Well, we have been toying with the idea, Zoey's therapist and I, for awhile now and it seems like the time has come to give it a try. And what exactly is constraint induced movement therapy you ask?
Constraint-induced therapy focuses on regaining movement on the affected side of the body. More specifically, in children with hemiplegia, it focuses on increasing movement of the affected arm and hand. Constraint-induced therapy consists of restraining the non-affected arm, thus forcing the child to learn to move the affected arm. The thought is that this treatment may overcome the effects of learned non-use of the arm and will also ensure that the affected arm has increased practice or use.
So that is the long and the short of it. Certainly not as simple as it sounds. We talked about doing this almost 2 years ago and our main concern then was that Zoey was just becoming an emergent signer and because her signs are mostly sign approximation because of her effected left hand/arm, we wanted to wait. And as we have waited , Zoey has become more proficient in her signing. Her left arm is showing more "life" so to speak and she has her very own little verbal language, that those close to her, can sometimes understand. So with those cumulative factors, now is as good a time as any.
We will be casting her next week. A removable cast. She and I will need to spend some serious hours, yes hours, daily, working together. Won't be easy. On either of us. But if we want to see her achieve some semblance of purposeful use in that arm and hand, this seems like the next step.
I do not like making my girl work. That is no secret. I think in the past and perhaps even the present, there are people that think I do her the greatest disservice by doing for her, the things that maybe she could and should begin learning to do for herself. But it is truly difficult for me. Truly hurts me to watch her struggle and work. I tend to subscribe to the theory that she has had to work enough in her little life, just to be here in this world, and more work seems unfair. Right or wrong, that is what I believe. The truth of the matter also is, is that although I do not know this with 100% certainty, I am fairly confident in saying that Zoey will never be living on her own, in say a group home. She will not be working in say a store and the the fact remains, even with this therapy and it's possibility of success, Zoey will more than likey remain dependent on another human being for most all of her life skill needs. So doing for her is just something that has become second nature to me. And, I might add, I feel honored and privileged to be doing so. This is not low balling my girl. This is not being pessimistic. This is my reality. And in the end, more than likely, Zoey's reality as well.
But we will give this a shot. And hope good things will come from it. It certainly can't hurt. Well, all except my heart maybe just a bit but it does hold the promise of yielding some really exciting improvements. And that is a good thing, right?