Monday, February 22, 2010


Proprioception:  the ability to sense the position and location and orientation and movement of the body and its parts.

In Katie's case, she cannot tell where her body parts are in space (legs, arms, head, etc...) although it is getting better. Leg braces help Katie with proprioception because when she feels the pressure from the braces on her legs, she can tell where they are in space.  A year ago her legs were all over the place - she would raise her knees too high and criss-cross her legs while walking.  The braces also help to keep her feet in the right position (she was standing on the top of her right foot a lot - ouch!) and from criss-crossing.

 Recently when we were at the Orthotic Specialists, Katie accidentally banged the back of her head against the wall then she did it again, on purpose. Bret (the orthotic specialist) saw her do this and told me that kids with low tone tend to do that kind of thing because it lets them know where their head is in space - that she could "feel" her head when she banged it.  I know, I thought this was weird too.  I was so glad to have someone recognize this and have some sort of reason for it.  And it's the same story with her legs - probably more so than any other part of her body, I'm guessing.  Bret along with Katie's physical therapists said the proprioception should get better as she starts to become more independent in walking.  So... 

Katie has been really wanting to walk! She keeps reaching out to us to take her hands and walk - and then she goes forward with determination! With her leg braces on or barefoot, we have noticed better walking balance and her legs aren't crossing anymore.  She has her braces on most of the time, but when they are not on, I am seeing less of her standing on the top of her foot. Just about a month ago, we had a meeting with Katie's teacher and school therapists to discuss goals (she is in a preschool at the local public school in a program for kids with disabilities).  They wanted to know what might coax her to want to walk across the room in her walker, because they weren't seeing much ambition - I told them m&m's and puppets.  Well, within days Katie was showing a desire to walk at home, which I had NEVER seen before, and now without the bribery! This determination and wanting to walk is new, it probably started about three weeks ago, before that I had to be stocked up on cookies or chocolate. 

Katie has a long way to go before she will be able to walk by herself.  It seems to me that for the past two years she has been stuck in the same groove with very slow progress in walking, and now is finally making good breakthroughs physically, and also with her balance and coordination, that I can actually "see".  All of these little advancements will eventually add up to one independent walking child named Katie, I just know it!