A Thousand Inches

In the special needs world, you’ll hear moms talk about “inchstones.” Milestones are ages apart and there’s no guarantee you’ll get to any of them, so you learn to celebrate the small things.

The small things can start to add up, though, and before you know it, your child is doing some things you never thought possible.

I remember the day I typed that I wanted Charlie to use his hands now during play. He was eight months old at the time and while he could get one arm in the air, he had very little control and couldn’t do even basic things like bang on a toy piano. He had a good grasp and could put things in his mouth, but you had to give him things–he couldn’t get them by himself.

child with cerebral palsy prefers left hand

Right before his first birthday he had figured out how to bang and with his left hand. For the most part, he ignored his right hand, but we like our victories and tried not to worry about that too much.

child with cerebral pasy prefers left hand

Two months after his first birthday, we were teaching him to feed himself with that left hand.

By eighteen months he had learned to hold and drink from a sippy cup. That’s approximately twice the age of a typical child, but like I said, we count victories in this house.

boy with cerebral palsy prefers left hand

At twenty months, Charlie could push almost any button you put in front of him with his left hand. Righty wasn’t real useful, but he had stopped sitting on it.

Child plays with toy

At almost two, Charlie started to use his right hand a little. Mostly as a “helper” to his left hand. It was often fisted, but he was trying to use it. Round these parts, we call that progress.

And so here we are at three.

When Charlie claps, only his right thumb refuses to cooperate. His left hand can do a pincher grasp and we’re working on pointing. He sucks on his left thumb to keep his right hand available. He’s not typical when it comes to his hands, but he’s not far off either. 

Boy plays fireman

The inches are adding up. Most days it’s painfully slow and seems like we haven’t improved in ages, but then someone mentions something or you stumble upon an old photo and you realize how much has been accomplished. I might not have picked this life, given an option, but I plan to celebrating every inch of it.

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  1. katy!
    YOU are awesome.

  2. Katy, it is hugely expensive but I can’t believe the outcomes we have had using hippotherapy. While on the horse she pulls pegs out of a pegboard on command, reaches for a ring to place on a cone at direction from the gang of workers who run the show, and bears weight on her arm while the horse is moving. Out of the sessions, Hannah will now eat a Cheeto with her right hand, use it in play to some extent, try to stuff a toy in it but often find that pesky right thumb tucked in and unhelpful, but still she tries now and that was huge for us. We are also doing kinesiotaping, a method we got from Early Intervention and it seems really beneficial. Email me if you want to discuss, and I plan to post about the taping soon, with pictures. Chralie’s righty just may have some more tricks up its sleeve, ready to come out soon in preschool. Celebrate indeed! You absolutely should!

  3. YES!! We like to sing a little Kool and the Gang around here when we are celebrating inchstones! …celebrate good times! come on! do do do do do do do do…Yahoo!.. Yeah I’m cheesy like that! Go, Charlie! Can’t wait to see what he’ll do next!

  4. Susan Kern says:

    Thank you so much for posting this — just what I need to put things in perspective! Elizabeth is so slow in progress but she’s making progress and that’s all that matters. Go Charlie for using the right hand!!

  5. It is so great to see the progress that Charlie has made. It is so clear when you pull out old photos and compare them.

  6. *Tear*. I love it and I love that we get to go through this life “with” you. :)

  7. We live by the same measurements.

    Loved seeing Baby Charlie as I did not start reading your blog until he was almost two.

    Didn’t you say he could start hippotherapy once he is three? I think kinesiotape is a good technique (GingerB), too. Here’s my old post on it: http://www.therextras.com/therextras/2008/11/more-than-one-way-to.html

  8. Have you ever considered Constraint Therapy?? Wonderful, and intense with results. And yes, I agree with all above, Hippo is worth looking into as well. We have seen great gains in Righty from both therapies.

  9. wonderful post wonderful.
    Happy inch counting I know that they add up!

  10. Hi, we are from chile, and we have a boy, he is 6 years old and has a intrauterine cerebral attack righ side, he uses his left hand for every and his right hand only is helpful. I usually, read your blog, you write real experience and I thought you can help another families, Charlie, is doing many things that Vicente did in his first years, is incredible. Kisses for him and sorry for my english, but I dont have many practice.

  11. The pictures tell the story. Mama captures the memories. Love it!!

  12. Hi! We lived by inches those first years of Max’s life. Now I’m so much less anxious about his progress and how fast it would happen. Well, it still doesn’t come fast, but it comes, and I’ve learned to make peace with that.
    That’s something that’s taken years to get past. Also? These days, I tend to look at stuff as a gift, not as a given. E.g., I never thought Max would be able to isolate his finger and POINT. He just started doing that this year!

    OK, I am mortified that I got so sucked into pre-BlogHer/BlogHer insanity that I haven’t yet seen this redesign. Katy, the site looks absolutely amazing!!!

  13. Sweet, sweet boy, he’s grown so much! And wow, he’s come a long way, GO CHARLIE! :)

  14. Charlie is such a sweet boy. I don’t mind him playing on my sympathy a little bit. I love to cuddle Charlie. I know!!! He’s a big boy, but he’s so cute. I can’t help myself!!!