She has not broken her arm. She is training her brain to use her right arm.
Sometime while Elie was being developed inside her birth mother, she had a stroke. This stroke weakened the right side of her body. Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy. That is the label that we were given this past fall. Her right side is significantly smaller and shorter than the left. Gross and Fine Motor skills are challenging. However this girl is a fighter. What she has learned to do using only her left hand is amazing. Ever try to close and snap your jeans using only one hand?
When we first met last summer, Elie rarely used her right hand. She had grown so used to just using the left one that her brain seldom remembered she even had another hand. We started encouraging her to try to use her right hand throughout the day. "Use both hands" was a phrase said over and over all day long. Many struggles, tears, and frustration have gone into getting that right hand involved.
Her progress over the past seven months is remarkable. Our days seems so long sometimes that I can lose sight of just what a short time period she has actually been home. But when I stop and really think about all that she has accomplished I stand in awe. This girl is going to fly.
So what's with the cast? The cast is our next stage of therapy. It is called Contraint-Induced Movement Therapy or CIMT. The basic idea is you restrict the non-affected side to improve the affected side. Over time it is supposed to help rebuild the brain connections for the use of that side of the body, improve range of motion and overall function. Today was trial number one. 15 minutes of "cast time". By about 10 minutes she started getting tired. Thankfully the one thing to our advantage is she craves one on one time which she gets with this therapy.
We will work towards wearing it all day . And then this summer she will be attending a camp with other children to do CIMT together through our therapy center.
So if you see her around with her cast. Don't worry. Nothing is broken. In fact it is quite the opposite.