The summer has been flying by, and this partly due to Ren being in so many different activities. She has worn me out! She started out the summer with Summer School, which was in the mornings for 5 weeks. On one of those days, the elementary school took a field trip to a trampoline park. I came with as a staff member, and so I was able to see this girl-who-cannot-walk crawl around and “jump” on the trampolines, and dive into the foam blocks all on her own. Well, scratch that, she COULD do it on her own, but bless all her friends and schoolmates for taking care of her when they thought she needed it. I watched her for awhile, but wandered away most of the time after I realized she was just fine on her own. She had a blast.
For the last two weeks of summer school, she was able to participate in swimming lessons through the school. They provided her with a 1:1 instructor, and she loved it of course. We just literally three days ago put up our own pool in the backyard (I know, a bit late…but better late than never, right?), and she has enjoyed that the couple of times in there so far. Hopefully there will still be plenty of weeks left to enjoy it before fall weather approaches.
A few years ago, Ren was in horse therapy. I had read that it is really good for the rider’s core and balance. So, I looked into it a bit around here, but in the end, we found the next best thing. Some friends of ours have horses, and so about once a week, she goes riding for about an hour. Not formally horse therapy, but I know that just riding on the horse is good for her core and balance. They have her do some activities, like throwing a ball into a bucket throughout the session, so that gives her body a good workout and somewhat therapy related. We are still doing that; in fact, we just went again today. I’m thankful that we are able to do this, and so close by! She always enjoys going horse riding!
Every two weeks, Ren has also been going to physical therapy. The therapist is introducing her to walking with forearm crutches. It is and will be a slow process, but if we can strengthen up her core and balance, and other muscles, then maybe it can start working for her. I really would like her to be able to walk with these crutches for even just short distances, really just so she can at least walk around the house. If she could do that someday, that would be fantastic. Now, if only we could remember to do the exercises that the PT tells us to do…..
Ren has always, always, always wanted to be in dance. In the past she often talked about going to her “dancer place,” and though it was an imaginary place, it was a real dream for her. So, I decided to check into this too. I corresponded with an area dance studio, inquiring as to whether or not they would be willing to accommodate for her in one of their week long dance camps. They were happy to oblige, and so we signed up for the ballet camp. I figured this would be easiest for her to be a part of, and it worked well within our schedule. She had her wheelchair, and she wore her KAFO (tall) braces, so that she could stand at a ballet bar for part of the time. I drove her the 40 minutes to get there and watched through the window as she worked so hard to move her leg around in the different positions, and I saw her do her own modifications of the movements that she was unable to do. I watched her make things work for her, even if she did not keep up totally with the others. I watched the other children look at her curiously for first day or two, and then quickly see her as just another girl who was a part of the group and did things differently. The dance instructor incorporated her well into the three dances they practiced; with her at the bar for one dance, and then in her wheelchair for the other two, and there was a high school dancer nearby to help when needed. I watched Ren soak in this wonderful opportunity, enjoying every second. She LOVED it. I am so thankful for the people who recommended this place, and for the staff who worked with her. I am sure we will be looking into it again next summer. Because for one week, she got to be a real dancer, in a real dancer place.
I guess that is it! Below are some pictures and a video (please ignore my frantic request at the end for a student to go check on her; it was the first time she had gone, and she freaked me out. She came out laughing, of course) of her having summer fun. Until next time!