So yesterday I had my daughter's hippotherapy evaluation, for which I paid $175 so four ladies could fit Hannah with the smallest helmet they have (ump-de-ump times, since her head is so small she needed a lot of pads stuffed in) then pull her screaming from my arms and walk her around the ring on Tulip the pony while Hannah screamed bloody murder at the indignity of it all. All is not lost, however. After the session, she did smile when I asked her about Tulip, and she petted her nose and waved bye-bye. When I asked her about Tulip at home, she gave me a super large Hannah grin, possibly planning her next tantrum.
I think I can do a few things to improve our next session, which is a few weeks away, such as work with her on wearing a helmet, take her to places that do regular pony rides for $10, and let her feed and pet a horse through a fence and so on. But, um, holy shit. Everyone who is into it thinks it is the most effective technique ever developed, and few places will work with a population as young as Hannah, and only the National Ability Center is certified for hippotherapy in my state, so their prices are higher. But it is odd to pay that much to make your baby scream. I can do that for free, you know. I am highly qualified if not actually certified. The benefits my PT (the one I love, who got Hannah to crawl against the odds) wants her on a horse for development of the muscles of her trunk, and the OTs want her on a horse to benefit her use of her hand and along the way get self esteem, speech development, and a sense of accomplishment. But $3000 plus for this year, and a half hour drive each way?? I will do it, I am sure, as this time of zero to three will never be available to us again, with extra neurons just floating about waiting to get used, and a plastic little brain just itching to be rewired. But OW. Someone please tell me how full of the awesome hippotherapy is. Please.
Now, AFOs - those of you not in the special needs community - this means ankle foot orthosis. Ours is a just above the ankle sized boot, and it makes her foot bigger enough that she cannot wear regular shoes. Shriners gave us some Skecher type shoes that are like Frankenbaby shoes. I cannot bend the soles with my hands, I don't know how her skinny wee legs could possibly make her shoes flex and I can't believe anyone - hemiplegic or not - would walk better with feet that don't bend anywhere. I bought some expensive baby sandals from the expensive baby store, and they can adjust enough to cover the boot and give her a soft flexy sole but is there another option? What about in cold weather? Help? Ideas?
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