Friday, March 11, 2011

New Ideas

This past weekend I had the opportunity to go to a conference about an alternative therapy for Lewis. I decided to go, hoping to get some pointers that I could incorporate into what we're already doing with Lewis. I left questioning everything I thought I knew about physical therapy.

The conference was on the Anat Baniel Method of Feldenkrais therapy. Basically, Anat focuses on the brain and its ability to learn. I could go on for hours about how the therapy works but I found this video to be helpful in understanding what it is she does. It's kind of long but I think it's worth it, if you're interested.

I've long been searching for something that focuses on training Lewis's brain. He doesn't have a muscle problem, he just doesn't have the wiring for all of his muscles. Because he doesn't explore his body the way a typical baby does, his brain doesn't get the chance to map out his body very well. A lot of conditions that kids with spina bifida are prone to develop, such as scoliosis, may be caused by the inadequate mapping of the body in the brain and pushing them to do things their body is not ready for. The ABM therapy will help Lewis to effectively and efficiently use the muscles that he has control over. We'll have to throw the development charts out the window, but that's ok with me. We haven't really worked out the logistics yet... he'll need to go to an ABM therapist who can perform movement lessons on him and can also teach me a few things I can be doing at home. It works best to do a bunch of lessons back to back and then take some time off so we're still figuring all that out, schedule-wise.

The problem is that it goes against a lot of the things we've been doing with Lewis. I think it will be easy to blend the CLC with Anat Baniel so we'll continue to attend there. Aqua-therapy will be easy to blend, so we'll keep up with that, also. Traditional PT will be a little harder... I've kind of decided that I will just treat traditional PT like going to the gym. He still needs to strengthen his muscles, so we can use it to do that. I did have to put my foot down when it comes to using the stander, though. ABM does not recommend using a stander. Lewis's PT thinks he should start using the stander right away. I've decided that he will use the stander but it doesn't make sense to push it before he can sit well independently. I don't want to put him in it before he's strong enough to handle it.

Anyway, that's the condensed version of the thinking and planning I've been doing for the past week. I really think this will pay off for Lewis, I just hope our insurance company agrees.... ugh!

I have to say, though, that my favorite part of last weekend was the car rides and lunches and chats with Katie and Kelly. When I started this journey, I never imagined that I would be walking it with such great women and friends! Spina Bifida makes me think about, wonder about, worry about, talk about, and research some pretty crazy things. Sometimes I feel like the only person in the world who thinks about these things. It's nice to talk with ladies in my position and realize, I'm definitely not in this alone.

I'll leave you with a couple videos of Lewis's new tricks:

One of Lewis's favorite new sounds

Lewis is getting pretty mobile. He can roll and army crawl and wiggle his way around but I don't think he's really figured out how to effectively use any of the above methods to get anywhere. So he just gets frustrated and ends up further away from where he wanted to be. He'll figure it out soon, I'm sure!


  1. Lauren what a great explanation! I have been trying to figure out a way to explain it to others. I also agree that it is exactly the rigt thing for Graydon right now. I'm also trying to figure out how I can go to the extensive training, and when/if I do I will vow to treat any child with SB for free bc I do believe that this will change the way we lok at therapy in the future. I too also loved our car ride chats and getting to spend time with you and Katie! I never imagined that I would get to meet such amazing friends along this journey. Thanks again for coming with!

  2. Hi, I found your blog today and enjoyed learning about Lewis. I read about how you help him sit up with the bags of wipes. It reminded me of a seat I used to use all of the time with our daughter Lily. If you want to search it online, google "Summer Infant Lean On Me Activity Bolster." I don't think the company makes it anymore. But sometimes you can find it used. I found another seat that appears to me to be almost exactly the same. Google "Caterpillar Bolster." I hope you find this helpful! I felt like it was a really comfortable place for our daughter to play, but also helped her become accustomed to sitting upright and gave her a desire to play that way outside of the chair. I LOVE how it is flat to the floor (not so high like the bumbo).


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