Corey was back at Bryn Mawr today. Natalie hasn’t worked with her in 2 weeks and she ‘felt’ a big difference in Corey’s body. Normally she walks behind Corey holding her hips and torso, so she literally has first hand knowledge. Corey’s lost 23lbs since September with her daily exercise and healthy eating and Natalie could feel it.
Corey uses her recumbent bike when she’s not at Bryn Mawr. She’s increased her time to 30 minutes now. In addition, she stands at the island and we continue to take practice laps walking with her forearm cane. Stretching is a daily requirement. We stretch Corey’s left toes, ankle, calf and thigh muscles as well as her left arm twice daily to keep her tone from increasing. The doctor is so pleased with her left arm, he’s decided to use the full volume of botox in her left leg only. The next botox shots will be given early April.
Focusing on Corey’s arms and legs is just part of our daily regimen. Stimulating her imagination and maintaining her motivation and interests is equally as challenging. Some of the ‘everyday’ conversation target different cognitive exercises.
For instance today as we drove to Bryn Mawr I asked Corey to be my co-pilot. I challenged her to name the roads and direction of the car with each turn without verbal ques. She recognized the main road, named it and knew we were heading north. When she couldn’t remember the route number, she did accurately guess the direction of the next turn. Unfortunately, after a few minutes of silence, she asked, “could you remind me where we’re going”? “why do we go there”? After our day is over, she will ask, “could you tell me what we did today”? Good news…she’s asking!
We have been working on different methods of strengthening Corey’s memory. I recently bought her new cooking magazines. Normally I read the recipes to her and ask her to remind me of the list of ingredients. Tonight, I asked her to read the ingredients to me (we are also trying to identify her changing visual issues).
Corey will silently look at an isolated line then look up and repeat what she’s read verbatim. Tonight I switched it up and asked her to read each word out loud (trying to get a sense of what she sees, how she processes and identifies the words). Each word was read with a 4 to 5 second delay. As I watched her I noticed she turns her head to the left. I asked her why she **** her head when she reads?
C-I turn my head because the words aren’t clear. I think one eye is stronger than the other.
This simple statement speaks volumes and can help us identify what we can do to help her read more easily. As Corey learns to communicate better, we are learning about various field cut limitations.
The older sister of one of Corey’s friends taught us a trick to help Corey’s visual focus. Alicia is studying to become a Speech/Cognitive Therapist. She cut an index card in an L shape highlighting the edge of the L in red marker. I have been working with Corey to utilize this tool. Corey holds the L with her left and right fingertips and slowly moves it down to isolate each line. It helps her stay focused so the number of lines per paragraph doesn’t overwhelm her. It’s taken some practice but tonight it worked with the best accuracy to date. Corey read a recipe list of ingredients 18 items long. She remembered 3. This type of cognitive exercise is very tiring for her but it is becoming easier as we continue to practice.
Experimentation and Innovation are the foundation for motivation and persistence. If we run out of ideas we stop moving forward. That is not an option for this young woman, xoxo