Scooot

One of the biggest things going on around here is C’s new Scooot.  I’ll start by saying that I paid full (gulp!) price for the thing and this is a totally unsolicited review.  (I always wonder that when I read reviews, don’t you?)

The Scooot is a special needs device aimed at kids two to six. Basically, it’s a little triangle on wheels, that has different attachments that can allow a child, depending on their strength, to “crawl” while on their tummy, or to “scoot” while sitting. It also has add on wheels that make it look sort of like a pre-wheelchair.  (Unlike a wheelchair however, it is for indoor use and if your child is as involved as C, is not something she would be able to travel very far in.)

Before it arrived, I was most excited about the chair mode, particularly as we had tried the ZipZac chair and liked it – C even tried to push the wheels.  Unfortunately our funding request for the ZipZac was denied, and while I am still hoping for a reversal of that decision, I thought the Scooot might be an alternative – it’s just slightly less expensive than ZipZac.

As it turns out, for us it doesn’t meet the same need as the ZipZac as it is considerably less supportive  and C doesn’t have the trunk strength to sit on it in chair mode.  However, we have gotten so much use out of the tummy-time mode.

Tummy Time

Tummy time is a mega-challenge for C because her arms are very high-tone (i.e. spastic). She also has very low tone in the trunk. That means that when she’s on her tummy, she has great difficulty getting her arms forward to push off the floor, which in turn means she doesn’t develop core strength that we need to do so many other things. For some reason I feel like tummy time was easier for her when she was younger, but perhaps I just took pictures when she did it for a second, and now I assume she could do it for longer.

Anyway, the Scooot brings her arms forward for her and lets her get into that  Cobra pose position that is so important for trunk strength, and shoulder and arm strength. When she’s on this thing, we can roll a ball to her and she can bat it to us. Or she can stare at trains. Or investigate the straps on her highchair.

Investigating

Within a week of it arriving, C had figured out how to move around on it.  I’ve talked before about the glacial pace of CP, so that was nothing sort of a miracle. She even chased the cat!   Moving independently is a whole new thing for her.  I optimistically call her gait trainer a walker, but the truth is the “walking” only happens with a whole lot of coaxing and assistance.  The scooting (scoooting??) is totally on her own.  Unfortunately, she soon developed blisters on her feet from pushing off and hasn’t been as keen to move around, but I’m sure once her feet are better, she’ll be at it again. Both the independence, and the reciprocal movement of her feet, should help her with the walker too. Maybe even with sitting… but we weren’t going to talk about that, were we?

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So yes, I’m pleased. I bought it with the knowledge that there is a fairly decent return period, but I can say for sure we will be holding onto this thing despite the hefty price tag. In future I hope C will get use out of the other modes too.  I must say, while it’s not particularly difficult to change the modes, it does involve bolts, and washers and several Allen keys, so we’ll probably stick to tummy mode for quite a while.

C also has some other very cool devices to get more moving, like her new toy car. We’re using that outside though as our house is not large enough for it but if you check me out on Instagram you can see pictures of that too. I didn’t get it on film, but my favourite moment so far was when she totally ignored us telling her to stop. Every toddler should have that prerogative!

A Chair with Wheels?

C’s little custom chair sits on an old stand that we borrowed from the hospital. It has a desk so she can have toys in front of her.  But at the end of the day, it’s still a very passive thing.

C is becoming less passive.  She has learned to nod for “Yes” as in “Do you want a baba?” Nod.  “Do you want uppa” Nod.  Did you like the Christmas tree? “Nod.”  She hasn’t mastered the shake, but she does have a little “Na” that she is starting to use as “No.”  As in “Do you want to go in your walker?” Na.  “Do you want to go to bed?” “Na.”  She also started saying “Hi” yesterday over and over and over in response to to our “His!”  Her mouth, like every other part of her body, is affected by her CP, and so these words are very precious.

But now that she can ask what she wants it’s hard that her only option is the passive option, of sitting and us bringing the toys to her.  I found myself wishing the chair had wheels lately, as she hates to be left alone in the living room as the other three move into the kitchen.  The other day I dragged the thing in front of the fridge so she and B could knock magnets off the fridge and she loved it.

And I wondered, am I wishing for a wheelchair? We’re still waiting for this walker – after months, it has been approved and ordered, but we have no idea when it will come – maybe just a few more weeks.  That will help because unlike her current “stander”, it doesn’t have a tray blocking her and the real world,, and is lighter and more manoeuvrable.  And she is working on walking and loves the treadmill.  Part of me thinks that we don’t want to let her “rely” on a wheelchair when she has this chance to walk.  But are we depriving her of things in the meantime?  The reality is her stamina even for her interim walker, which she uses as a stander, is limited. And how different would it be to have her sitting in a wheelchair that moves as opposed to the hour or two she spends in her little stationary chair?  We’d still do tummy time, we’d still practice walking. This is a strange shift mentally.

Equipment!

Today I am a happy camper. After struggling for months to fit C into a newborn bath ramp she had long outgrown, and then giving up on it entirely and having to bathe with her so she didn’t get stuck in an involuntarily reflexive movement she often reverts to when stressed, we finally have a safe bath seat. She can sit up in it and play. Now, I’m told that she didn’t actually love being in it during bath time. I was out doing something selfish, er, I mean, doing “self-care”, at the tennis court. But she’ll get there.

We also borrowed a walker. It’s an old walker – I’m going with the description “vintage” – but it works for now. In the meantime we’ll wait for the interminable bureaucratic processes to occur so that the funding agency can confirm our child is indeed disabled enough to qualify for funding so we can buy a different one that will grow with her to preschool age at least. So things are moving!

I’d put up a video of her using the walker we’re going to get, except she was wailing, and I was frantically singing “Itsy-Bitsy Spider” to calm her down. She did eventually settle into it, but of course she has no idea that it IS a walker, which will allow her mobility and independence. To her it’s just an annoying thing mum put her down in, when she really wanted to be held. For a child who can’t move independently, being held is far more comforting than sitting somewhere where you might end up slumped in a position you don’t want to be in, and won’t be able to get out of. But I’m optimistic that will change.