Noah, who just turned three, has been coming to MCRC for two and half years. Noah and his mom attended the Motor Mouths program. Motor Mouths (Motor – physical aspect, Mouths – speech/feeding aspect) is a parent education program for parents of premature babies, babies with identified delays or disabilities, first time parents or young parents. The objectives of the program are to provide an outline of developmental milestones parents should be watching for, to educate ways to manipulate and strengthen a baby, help with choosing feeding tools such as spoons, cupt, etc. and to provide general education on infant development.
Noah began individual physical therapy after he and his mom completed Motor Mouths. Shortly after that he started occupational and speech therapy. He is one example of a child who has delays in one area which then affects other areas – BUT when things start working it can be a snowball effect!
On the physical therapy side, Noah started walking without an assistive device about 6 months ago. His primary speech goal initially was feeding however communication was targeted as well. While he made good progress in feeding, his independent communication wasn’t progressing as quickly. In occupational therapy, Noah was working on grasping objects because he had difficulty grasping age appropriate toys.
Many people ask how and why hippotherapy (therapy on horseback) is used at the Center. Noah can show you!! Jennifer Austin, M.S., C.C.C.- SLP, began using hippotherapy with Noah because she believed it would be the catalyst to get Noah to the next level. And it worked! Noah has gone from essentially nonverbal to using a wide variety of words including go, up, down, stop, no and more. Even more importantly, he is transferring this set of skills into his physical and occupational therapy. Noah, when working on stairs, ascends quite well. Coming down stairs is a more difficult task but one in which he is steadily improving. But Noah is not just improving physically, he now uses appropriate words while working on the stairs. He will tell Kristal Kidd, M.P.T., “up” and “down” and even ‘go”. In Occupational Therapy Michelle Cash, O.T.R./M.O.T, notes that Noah has made great strides in the handling of toys.
“Now he is always saying Go Go,” said Kristal, “so when we are working on stairs and independent walking he is motivating himself.” Kristal added “He has made tremendous progress in his physical therapy in the last 3 to 4 months. It is always amazing to see how hippotherapy in one discipline can have such a great impact in the other areas as well.”
Michelle Cash added “Noah is such a hard worker. He likes to tell me “all done” when he is ready for a new activity. He is making such great progress in all areas. It is really amazing!”