Day 30: First Hair Cut!

This morning Madi got her first hair cut…no more golden mullet! Myself,  her Dad and Aunty Em took her to Little Tots Hair Shop on Queen East. They were great! The chair she sat in worked well for her lack of sitting strength and she was a champ! No fussing…just looked around and watched the other kids. It was quick…she was a pro…cute new hair do and a prize and souvenir lock of hair at the end. Great experience!







Day 29: Practice makes Progress

Pulling herself up off the floor is a movement Madi has been working on for a few weeks. Today she figured out how to pull her knees into her chest to raise herself up to be able to climb up on her floor chair. She wasn’t able to do it every time (2 successful attempts out of 5 today) but this was amazing to see as last week there was no way this would have happened.



I then realized her motivation was to reach to the banner that was still taped to the wall from our photo shoot the other day. She wanted to rip it apart. I wanted her to know that I was proud of her effort to play in the kneeling position she got to on her own so I let her do it…poor banner…I’ve learned to pick my battles.

Day 28: Conductive Education


Today Madison had the opportunity to visit March of Dimes to be screened as a candidate for their Conductive Education program.

What is Conductive Education you ask…

Conductive education is an intensive, multi-disciplinary approach to education, training and development for individuals with cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other motor challenges. Conductive Education was developed in 1945 in Hungary by Dr. Andras Peto. Peto theorized that people with disabilities are characterized by disintegrated function. His theory was that this may be overcome, and that co-ordinated functioning can be developed through an indirect cognitive route involving teaching and learning. The rehabilitative plan should be produced for the person, not for the function. The plan is not symptoms or lesion centered but focused on the personality. Conductive Education integrates medical knowledge with educational methods to enable the individual to learn how to gain control over his or her movements. Children are taught to see themselves as active and self-reliant participants in the world. The goal of CE is the socio-cultural integration of children with these motor disorders by assisting the child to develop an ortho-functioning personality. Orthofunction is the ability to solve the problems of daily living, such as dressing, eating, practicing personal hygiene, and other activities that are part of daily life and will allow the child to ultimately live as independently as possible. The achievements learned through conductive education increase confidence, self esteem and provide problem-solving skills for daily activities. The result of conductive education is that the quality of life is improved as well as the psychological well being of the child and family. Conductive Education contrasts markedly with traditional therapies in the following ways:

Conductors: Specially trained teachers licensed after approximately five years of college level training. The conductor carries out the principles of CE. This method links speech, thought and movement together in a way that helps the child to focus on and internalize the movement.

Group Instruction: A key element of conductive education is that individuals work as part of a small group of children with the same condition. This offers an opportunity for individuals to face challenges, share solutions and reward efforts to learn new skills within the dynamics of a group.

Environment: Provides for security of the child. Equipment is unique to CE and includes slatted tables called plinths, ladder chairs, and boxes that promote body alignment and support the tasks designed to facilitate learning.

Rhythmical intention: Many of the activities are done with the use of simple folk songs that relate to the activity. By pairing rhythm with movement, movements become more fluid and the lyrics provide verbal cues to the child.

Program and daily schedule: The child is viewed as a learner and the conductor teacher promotes confidence, motivation and an understanding of how this child can learn to perform everyday movements to become more independent in their functioning within their homes, schools and eventually in the workforce.

Curriculum: Conductive education helps these students build their cognitive skills and helps them learn to use alternate strategies to accomplish common motor tasks such as sitting, standing, walking, dressing, eating.

Involvement of the family: Emphasis is put on teaching family members to use these strategies at home to reinforce the application of CE skills in all aspects of daily life.

Conductive Education is a psycho-educational approach that focuses primarily on the child’s personality and lifestyle, integrating physiological and medical aspects. It is a combined special education and physical therapy, based on Peto’s theory that motor control can be learned. The approach focuses on improving the physical effects of a disability while encouraging motivation to become independent and increasing self esteem. The desired outcome is maximal independence called orthofunction, which refers to the ability to enter school, the community, and ultimately the workforce with minimal or no artificial aids. This total approach to learning and training targets children under the age of six, when the potential for impact is greatest, and they can be prepared for the traditional classroom.

After her assessment today, the facilitators feel Madison will benefit from the program and they feel that she has a lot of potential for the goals we have set with them. Madison will start her conductive education sessions with March of Dimes at the end of April.


Day 27: Adaptive Furniture!


Madison tried out her new chair from Grandview today. It fits perfectly with the craft table Aunty Nadia and Uncle Mark got her! Madison’s therapists want her to work on sitting in a chair with her legs at 90 degrees to further develop her trunk strength so she is able to sit in that position for a prolonged period of time. This will also help her play with toys off the ground to further develop her fine motor skills as sitting independently still proves to be a challenge for her. This chair and table also simulate the set up Madison uses at daycare everyday.


Thanks Grandview!

Day 26: Luck of the Irish!

Today I had a fabulous day celebrating my birthday! A lot happened and much of the fun was due to Madison…she was the best gift today! Here is the coles notes of the day:

Birthday cupcakes for Mommy!


Early appointment to get her AFO’S checked. She is changing so rapidly that we needed some adjustments to be made to give her more movement as well as wedges to tilt her forwards more in her walk. Aunty Rachel came to help me and to entertain Madi…thanks again for all your help Rach and for getting up so early on your break!

