Yussuf's new progress (September 08)
Dear friends,

Peace be with all of you.

It is this time of the year again that I write an update about my baby Yussuf to show you his latest progress. Thanks to God, to your continuous prayers and your continuous financial support, Yussuf is steadily progressing towards his physical independence.

For the last 6 months, Yussuf learned how to control his body more and more and he was able to do some really advanced CME physiotherapy exercises that were impossible to do before. I will show you below only one video of his motor progress so that you can see one of the latest things that Yussuf learned, but i will talk more in this update about another kind of progress that Yussuf had.

The big progress that was not expected at all from the physiotherapy and that is considered a bonus and an indirect result of the physiotherapy is related to Yussufs other special needs:
(Intellectual progress, feeding progress and visual progress).

Before talking about the details of this progress, I would like to point out that after watching some of the videos below, some of you might not understand how important is this progress, as we tend to consider all the blessings that God gave us to be automatic and we take it all for granted. But , believe me, in the world of children with special needs, this is considered as huge and as a miracle !

However, you will all see that Yussuf still has a long way ahead of him to learn how to be independent as much as possible, whether physically or intellectually. Thanks to God, I was able to make him get to where he is now with your continuous prayers and your continuous financial support.

So I urge all of you to please remember Yussuf in your prayers, especially in this blessed month and I urge all of you, after watching the videos below and after seeing Yussufs continuous steady progress to continue your financial support to keep the progress coming.

I am planning another 6 months of intensive CME physiotherapy and I really need your financial support. Please remember that any contribution counts, no matter how small you might think it is.

For more info on how you can contribute, please contact me Oula (Yussuf's mom) at oulab@hotmail.com or visit: http://www.yussuf.org/index.cfm?p=donate

Summary of Yussufs progress:

1).Yussufs motor progress:

In the last update I have sent 6 months ago, there was a video of Yussuf walking while i was holding him by one hand, high on his one arm:

Video of before (6 months ago):

http://www.yussuf.org/index.cfm?p=gallery&g=videos&v=24

Now, Yussuf is starting to walk for short distances while he is held by one hand, but this time held below his elbow. That is considered as a big difference, because it is one joint down, which requires Yussuf to have more control over his body, which he does now, comparing to 6 months ago:

Video of after (now):
http://www.yussuf.org/index.cfm?p=gallery&g=videos&v=32

2).Yussufs intellectual progress:

I always felt Yussuf to be intelligent. I knew he remembered the songs I sang for him and he anticipated some of my actions, but the speech therapist always asked me if he understood a specific word. My answer was always NO. Until these last 6 months when he had the intensive physiotherapy program.

Watch this video to see the first sign he gave me that showed me he really understood what I was saying. Now the other big surprise he gave me in this video is that not only he understood arabic (the only language I personally use with him), but he also picked up english from his surrounding and he is also bilingual:

Video of Yussuf giving me his hands and legs upon my request:
http://www.yussuf.org/index.cfm?p=gallery&g=videos&v=30

Here is another video that shows Yussuf responding to my request for him to roll (in arabic) and that shows that his reaction to my words only means that he understands exactly what I am telling him:

Video of Yussuf rolling upon my request:
http://www.yussuf.org/index.cfm?p=gallery&g=videos&v=31

The other request Yussuf can respond to as well is when I ask him to open his mouth and he would struggle to open it. I didnt take a video of this yet, but hopefully soon:

Yussuf can open his mouth upon my request.

The list of words that Yussuf understands now is very long. Below are the words I can remember now. But comparing to 6 months ago when the list was totally empty, I am very impressed on how CME physiotherapy can stimulate the total brain wires and not only the motor control wires of the brain.

List of words Yussuf can now understand: ball, kiss, dad, nose, hand, leg, socks, shoes, ears, hair, poopoo, diaper, glasses&

I am sure now that Yussuf understands way more than what we know. The problem is his inability to communicate to us what he understands, due to his oral speech inability and to the difficulty he has to move and control his body.

3).Feeding progress:

Yussuf stopped vomiting:

One of Yussufs biggest feeding problems was the continuous vomiting upon every meal. After this last intensive therapy program, he totally stopped vomiting and even the doctors couldnt believe how such a big problem just stopped like that one day. I used to feel very lucky if he vomited only once per day and not more. So, for me, it is really a miracle that he stopped vomiting!

Yussuf can eat now mashed banana and boiled egg:

· The result of this big progress was yussufs ability to take more textured food that didnt need to be pureed totally.

· He learned to eat a mashed banana texture, which was impossible before

· He learned to eat a boiled egg cut into very tiny pieces, which was also impossible for him before.

Yussuf can take a thickened milk in the bottle:

· He learned to drink from a bottle an almost liquidy texture of milk, which helped decrease his G tube intake overnight to half and which gave me hope he can get rid of his G tube one day.

4).Visual Progress:

Doctor said his vision improved:

Yussufs latest visit with the optometrist was very positive and confirmed to me what I have already noticed on my own and that Yussufs vision has improved since his last visit to the doctor 6 months ago.

We know that Yussuf has Cortical Visual Impairment and thank God, his vision went from almost zero when he was born to some kind of vision as time passes. It is very difficult though to tell how much he can really see, because of his inability to communicate to us what he can see.

He can respond to my smile without any sounds used:

My key to test Yussufs vision is how fast he can respond to my smile, if i smile to him without making any sound. 6 months ago, he would only respond to me with a smile rarely if he was visually active and in some rare moments of concentration.

Now, after the intensive physiotherapy program he had gone through in the last 6 months, Yussuf respond to my smile almost right away when i smile to him, which proved to me that his vision definitly improved a lot.