We met a pretty fantastic milestone last month. In some ways it seems little because we’ve slowly been progressing this direction for a year and a half. But it’s big because… well… we’ve been working towards it for a year and a half!!
Are you ready?!?
Drum roll please…
Lily is using her crutches ALL MORNING at preschool! INCLUDING back and forth to other rooms within the school. The only time she still uses her walker is when playing on the playground due to safety. We are even starting to choose crutches over walker when we go out as a family (depending on the situation).
Why is this so huge?
When we first introduced crutches she couldn’t even lift the crutch with her left arm. She couldn’t stand with them. She needed tons of help using them. AND… she wasn’t a big fan.
You see, she is so comfortable with her walker that she uses it like an extension of her body. The crutches require focus. Concentration. More effort than she wants to spend. So … she fought them. And we pushed … gently. Slowly. We didn’t want to push her so hard that it became a power struggle, and it was really difficult to be consistent at home, so progress was really slow.
Then… preschool happened.
She fought the crutches less in Physical Therapy (PT) at school, and started making progress. After a while, her PT thought she was ready to use them in class for a few minutes each day, and the teachers integrated them into her routine. Over time, they added a little more time. Then a little more.
However, there was a challenge. Lily had nowhere to put her crutches when she reached her destination. She would drop them wherever was convenient which (1) made it harder for her to put them back on, and (2) was a safety hazard for other kids in her class.
Did her school call me and tell me I needed to come up with a solution?
Did they tell me I needed to go get an Rx for an expensive piece of equipment?
Did they reach out to their personal network of friends to solve the problem without costing the school (or us) anything?
Yes. Yes they did.
They had a good idea for a crutch stand design, but they needed someone to make it. The PT assistant has a retired engineer friend who likes to tackle fun small projects. She shared the idea with him and asked if he could help.
A few weeks later he delivered a beautiful yellow crutch stand.
Once they started using the crutch holder in the main classroom, they realized a second one would be helpful next to her cubby.
He made another (in red this time).
After seeing how well the crutch stands were working in the classroom, I mentioned how helpful it would be to have some at home so that we could reinforce what they were doing at school.
He made two more (one in blue and one in pink – her favorite colors!).
I strongly believe that little things make life worth living. Little moments of generosity. Little gestures of kindness. Little gestures of using one’s talents to make another’s life better.
Thank you Darryl. Thank you PT. Thank you school. You are a rocking team, and we are so lucky to be a part of this community.