This is Madi trying to escape


Aunty Rachel helping


Next we were off to Grandview for our second appointment of the day. Madison was assessed for speech and language development.

Sitting at her table for the assessment


This was the best part of my birthday. Rachel and I watched her interact with a speech pathologist and do so well! If you are wondering how speech and language development is assessed with an 18 month old here is how it happens. They put out different toys on a table. Ask her to pass a specific toy as it is named, observe how different toys are played with and what sounds or words are used during the play. Different board books are shown with big pictures to look for identification and the parent is asked various questions about words used at Home, and how she plays and interacts with adults and other children. There was also an assessment form I filled out about her behavior and use of communication at home. Madison passed with flying colours! She is meeting and exceeding her milestones with speech and language which was so nice to hear! No speech therapy is needed…best birthday gift ever!

We went to breakfast to celebrate! Eggs Benny and French Toast!


Up next was a 2 hour nap that Madi and I enjoyed together ..gotta love March Break! We then ventured to the mall to take advantage of some birthday freebies like a gift at The Body Shop haha.

Later in the afternoon we took advantage of all our St. Patty ‘ s decor from over the years and staged a photo shoot! Get ready for the cuteness…


Hubby and I then went out to have a yummy dinner while Nana and Grampa babysat the little people.



Best Birthday Ever!!!

Day 24: Toddler!

Madison is 18 months old…crazy to believe she’s already a toddler!


She had a great visit this morning with both sets of her Grandparents and Auntie Em & Uncle George. We celebrated my upcoming birthday and were able to show everyone Madi’s new walker. She loved practising her walking and crawling with everyone and eating a yummy breakfast.





She then spent the afternoon shopping with Daddy! Madi loves saying hi to everyone she sees and people watching…much like her mom haha. She went looking for a summer bike to help give her legs another way to exercise, visited the pet store to get Carter food and say hello to the birds and a grocery shop.




Madi has been extremely tight lately. When James lifted her up to sit on his shoulders to look at the birds we couldn’t get her legs apart to go around his head. When changing her it’s quite similar too. It’s very hard to get her legs to move the right way to change her bum or get her dressed. I’ve heard rumor of good “yoga stretches” for people with CP to give a deep long stretch so this is next on my list of things to look into. We still do our regular daily stretches but lately don’t seem as effective. To be continued…

Day 23: Family Time

Today Madison enjoyed a day of no appointments or physio. We focused on visiting with family and playing at the house and didn’t stretch or do any of her at home program. It’s nice to have a low key day but we still feel guilty not squeezing in a quick stretch or exercise. Any hooo. ..

She visited this morning with one of her Great Grandmas (lucky girl has 3) and Great Aunt.


Madi then supported her Dad’s team tonight at a curling fundraiser at East York Curling Club. She banged on the window and tried to get her Dad’s attention the whole time it was really cute! It was nice for her to visit with our family and friends and to support such a great cause!

More information of the event can be found at

Thanks to James’ team mates George, Brad and Ryan for participating.


Day 22: Speech!

Today Madison had a nice visit with her Great Aunts Suzanne and Janine at her Great Grandmas house. Madison is so lucky to have so much love and support!

Madison also enjoyed using her new chair. It’s a tester from Bloorview that was designed for kids with CP. Madison is currently using it to sit at 90 degrees to look at her books or play with puzzles using her stool. We are experimenting with it for her to practice her transitions from sitting to crawling. So far so good.



We also had great news today! Madison is no longer on the wait list for speech at Grandview! She is being seen on Tuesday (my birthday) for her speech and language assessment. They asked us to put together a list of all words she has said to date…here they are…












Sign for more

Bye bye





Shakes head no





Our awsome day ended with cuddles from this cutie!



Day 21: March Break Fun!


Madison had another appointment at Grandview this morning. She met with Dr. MacDonald who is her Developmental Pediatrician. We had not seen Dr. MacDonald since she gave us Madison’s diagnosis in October. She was happy to see all of Madi’s progress. She is retiring in a month so we met to get our ducks in a row. Hearing and new development doctor booked, vision screening in the fall, CP specialist from out west booked, speech assessment coming up and paperwork filled out for disability tax credit.

This is Madison trying to escape to play with the door.


We then headed to Nana ‘ s for a nap and some lunch. Madison was spoiled with her favourite sandwich- egg salad and she had jello and cookies. She loves playing with magnets and pictures on the fridge. It’s nice to be on March break and to be able to visit for lunch.

After Nana ‘ s we went to The Village for some exercise and stretching. Madison loves basketballs! She loves chasing them and watching people play on the court.



Next up…swimming!


Swimming continues to be so important for Madison. She did a great job today kicking her legs and going underwater. The pool was quiet so we were able to stay for a while and enjoy all the space. Today we started to work on getting out of the pool. I want her to learn how to use the rails on the ramp to walk sideways to get out of the pool independently. She did a pretty good job for her first try at it. We finished off in the hot pool doing our daily stretches. Her feet were very flexible which I think is from her consistent use of her AFO’S now that she has them.

She passed out in the car on the way home…great day! Now if only I could win the lottery and not have to work – every day would be like a March Break day!