Thursday, October 14, 2010

First taste of independence

Emma has been trying to get moving for a long time but hasn't been that successful.  She tries to crawl but her arms have a hard time reaching back over her head once she scoots forward once and she gets sort of "stuck" in the commando crawl position.  But, she always keeps on trying since she is extremely motivated to find some way to gain independent movement.  

I had thought that a crawler would be great for Emma, but the version that I was aware of was ~$500 and our insurance wasn't about to buy one (and I was saving the fight in me for the gait trainer battle).  A friend told us about a crawler that her daughter was using at school and we found a similar one on the web for about $60.  That really got our attention!  

Emma received the crawler as a birthday present and when it arrived I found that the crawler is actually too big for Emma.  She would need one that adjusts to a lower height than the 13" lower limit but I hadn't seen any of those until I did some more looking around.  The smaller crawlers are more expensive but I did find one here that seems to be a more affordable smaller crawler in case anyone is in the market to buy one.  

We decided to make some adjustments so our crawler could work for Emma.  We worked with her occupational therapist to find a way to customize it and Emma took off on it - literally!  Emma LOVES scooting around the house in the crawler.  It's really her first time to have some independent mobility and she is really starting to explore the house in a whole new way.

The crawler that she received is the Adjustable Crawl Trainer purchased at Flaghouse.com shown here:

We found that we are able to use the adjustable sling to have Emma work in high kneeling, but it doesn't work at all for crawling.  So, we took a piece of wood and cut it to fit between the crawler bars.  The wood was cut so there are a few inches of no wood at all at the bottom of the crawler so that Emma can move easily.  I covered it with some semi-thick foam - purchased at JoAnn Fabrics - to make it comfy for her belly.  I also made a little cover (from a suede-like material with a princess crown embossed in it!) for the foam covered board to make it soft and look pretty.  Then I took foam, covered it with the same fabric and tucked it around the bars so that Emma would have protection from the crawler bars.  The crawler is still a tad bit too big even with the modifications that doesn't stop Emma from moving all around the house in it!  

To keep her from falling off we're using the same "seatbelt" that we use on the potty - a waist trimmer that has velcro on it that we purchased for $5 at Five Below in the exercise section.  We typically use this inside out where the neoprene material faces out and the nylon fabric faces in so that it doesn't get Emma sweaty.  Also, we make sure there are shoes on Emma's feet when she is using the crawler because when we first tried it out without any shoes or socks Emma got a nasty floor burn on her toe from using it to push off so much.  Using shoes eliminates the risk of getting another sore on her toe and gives her more traction to push off and get moving quicker. 

I don't have any new videos to post, but here is one of Emma on the crawler the first day we used it right after her bath - so her hair is a bit wild, she is not wearing socks or a seatbelt and we are making sure she has both now! - and having a lot of fun.  There is a lot of video here, so just jump to about 1:50 for when she started getting the hang of moving.  

6 Comments from readers:

Tara Bennett said...

Oh my goodness, I just HAVE to get one of these for Chloe! She would LOVE it!!!

And I know I say it all the time, but especially in video, it is just amazing to me how much Emma reminds me of Chloe. It makes me smile :)

Anonymous said...

Love it. I had only seen the sling type but this is great. Emma is one smart little girl. She totally knows what she's doing....how awesome!

Laura G

Karen Owens said...

Where did all that hair come from!!!!!????? Love the video -- Love her smiles!

Angela said...

Yay Emma! Fyi..should have told me not to warned me not to watch this with people around...they all think I have lost it because I am cheering and clapping at a computer haha!

Anonymous said...

I was cheering and yelling at my computer too! She's kicking butt and taking names!

Wherever HE Leads We'll Go said...

Way to go Emma! She looks like she is having a blast!