit him, so we will now visit her once a week.

We never told Ethan that she's a doctor. He was introduced to her as a friend of mommy's, and when we go visit her, he looks forward to it. She has lots of wonderful games to play with, and Ethan likes the playground there.

So, I feel better. But... I don't. Does that make sense?


knickknacks said...

I'm a physiotherapist turned homemaker (for now). :) I personally do not work with children but Ethan will definitely benefit from his sessions with his therapist. The best part about it - he will think it is all play! So don't beat yourself up over it..I'm sure things will turn out well for your little one! =)

Life with Kaishon said...

Oh no! I hope that the sessions are very helpful and you both benefit! I will keep you in my prayers today! I think he will probably enjoy it : ) Those kinds of things are fun to kids!

Faiza said...

Makes total sense to me. Glad you have angels in your life and that Ethan has such a fan in you. :)