One of the questions that come my way about Nadine is “What is wrong with her?” Sometimes it is phrased in more politically correct way, “What happened?”. Nonetheless, many want to know why is she different.
Is she autistic? Is it Dyslexia? ADHD? Asperger? What is it?
Well, this is what her therapist put in her report:
Nadine is found to have delayed speech and language development. Her language skills were found to be moderately delayed. It was also noted that Nadine has motor coordination difficulties. She was subsequently referred to our Physiotherapist for an evaluation…was assessed to have delayed motor skills development.
The therapist explained that motor skills development is closely linked to a child’s speech and language. I thought it would be good to list out some challenges that Nadine faced with her physical motor skills:
She hardly crawled, or rather, her crawling period was really short. She went straight to cruising.
When she was 3.5 year old, she still has to hold the railing while walking down the stairs. And even then, both legs had to land on each step has she walked down.
She only learnt to jump when she turned 4.
When she walked, it always looked unstable. It was as if she may fall or trip soon.
There are probably other signs but we didn’t take note or didn’t realise we had to be concerned. One big factor was she had low muscle tone. She has floppy limbs and loose muscles. That’s characterised by problems with mobility and posture and poor reflexes. She has poor trunk support, which means she has trouble holding her body upright. This affects her speech and cognitive skills.
Gosh! When we found out, my first thought was, is it genetic? Was it because of something I ate when pregnant? Was it something we didn’t do when she was a baby? It was a barrage of thoughts that came. (For the record, it’s none of the above. It’s just something she’s born with)
One of the important therapy she has to go for now is Physiotherapy, which would work those muscles, strengthen the limbs and give her a greater sense of balance. Along with Physio, she attends GYM classes twice a week. The work out is necessary to improve motor control and body strength. Check out the gym!
Isn’t it massive? Nadine has a blast in this old school gym! It’s not expensive (about S$20 for 1.5hours) and she gets to do forward roll, cartwheels and work on all these wonderful gym equipment!
In the end, we sent Nathan for gym too! We figured that bit of exercise won’t hurt, since our family is on the high inertia side! Nicole is in a different league as (in her own words), “I’m in the school Gymnastics team already!”
Does the Physiotherapy and Gymnastics help? Definitely. Over the last month, the gym was closed for renovation. And during the regular therapy sessions, Nadine has issues concentrating and focusing. We all can’t wait for Gym to start again. Cos when she was in it, she had a chance to tone her muscles and work on her balance. This invariably helps her to co-ordinate, and builds her cognitive skills (more on that in my future post).
We are going more daily exercises now: Hop on one leg 10x per leg, balance on one leg for as long as you can, sit-ups, play catching in the pool—get her to catch us via ‘running’. We pale in comparison to those gym instructors.. haha! But really anything is better than no exercise at all!
So what’s wrong with my baby? Simply put, she has low muscle tone. It can be a lifelong condition, but with physical exercises, the muscle tone can strengthen and improve over time. That’s what the books and therapists say. What do I say? I say she will get better, she is getting better and I have faith to believe her muscles are toning up each day. I have nothing to lose but everything to gain when I believe for this miracle. My God reigns, in every situation.