First ABM therapy session

So that was cool. An all day affair, but I think worth it. This might be a boring-ish post for most but I want to get my notes down tonight before it all falls through my sieve-like brain.

The ABM practitioner hung out with A on yoga mats (and a very busy and colourful beach towel which A was quite into looking at) on the floor of her peaceful townhouse. She moved him in different ways, pressed on different spots, encouraged his wonderful brain to pay attention to all the new things a body, his body, can do. He was engaged most of the time, sweet, and happy. She thinks he is quite clever. Her thoughts were that his brain needs to get better acquainted with his feet (she actually said “once he finds his feet, I think he’ll start talking”) and he also needs to learn how to round his spine. Both of these things made sense to me. A likes to extend his body often (arching back, straitening legs) for the sensory input it gives him. In doing this, maybe he’s confused his brain into thinking he can’t go the other way and round himself, limiting the way he’s able to move. He does lie with his knees up sometimes, but what she worked on today went beyond that, moving his pelvis forward and up (“pelvic clock”) with minuscule amounts of force. His feet, yes, I would agree he hasn’t figured out how to ground himself downward. He doesn’t yet get into standing on his own, and when we put him into standing he’s often floppy and goofy about it, definitely not anchoring himself into the ground. So she did lots of work putting his feet flat and stomping them down on the floor, rubbing them on things, massaging, etc.

All kinds of other things too. Hips, shoulders, ribs, while being quiet, peaceful, cheerful, fun. Like I how I felt when reading Kids Beyond Limits, it all made sense to me. She also seems into showing me stuff that I can replicate at home which is super great. We’ll see if anything interesting comes of it! The thought of an intensive (2 sessions/day for 5 days in a row) is… draining, but we’ll figure it out. I’d like to try at least one intensive in the near future to find out if it will help him. I came away thinking “that was quite helpful” which is in itself a success.

Was nice to have hubs around to wrangle E, who is fully into everything now-a-days. I hope he won’t be too distracting when we go just the three of us. Though therapists generally seem to like having E around as he’s exemplar to typical movement and great for ideas.

Expectations

Having a rare beer, listening to the crickets through the open window as night falls. Today was warm and beautiful. The lawn got mowed, some nursery flowers planted, spinach and lettuce weeded.

A wore his Christmas socks today. I didn’t notice myself until he was shoeless at the doctor’s office, receiving compliments and winks on his cute reindeer & Christmas light adorned toes. It was charming. I brought him in to double check that the cold he’s fighting isn’t actually the ear infection returned. He had a fever the other night, so we were worried. And since A didn’t communicate pain last time, we wanted to make sure he was okay. His ears are fine though, all is well.

So tomorrow we are headed to A’s first ABM session. Two, actually, one in the late morning and one early afternoon. I’ve been talking about Anat Baniel’s book Kids Beyond Limits recently as it’s resonated with me (my mom’s reading it now too, which is awesome, and I’ll likely nudge hubs into reading it as well). The method described isn’t actually that revolutionary or unusual – it’s some basic stuff that makes sense: reminders on how to be with a child so that the brain will learn and form new neurological connections. Slowness, subtlety, open-mindedness, and so on… up my alley.

I was explaining to mom today on the phone that though I’m excited for A to try this new therapy, I’m not holding my breath, anticipating miraculous change. As a parent of a special needs kid, my expectations are seasoned, callused, weathered. The elasticity of my mood has lessened. I’m as stable as a work ox, most days, and nothing can really sway me into thinking “maybe THIS will be the thing to change everything!”… not anymore.

To help him, though… Well help is such a big, incredible word. I’m constantly scouting for any assistance that could inspire A to progress, as far as he is able, to reach his own abilities. There is no fixing – that is such a loaded and ugly idea – but there is support, guidance, encouragement, and love. These things can assuredly fuel positive growth.

A therapy that embraces these same goals and ideals is something worth trying, I think. We’ll find the cash, the time, the effort and maybe, possibly maybe, it will be the thing that resonates with our little guy.The therapist is new to this, sounds like, in that she’s newly taking clients after completing the training. The training, however, was three years, and she worked with many kids in that time. Will report back on how it went. Hubs is off work tomorrow so our first trip to ABM therapy will be a whole family affair.