Cooper works extremely hard every day - it might be disguised as play, but his almost daily therapy sessions work towards many goals.
Right now, he is building his core stability to help with transfers, strengthening his arms for crawling, his legs for walking, his vocabulary for learning, communication abilities and motor planning for wheelchair driving, He is improving all the time and eager to get as prepared as possible to start big school in 2019.
He has a hectic weekly therapy program where Wednesday is his only day off and has now completed four three-week intensive programs - and the results speak for themselves. In less than two years, he has learnt to roll, sit, commando crawl, walk in a walking frame, use an iPad for communication, say more words (including 'no' very clearly!), feed himself, propel a small wheelchair and drive an electric wheelchair!
He makes us super proud every day with his effort and determination.
While Cooper currently understands a lot, and is able to engage in conversation through simple yes and no questions, his expressive language is severely delayed. He has just
a few constant words, including “more”, "no" and “mum”.
He uses many tonal sounds to get your attention, he points and gestures to express his wants and he uses some simple signs for “help”, “something different”, “want” and “finished”.
Through weekly speech therapy sessions, we are aiming to increase his vocabulary, his attempts to vocalise and learning to use his iPad symbol-supported communication app, Proloquo2go.
We currently see Dot at the Cerebral Palsy Alliance for his speech therapy.
Cooper attends a weekly Conductive Education class with his friends Isaac, Amalia and Hayden with Miss Rita and Mr Gabriel at the Cerebral Palsy Alliance which is a holistic and all-inclusive pre school class. During each session he explores his environment by rolling, crawling, pulling up and standing; uses a walker to take steps and improve his walking skills; reinforces his speech goals; uses his hands for drawing, puzzles and play; learning numbers, letters and colours
through play; and potty training!
Cooper's occupational therapist Cherrise at the Cerebral Palsy Alliance has had an enormous impact on making everyday tasks accessible for him. She recently completed a report for the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) and we are eagerly awaiting them to hopefully sign off on this first power wheelchair. Cooper can't wait! He thrives on the freedom it gives him and in turn, it allows him to be more of a cheeky four-year-old by ignoring instructions!
Cherrise also focuses on developing his fine motor skills. She is working on his pencil holding, object manipulation, dexterity and strength.
Cooper is lucky enough to hang out with a bevy of wonderful physiotherapists. All are working towards
his goals of continued truncal strength, independent movement and stamina.
On Mondays he gets a visit from Jodie from
Just Paeds. On Thursdays he’s put through his paces with Renee at the Cerebral Palsy Alliance. And on Fridays, we’re at NAPA with Ali for Cuevas Medek Exercises (CME).
CME therapy is composed of more that 3000 exercises. Each exercise represents a particular biomechanical challenge for the child. CME exercises are designed to promote an active response and automatic motor responses in delayed children.
Learning to stand from sitting, crawl, push up, reach around corners - there’s a long list of things to focus on in physio. And walking is a big focus too - he is continually improving in his new Rifton Pacer walker with bigger and more confident strides
Cooper loves his weekly swimming lesson with Renee at the Captain Ron Patrick Memorial Pool in Allambie.
Like most kids, he loves the water. But the lovely heated pool had the added bonus of helping his overly tight muscles relax, which enables him more independence of movement.
Since we started, his purposeful movements have increased immensely and he continues to build muscle strength as well. Oh, and he loves to sing and collect all the water toys!