Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ode to Mr. George

Let me rewind to July/August 2010. Will's pedi recommended we call ECI - Early Childhood Intervention - to get therapy started. Insert MAJOR skepticism on our part. Really? A state program that will provide therapy? This sounds sketchy.

So we got started with the ever infamous "case manager" and "assessment" process who helped us identify what we qualify for in regards to therapy. Insert Mr. George, as we affectionately call him.

I still remember our first appt. Mr. George brought in this $3 IKEA bench and an exercise ball. Will could not sit to stand off that bench. In retrospect, he really was a floppy mess. It was eye opening. Depressing and exciting all at the same time. We had NO idea what was wrong, but PT felt like we were taking action, making progress. And progress we made! (BTW: I now own three of these IKEA benches :-)

Mr. George, and the other ECI therapists we love and will receive a post soon, could technically have been called MY first (mental) therapists as well. He was this connection to a world I knew nothing about. I'm sure he dreaded seeing me with my unending questions about the future and how Will was REALLLY doing and what did he think was wrong. Luckily, Will is so stinking cute that George  tolerated me :-)

George showed me how to help Will do exercises at home and a short four months into therapy Will took his first few independent steps and finally on Christmas day he just took off walking. Now, nearly a year after walking his stability has significantly improved and we're working on climbing stairs.

People joke that I have Will in 24/7 therapy. There was a really long time period where I ran around behind his every move to make sure he was in the correct form and using the big muscles instead of relying on this "tricks" he used to get around. I would make him redo it correctly if he cheated. Every night we came home and did ball exercises. I put on the music channel and we "danced" with the ball. So on... I've edged of some.

We have no idea if Will is ever going to be able to run, jump, ride a bike and so on, but George gave us a gift that I truly believe no one else could have done as effectively or with the same intensity of love, he gave Will independence.

I could go on for literally days about how wonderful Mr. George has been. He has left an impact on our lives that I didn't expect. Will absolutely loves this man. He shrieks with excitement when I tell him Mr. George is coming and waits by the door for him to arrive. I dread thinking of the day when ECI services end (at age 3, that's April...) and not having him be part of Will's life. What the most insane part about this is to me is George makes him WORK. I mean, he puts him through the ringer and Will still loves seeing him. Will grunts and is clearly working hard. Obviously their bond is strong.

Today I tried to capture some pictures from therapy. Please join me in saying a HUGE THANK YOU to Mr. George, his bag of tricks and his pure heart. He will always be part of our lives.

Got the weight belt on, getting warmed up.

I should bring another ball and do the exercises with Will too :-) They are HARD!

The only person I know who lets kids kick his toys and his cell phone.

Whew! It's all over, for today at least.

1 comment:

  1. This post has me so emotional. Mr. George, THANK YOU! I'm sure Mr. George's life has been impacted by Will as well. As a speech therapist, I can tell you that families like you guys are why our job is awesome. People who really care, appreciate what we do, share their amazing kids with us. I love that Will squeals with joy when Mr. George is coming. That is awesome and speaks to what a great therapist he is. Like you said, those exercises are hard! I used to do a swallowing group at a rehab facility in a hospital where I sat with the old people and reminded them to "turn their head to the left" etc. when swallowing their breakfast and coffee. They would drag their breakfast out as long as they could to avoid going to PT ;) I believe they liked the coffee drinking therapy better than the ass kicking therapy ;) One old man told me that he was sure his PT had been watching Animal Planet because he had him swinging around just like those monkeys on Animal Planet. hahahha. How awesome that with Mr. George's help, Will started walking so soon after. And what an amazing mom you are following Will around and re-teaching when he used his old habits. I wish I worked with even one parent with your level of dedication <3. It makes all the difference in progress, and its exciting to work with a family like Team Martin. With all the paperwork, etc. that we do, its the a-ha moments with the kids and families that make our jobs so rewarding. Thanks for letting me get to "meet" Mr. George. I've heard about him from you before. It was nice to see them in action together. What a team!