January 18, 2010


My daughter did something amazing yesterday.

She walked, stopped, stood relatively still for several seconds, pivoted, and then continued walking.

While most parents would not see this as amazing, especially for a 3 1/2 year old child, I do. You see, my daugher, A, JUST started to walk a few months ago. She took her first wobbly steps a few days before her third birthday, and now, six months later, she is getting better and better each day. She is still not a total independent walker, but my God, she is WALKING!

A has two issues that have held her back from walking the way most typical kids do. First of all, she has no semicircular canals. Semicircular canals are little tubes in the inner ears that help control balance. Most people have 3 in each ear, or 6 total. My daughter, according to MRIs, has none. So, she has a severe balance impairment; it is hard for her to know where she is in space. Other systems have to kick in (brain, visual, etc) but since she has some visual impairment as well, her odds have always been stacked against her.

The second issue is that she has low muscle tone, especially in her trunk. We have done extensive therapies with her: physical therapy (she has had physical therapy since her infant days in the NICU!), occupational therapy, adapted P.E., and horse therapy. All are designed to help her strengthen her core. These therapies, in addition to the day-to-day exercises of wrestling with her brother, sliding and swinging at the park, and just living life has helped to build her strength.

A didn't sit up until she was around 9 months old, and didn't crawl until 19 months old. When I say she has gross motor delays, I'm not talking about a girl who didn't walk until she was 18 months, which is what people usually think of when they hear the term "late walker". I mean DELAY!!

She has been walking quite a bit recently (58 steps is her new record!) but still cannot stand on her own independently, like in the middle of a room.

So the sight of my daughter, age 3 1/2, walking and then STANDING ALMOST STILL, turning, and continuing to walk, was amazing.

That girl is my hero.

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