Thursday, October 21, 2010

31 for 21: Day 21 Hope Haven Evaluation

so lots of folks have asked how wyatt's evaluations at hope haven went yesterday.....for those of you who don't know, hope haven is the only Down syndrome clinic in florida, and is located in jacksonville.  i've had lots of friends who highly recommended a visit there for wyatt.  we feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to full a cancelled appointment slot much earlier than our scheduled appointment of april 2011!  

we loved hope haven!  everyone there is so kind and gracious.  upon my frantic arrival (i was running late!), i rushed up to the door pushing wyatt's stroller and was met by a young man with Ds who had jumped up to open the door for this frazzled mom!    what a great way to start a busy day!   everyone just encouraged me to slow down and catch my breath as we got checked in!   i liked that there were not 20 people in the waiting room....there was one other mom with 2 kiddos, and the young man!   i knew that we would receive wonderful individualized attention!   and we did!

we started with the educational evaluation; wyatt playing on the floor while i told laura all about wyatt and the therapies he already receives!    she enjoyed and appreciated his focus on playing alone.....and his acceptance and exploration of the new toys she introduced!   she gave me ideas that we need to focus more on....mainly picture cards.  soon after wyatt was born we worked more with that, but as therapies mounted, i slacked off on that area.  i plan to really focus on that again, especially on cards more pertinent to his daily life.  she highly recommended that for his communication skills.   as i expressed my desire that he speak clearly, she gently encouraged me to not allow our speech work to impede his other means of communication!  (i needed that!)

we were whisked off to speech eval with melanie.  she played with wyatt as we talked about the skills he already has.  she also encouraged what she called "sabotage," where you withhold an object until he responds in some way.  she also worked on some oral motor things like drinking from a straw and using a z-vibe and jigglers for more oral stimulation to "wake up" his mouth more.  he really seemed to enjoy the jiggler, especially on the tooth that we discovered popping through!    

occupational therapy was next with myesha!  she is a lovely young woman that wyatt took to immediately!  she played fun things with him, working on fine motor skills, discussing sensory processing issues with me (he really only has sound sensory issues, i think!  he hates loud sounds.....).   she was very pleased with his drop/release, and gave me lots of good ideas to work on in many areas.....ripping paper, wadding up paper to develop hand strength; laying on a skateboard and pulling himself along; more weightbearing on his hands, etc.   much to do!

finally we met with monica for physical therapy!   wyatt was exhausted by this time!   but he actually did very well.  she had him walk behind a weighted little tikes shopping cart, since he's too tall for most push toys!  he did great with that.  she also encouraged more bench work, reaching for things above his head, standing from kneeling position, and lots more core work on the exercise ball to strengthen him to be able to hold himself up to walk.  

the only real concern that they expressed for wyatt was that he tends to tilt his head slightly to the left.  there could be several causative factors that we will pursue, including occular, vestibular (inner ear) and orthopedic (not likely).....i've already spoken to our local team and we will be discussing that further next week! 

we ended the day back with laura, our educational evaluator, who is FABULOUS!   she was very impressed overall with wyatt, and thinks that we have done great things with him.  he works very hard and is a terrific "patient!"    he loves new challenges, and is so easy to work with!   of course, he was exhausted and was asleep by the time we got to the van.....and my head was "spinning" with ideas to share with tim and our team!   it was a fantastic experience, and i'd go back next month if i could!   but we'll see them again next year and go from there!   


  1. What a fabulous day! Wyatt charmed them all, I'm sure. He's doing great, Penny. And those shopping carts do make for good push toys for taller toddlers... Micah's new school (he starts after Thanksgiving) has one weighted down with a stuffed animal. I think they take the stuffing out and replace the stuffing with something heavier (I don't think it's sand, but I'll let you know when I find out).

  2. Sounds like a fantastic place!! I'm going to have to print this post out so I can remember some of these things when Lily is older.

  3. glad you all had a good visit at HH. I told you! They have all sorts of great suggestions and helpful info. I really look forward to our eval each year. It does make for a long day to do them all in one visit, but worth it! So glad you stayed with us and hope you guys can make it over again before next year-maybe for a Lil Stars presentation! :)

  4. Hi Penny - My daughter Molly (4mos old) also has Down Syndrome and I live in Jacksonville! I found your blog via one of the Lil' Stars moms! We are HUGE fans of HH, such an amazing place! I'm so glad to see that you had a positive experience as well!

    I'd love for you to check out my blog and learn all about our family! It is Look forward to hearing from you!