Wednesday, August 10, 2011

August 10

Today we learned that some dear friends lost their two year old little boy last night. I cannot even put into words how devastated I am for them. Please pray for our friends Brennan and Janna and all of their family right now.

It definitely puts life into perspective. It makes me want to hug my girls a little more tightly tonight. And it makes me feel silly for all this worry about the shape of my daughter's head.
With that in mind, here is how our physical therapy appointment went today:

Our physical therapist was extremely nice and helpful, and we had a good appointment. She confirmed what I already suspected (based on my internet research): Isla has brachycephaly, a form of plagiocephaly where the head flattens uniformly in the back. The therapist thought she likely developed this condition before she was even born.

The therapist did not think that Isla has torticollis, which is a common cause of flat heads. Isla can move her neck in both directions, though there were some minor concerns with the end range of motion. She can't quite turn her neck all the way to the side in either direction. The therapist sent us home with two stretching exercises to do with her. Other than that, it doesn't sound like there is much physical therapy that they will do with her. We have a follow up appointment next week, and then she will let us know if she thinks Isla will need to continue to come back for therapy.

So that's good news, I guess. It's also bad news....if therapy is not really an option for treatment, then that leaves the helmet as the only other option for treatment. We asked her what she thought Isla's chances of wearing a helmet were. She was hesitant to answer, saying that Isla was really young and there is still time for her head to reshape on its own. But then she said she would give her a "fair/moderate" chance of having to wear a helmet in the future.

One of the symptoms of having a flat head is facial asymmetry. As the flatness causes the skull to reshape, it can also cause facial features to reshape...specifically the eyes, ears, and jaw. In Isla's case, you definitely notice the asymmetry in her jaw. Notice how the right cheek/jaw is fuller and more filled out than the left side.

The therapist noticed her jaw shape and asked about Isla's eating habits. We told her that she is a very slow, sometimes fussy eater. So she called in a speech therapist to come in to make sure that there was not a muscular problem with her jaw.

As soon as I started to feed Isla her bottle, the speech therapist noticed the problem. It was not a jaw/muscle problem. It was a problem with the way she was sucking and breathing while eating. She showed us what we can do to help her learn to feed better, and immediately Isla's feeding improved drastically.

So the visit with the speech therapist was probably the most helpful part of today's visit, even though it had nothing to do with the shape of her head! I just feel dumb that I didn't seek out help sooner. I didn't know that this was a problem that could even be resolved with help!


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