Hello new stuff. Goodbye old stuff.

Aitza and I made the switch two weeks ago. Now she takes Shade to therapies Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I only take him Monday.

In many ways, this is great. Aitza gets to experience Shade’s daily improvements. Shade gets quality time with his Mami. I get a break from the constant busing around. And Mayan. Well, he just does his thing.

In some ways, it bums me out. I got so used to being with Shade during his breakthroughs that it’s weird not being with him. Now I get updates through Aitza. And she is much more patient than I am with his mood swings, and looks forward to the therapies. She’s all bubbly and positive about the day, and it makes me angry at myself that I became grumbly and negative.

But it’s for the best. Shade and I were driving each other nuts. Now I can focus on work more and not feel like I’m constantly sinking under a flood of grading. And Aitza can share in his recovery more.

Shade is enjoying his new vocal classes with Dr. Redding and has decided to join not only the Gotha Men’s Choir but also the community choir in Winter Garden. I’m glad that music will still be a part of his learning. Guitar was a huge struggle due to the intricate finger work. Singing, however, seems to be manageable for him, when he decides not to wail like a banshee.

Shade shows off his Kinesio tape and huge pectoral muscles.

Shade also started going to Orlando Sports Chiropractic. We figured that with all Shade’s sitting and slumping, he might be a bit misaligned. And we were right. The chiropractor, Dr. Sabrina Atkins, made Shade’s spine crackle like Chinese fireworks. She also applied Kinesio tape to his face, which may help improve his symmetry and bring a little life back to his right side. The therapy tape was used by an OT on Red Sox recruit Ryan Westmoreland who went through surgery for, you guessed it, “a life-threatening congenital malformation in his brain stem.” Read a bit about him here. Shade picked bright colors for his Kinesio tape so that it looked like war paint. It definitely gets comments.

Finally, Shade has been graduated out of Florida Hospital’s Occupational Therapy with Kristen. He’s just got four weeks left, during which he will practice note-taking skills to apply at school. He’s also going to switch speech therapists. Giselle, his current therapist, feels it will be good for Shade to experience another therapist. Maybe Jill the new ST will try some other techniques. PT continues with Melody, though she constantly changes his therapies to keep it interesting.

Shade has also picked up a few OT sessions at Lifeskills. Sandy, the owner and our friend, is also the inspiration behind Shade’s recent hippotherapy sessions. At Lifeskills, Shade has been practicing ladder climbing, core strengthening on a wobbly peanut-shaped exercise ball, and finger strengthening exercises.

So Shade’s progress continues. We’re always looking for new techniques to get Shade’s brain back to basics.

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