Every Friday when I pick Penny up from school, she has stickers on her back. I ask her about them. And she tells me, "I did a great job with Miss Sharon, Mom!" Miss Sharon is her physical therapist. So this past Friday when I asked, she was a little more specific: "I did awesome jumping, Mom!"
Early on in her life, we adjusted our expectations for what Penny would be able to do physically and for when she would be able to do it. I stopped looking at developmental charts. Every six months or so, she would receive an evaluation, and I would hear the same news: "She has a significant gross motor delay." It was usually close to 50%.
It didn't bother me to hear this from her therapists. It just made her accomplishments all the more significant. It made me all the more proud of her when she was able to take the next step, do the next thing.
Penny learned to jump in September. And that ability to get both feet off the floor simultaneously led into six months of gross motor growth. So perhaps I shouldn't have been shocked when we met with Miss Sharon last week and she said, "I'm not sure how much longer Penny will be eligible for PT."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, she's doing so well, and she's made such strides, I'm not sure she'll have enough of a delay to receive therapy anymore."
When we got to the playground later that day, I watched Penny with new eyes. Scampering up a ladder. Sliding down the slide. Jumping. Balancing. Running. As she finished one of her playground feats, she beamed at me and said, "I can do it!"
Now, whether Miss Sharon is right in her assessment, I don't know. It doesn't really matter to me whether Penny places out of therapy or not. What matters to me is that she has confidence in her ability to achieve the next thing. I can only imagine what a difference it will make throughout her life if she believes that she can do it. And if we believe it too.