Caleb Brown Takes His First Steps

Saturday, November 13, 2010
Tiffany and Caleb
Tiffany and Caleb

Caleb Brown, the two-year-old Nashville boy who was hit in the head with a rock at Fall Creek Falls, has taken his first steps.

He is also eating better as he gets therapy at the Scottish Rite facility in Atlanta, his parents, Tim and Tiffany report:

They wrote on his website:

We awoke this two-morning with our now normal daily occupational therapy session—normal routines like getting Caleb dressed, combing his hair, brushing his teeth, etc. Not long after this we began another full day of various therapies. I am proud to say that we had another wonderful day full of new things that we saw Caleb doing.

Caleb got his first real bath today, and mommy was privileged to be able to do it. He seemed to really enjoy it. He was a little unsure about the board he had to be strapped to, but after the water started, he was pretty happy. He got clean and mommy got a little wet too!

One highlight of the day was when we went to physical therapy. I came in and was overjoyed to hear the therapist say, “Hey Caleb, want to walk to daddy?” We found out that Caleb still remembers walking. The therapist took Caleb into her arms, and supporting his weight, placed both feet on the floor and stood him up. Just the sight of seeing him upright and on his feet was enough to take our breath away. But what we saw next indeed did take our breath away. “Ok Caleb, kick your foot out, come on…lets walk to daddy, let’s show daddy how you can walk.”And with that, we saw Caleb take his first steps. Feelings of joy swarmed inside as we were shouting inwardly and outwardly, “Hooray!” I think for once our smiles rivaled that of the best of cheesy smiles that we have seen from Caleb. J He wasn’t able to support his weight as his legs and feet were very weak, but he was able at times to get the motion of walking. He did put one foot in front of the other. And so after what to him must have been a long grueling process, he made it to the finish line, and collapsed into a great big hug from daddy.

Next Caleb got to have a little fun. One of the ways they teach and encourage walking is to let the kids take a tricycle ride. So they put a little helmet on Caleb, and strapped his feet to the peddles. We then wheeled Caleb all around the third floor of the hospital. Now Caleb may not be able to speak yet, and yes he may not be able to completely get his facial expressions to go the way he wants them to go, but you could definitely tell he was a happy little camper being pushed around on that tricycle! One thing I noticed is that with the exception of one time, Caleb was actually able to keep his hands on the handle bars the entire time. So we rode the tricycle, came back and then tried the walking motion again. And again, he did pretty well. He would cross his feet every now and then, but overall he was still placing one foot in front of the other—all good signs of a great start towards walking.

Next we were off to speech therapy when again we were tasked with working with him on his eating. Yesterday it became pretty apparent that Caleb was still the same old Caleb when it came to his interest in eating. We could tell he wanted to eat, but today we really could tell. In two days he went from swallowing little bits of water off of a spoon to little bits of juice off a spoon, to today sipping large amounts of juice off a spoon and now even eating small amounts of yogurt off a spoon! The therapist was impressed with his ability to swallow and felt that he was well on his way to being able to eat again one day. At one point near the end of our session the therapist wanted to push him a little to see if he could suck juice from a straw, and he almost did! He was able to get the liquid nearly to the top of the straw. And of course the entire time we were doing the eating and tasting, Caleb was quite the happy little man. I think eating therapy is going to be his favorite!

For occupational therapy today we looked more closely at his abilities and limitations in terms of his eye sight. The therapist believes that his left eye is worse than his right eye, which is why Caleb tends to want to look to the right. He is also weaker on his left side and really strains to use his muscles on his left side. We played with various toys that were meant to stimulate his senses—toys that made sounds, music, that lit up, vibrated, and toys that had a cause and effect, like toys where you can push a button and then something happens, etc. Caleb loved playing with the toys. Often he would smile when he was doing something he liked, and of course he loved mommy and daddy there playing with him too. Now that we have a better understanding of what his strengths and weaknesses are, Tiffany and I are going to focus on his left side with stimulation, muscle training, etc.

Usually our day ends by about 3:00pm – 3:30pm, but we have personally chosen to not stop the therapy even after our daily sessions. After we get back from therapy Tiffany and I have developed an evening routine with Caleb. We come back, and let Caleb nap anywhere from between 1 and 2 hours, then we wake him up, do some range of motion with him (stretching), then we lay a map out on the floor and have some play time (this is something we always did at home when I came home from work, i.e. play on the floor with daddy time), and during this time we tend to reinforce the things that we have been working on—utilizing toys, techniques, etc. to play and work on things at the same time. After play time, we let him relax and have some TV time. Then we read to him, and then its bed time. During this time we also reinforce other things like his juice tasting, practice standing, music therapy, etc.

Caleb continues to show signs of becoming more aware of his surroundings. He has become very purposeful in his movements—scratching at his incision on his tummy, scratching at his wound on his head, etc. He is also smiling every day, and smiling more often, which we love!

Here is some big news. They told us today that because he is doing so well, we may not have to be here for 2 months. They said that we may only have to be here for 30 days or so. We are so encouraged by that, and encouraged by the fact that we may just be back home in time for Christmas.

One of the things that they do here at Scottish Rite is they make goals for each week of therapy, and this week Caleb has already met his goals. Next week the things they want to see Caleb do is continue to swallow so he can perhaps move up to pureed food. They want to see him balance more so we can work up to him sitting upright on his own, and they want to work on strengthening his right side.

Things have settled down tonight. I am so filled with joy for our little boy. I am also saddened because of some news I heard today. Last night we heard the cries of a little child about the age of Caleb that is a couple of doors down from us, and for hours he was crying out for his mommy and daddy….and no one ever came. I learned through the grapevine that the child was there alone. His parents dropped him off and then left. He is only 2 years old. The nurses come by and spend as much time as they can, reading books, talking to him, etc. but they simply don’t have the time and there aren’t enough volunteers to stay with him. So there he stays, often crying alone. I am not sure if it would be a HIPAA violation or not, but I have offered to go in there and read at least a bed time story to him, if they will let me. Please pray for that little boy.

One of the things that I want to do every evening when I write these posts is give you all things you can specifically be praying for. Tonight I ask that you begin praying that Caleb will meet his goals for next week, as well as pray for his eye sight and speech. We long so much for him to be able to see and to speak to us.

Learning to eat again
Learning to eat again

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