Update on MJ Larsen:
MJ continues to improve despite her continued muscle strength limitations. She is getting around very well in her walker and tries really hard to move on the carpet. However, the slick kitchen floor seems to work the best for her. She is learning trouble-shooting by getting out of difficult places where she is stuck, able to turn around and keep going. Sometimes she either forgets she can get out of a situation where she is stuck or she just likes to yell at her parents. It is so much fun to see her move on her own and we know she really enjoys it too. We take her walker to church with us since they have a huge facility. The basketball court has a nice soft but not too slick of a surface so she still have to work to get around and can go much farther than she can in our little kitchen. We still believe that she will walk before she will crawl but we still want her to learn to crawl since it is such a big learning milestone especially for language skills.
(If you missed the last newsletter you can find all the old newsletters at: http://www.thegrubclub.com/story-mjl.htm along with some new pictures.)
MJ is grabbing toys a lot by herself without prompting as to whether she wants something. She grabs her drink cup by herself and gets a drink, throwing it where ever it lands when she's done. So cute! Her finger feeding is better but still much improvement to be made. We are working on choices so she can assert her independence for what she wants. We have pictures of several items to she can choose between some mundane like her brush and a favorite book. It is working well.
MJ began her first day of preschool on February 25, just one week after her 3rd birthday. Needless to say, we w
ere kind of anxious about it but Christine stayed for the entire first class and they really did well with MJ. She still doesn't quite interact very much with the kids but she is learning how to do much more activities with her hands after being severely tactile sensitive. She still does not really like glue or playdough. It is so cute to see her play and pay attention. Of course, her favorite is story time since her all time preferred activity is reading books.
MJ continues to be seizure free. Thank God! Her neurologist told us at our last visit in Seattle in December that should she remain seizure free for a year, we can discontinue her on anti-seizure meds. We are so excited.
The next therapy that we have considered for MJ is call Therapeutic Riding or Hippo Therapy. It is helpful for a lot of types of neurologic disorders from seizures to MS. A friend of ours was telling us that therapeutic riding is what got her developmentally delayed daughter to be interested in walking. This therapy is taught by a very gentle horse who is guided by a therapist and several assistants to make sure the patient is safe and for mounting and dismounting the horse. The facilities have specially trained therapists who know how to handle the horse for the best benefit of the patient. We have heard good things about it. If the evaluation goes well, we will start the 6 week training program. The facility we prefer is about 45 miles out of Missoula so it will be a long Saturday morning/afternoon for us for a while. Complete worth it if MJ likes the horse and does well.
also considered taking MJ to an extensive session of Cranio-Sacral therapy at their headquarters in Florida. Since we see how much this therapy works for her an hour each week, we know that two weeks of this intensive therapy will change her world. We will be able to afford this intensive session ($7200) and also travel expenses with the help of our website idea which is described in the next paragraph.
At this point, in order to continue offering as much help to MJ
as we can for her continued development, we have come up with a web site
idea. We are taking this approach:
Obtaining large donations with one major fundraiser would help a lot. However, improving our income will help MJ over the long term when her needs are not so obvious such as education, etc. So we have started a web site at www.TheGrubClub®.com. It provides free online menus for restaurants. This is how it works: When a restaurant puts up a menu, everyone on the Internet can view it. This will help the restaurant get new customers and keep their existing ones as well as help weary travelers find a place to eat with the cuisine they like while in a particular town. When there are enough online menus, we will be able to sell advertising. The advertising dollars will be the funding venue for MJ. That is our plan and we like it. If you get a chance, look it up and let anyone you know about it, especially individuals with a restaurant. Word of mouth is the key.
If you are looking for other ways to help, please see our volunteers section of the website or we have also listed them here for convenience:
- Pray for MJ's continued development, good health and complete
For those who want to get more active to help MJ:
- Call or mail a post card to restaurants in your area and let them about
our service. We can provide post cards if you would like to do this.
If you have any other ideas, please let us know. . . . and thanks!
Once again, thanks to all of you for your support, prayers and help. God bless you.
Rich and Christine Larson
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