Hi Everyone,

Another big day of firsts for Corey! We were very excited for Alice’s visit this morning to show her the progress Corey’s made moving her left arm and opening her left hand. What I love best about our therapy team is their acknowledgement of Corey’s achievement but the very next words out of their mouths is, “now can you do ____”. The blank is filled with the next challenge to push or reach further than she just demonstrated.

Alice brought two magnets with her this week. She holds one and gives Corey its mate. She moves the magnet to a position that will force Corey to raise and reach above, across or down and slightly beyond her current radius. After today’s performance she will begin asking Corey to hold it in her left hand.

Much to Alice’s delight, she was surprised by Corey’s left hand exercises. Corey has been working on opening her left hand outside of her therapy sessions. Her left thumb has been bent at the first joint making it difficult to fully extend the thumb. Today Corey showed Alice how she releases her thumb assisted by her right hand. Alice was amazed that Corey could fully extend her thumb and that it stayed extended without bending back to the contracted position. Once again, Alice wanted more…”Can you point to Roxie using your left pointer finger”? Initially, Corey’s fingers moved in unison opening all 5. Alice repeated her directions asking for only the pointer finger. Corey closed her hand and followed the command immediately by moving just her pointer finger. Alice educated us that this movement is significant because the muscles used to isolate that motion is not only a cognitive response but it also utilizes specific muscles that are separate from the rest of the fingers and hand. Corey was in control of the muscles and motion. Another first!

Diane arrived for Speech this afternoon. We are preparing Corey for another swallow study this Thursday morning. We are beginning to introduce softer solid foods expanding her culinary options. She currently has 4 cans of formula a day administered via peg tube. As Corey increases her ability to chew and swallow solid foods, we will work towards calorie intake matching the calorie count of each can. The goal is to remove a can for each 400 calories she eats in solid foods. This process will take anywhere from 2-6 months depending on how well she manages chewing, swallowing and digesting solid foods. IF all goes well, the peg tube will then be used for medications only until she can ingest those by mouth. That will be the last stage before it can be removed. That will be a major accomplishment!!

Corey had lunch before Diane’s arrival so the ladies worked on speech and cognitive language skills. Diane tests Corey on various forms of whole language including vocabulary. Once again, Corey blew her away. Diane chose the vocabulary word and would give Corey clues to its definition. For instance; “some people can use their right hand and their left hand for various tasks such as writing”. “What word do we use when you can use both hands for the same task”? Corey didn’t skip a beat, she answered “Ambidextrous”. Diane literally called to me to come in and witness Corey’s response again! Corey was able to answer each of Diane’s questions accurately. When the session was over Diane shared that she is ready to “test” Corey on her whole language skills. She also shared that when she first met Corey back in July, she honestly never expected to achieve the progress that Corey has made to date. You can only imagine how excited I was to see this professional with 30+ years of experience giddy with excitement at Corey’s level of success. She can’t wait to come back tomorrow.

Corey what a good day! I just know it’s a matter of time before you are Ambidextrous. In fact, I think next Monday afternoon at 1:05, Opening Day for the Phillies, we should have a hot dog for lunch and skype Uncle Tom so you two can give him two thumbs up! Won’t he love that! xoxo