Thursday, September 27, 2012

September 27: Isla and her Vestibular Sense

Isla seems to be back to normal for the most part this week.  Except for a couple of random, irrational screaming tantrums she has been having on a daily basis.  Maybe her ears still hurt or her teeth.  Or maybe we have entered the age of temper tantrums.  Oh, I remember this age with Audrey, and it was not pretty.  I was hoping my sweet, laid back baby Isla would skip over this phase.  But she is showing us that she definitely has an opinion about life and she can throw fits with the best of them!  Fun times!  =)

While she was sick last week, she discovered that it is really fun to lean back on pillows.  Now that she is feeling better, she just wants to fall back on pillows all the time.  Then she sits herself up and falls back down again.  Over and over.  It makes her smile every time (and me too!).

I posted a few days ago about how she is standing up by herself more often.  She is still sometimes standing up by herself, but it has not become a regular thing yet.  Still (still!!) if she realizes that she is not holding onto something, most of the time she immediately reaches out to grab onto the nearest person or object.  The girl just hates to feel unsteady or to even think about the possibility of feeling unsteady.  That is pretty unusual.  Most kids her age don't care one bit about whether they are stable or not.  They just take off and go, not caring if they wobble or fall. 

We went to physical therapy today, and it was not a great session.  Isla just cried and fought us every time we tried to get her to stand or walk.  Shannon is trying to figure out something that will make Isla feel more comfortable with letting go.  One idea is that it could be a vestibular issue.  (The vestibular system is the sensory system in the inner ear that provides a sense of balance...I had to look that up when I got home today). 

Isla always wants to be holding onto something, and we assume this makes her feel stable.  She doesn't really need to hold onto things to stay balanced, but in her mind at least, she is more balanced when holding onto something.  So Shannon thinks maybe we need to work on helping her feel more comfortable in unstable positions and movements.  So our new strategy is to put Isla in moving positions that are safe but not stable (sitting and bouncing on a ball, swinging in a swing, etc.) in the hopes that she will gain some confidence and feel more steady even when everything around her is unsteady.

I'm not sure that there is really something wrong with her vestibular sense.   She likes to be flipped upside down and to fall into our arms and to be spun around and other such rapid movements; it seems she should hate those things if she is having issues with balance and her vestibular sense.  But she is definitely lacking confidence when it comes to moving on her own, and she is overly cautious.  So maybe these new therapy techniques will help her get braver and feel more comfortable if nothing else.  So far, everything else we have tried has not been working, so I'm ready for something new at this point.


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