Mid October Mom, Alistair, Francis and I headed East to Edmonton for some trial ABM therapy. Its something that I've been looking into for some time. Actually, I've always had it in the back of my mind that I would like to try some alternative therapies with Alistair but wanted to make sure it was something that fit with my way of thinking as well as making sure it wasn't going to break the bank....Also I feel there is a lot out there to take advantage of the bleeding heart parent and wanted to make sure we also didn't go down that path.
Anyhow, believe it or not I first heard about ABM therapy on Facebook. I'm part of several different forums on facebook where parents with higher needs kidlets communicate about there various concerns, findings, and learning curves etc... So ABM has been a hot topic lately and listening to parents testimonials on the therapy and my own research I felt it was something to pursue for Alistair.
Grandma Hedges came along which was fabulous for so many reasons but of course Francis thought it was wonderful that she could get all the hugs she required/requested
.It didn't take much to keep her entertained......well until she realized if she squawked she'd get lovin!
Alistair of course just loves the fact that Grandma gets down to his level and enjoys just being with him.
So this is Carla our ABM practitioner from Sherwood Park! For 5 days at 930am & 330pm Alistair got therapy. So what is ABM therapy you ask? It really is a non aggressive therapy for sure! Which I like. Basically they are working on making "new connections" in the brain rather than fixing the brain. So its based on the whole belief of neuroplasticity i.e. that the brain is plastic and can learn new things. They do this by working on the pelvis, ribs, spine and sternum. When I say working its really subtle. From my perspective it looks like they are massaging these areas to bring attention to them. But they are obviously doing more than massage.
There is a definite process to it all but at the same time they work with where the kid is at. So for my son I was worried he'd be all overstimmed and stressed. I was just amazed at how well he did. He had a few moments but then Carla would back off and give him some time to take it in. However, as the lessons went on I found Alistair more Carla and actually really enjoying himself with lots of animation in his face. It was neat to see. He loved Carla! So as I said they work with where the kid is at so if he wanted to be on his tummy then she worked there. She definitely had a plan but if Alistair didn't want to go with it then a different route was taken. Alistair was extremely exhausted after each session which floored me even though I was told he would be. We'd drive back to my brother George's downtown Edmonton and sometimes we couldn't get there quick enough before he'd crash. I've never seen him sleep so soundly.
There were a few key things we were to do with him one of the big ones was NOT to praise him when he did something new. Sounds odd right. Well it isn't when you hear her reasoning. When you praise the kid you take his focus off of what he's doing and during that period of time he should be solely thinking about what he has just done....why, how, what, when, where....this allows the kid to make the connections in his brain. Another big one is that the kid needs to be happy or positive as when they are irritable or angry there is no point in working with them as nothing will be learnt. Hence the fact Carla really worked with where he wanted to be. Carla made no promises, which I liked right from the start. "Each kid is different in what they take from the lessons" However, right after the first lesson Mom and I saw a lot more eye contact and for the first time ever I saw him watching t.v. He was actually looking at the screen and scanning over it. Now if any of you have been around Alistair you know he can get this vacant looking into space look. Well this and a lack of eye contact was quite common lately. Since the ABM I notice a ton more eye contact and general awareness. Mom and I went in skeptical yet open to the whole idea so when we started seeing changes we'd look at each other and go "really?!??!"
Carla did say the most common thing they see initially is an increase in awareness and that was a for definite for us. So from our set of lessons we've seen more awareness, more eye contact and he has figured out his sitting bones and was sitting up just three days after therapy. It isn't perfect and he doesn't last forever BUT he's doing it! Before this therapy it was really common for me to have him sitting up and then he'd push his butt forward to get himself in a horizontal position. Now he actually sits and leans forward on a table to play. Again he'll push back but its different and not as much. Anyhow I'm hooked. I just wish I could have Carla a little closer.
I am looking into bringing her here to Prince George in January which she is willing to do, but I need to find three more families willing to commit. So if you're someone that is interested let me know! Her rates are reasonable. The other thing I appreciated about Carla...well so much..but she too has a young daughter who has higher needs so she understands what parents like ourselves are going through as she too has taken the journey. I think it makes a difference.
Well I'm going to post this...I have a bunch more to post but because so much has gone on I'm going to break it up over several blogs :D Talk to you SOON!