If I were to meet the mother of a child who was injured during birth and she told me she wasn’t getting her child therapies I would strongly encourage her to get her child into professional therapies by the time he or she was 1 year old. I don’t think I will ever meet this mother, thankfully, since doctors strongly encourage parents of injured children to get them into needed therapies. The sooner the better for children like Daniel who have been injured by the reckless administration of Pitocin, and their families.
It takes a lot to get your child what he or she needs. First you have to go through the red tape of doctors and paperwork and insurance. You have to find the right place for your child and if you are in Orlando or the surrounding area, the right place most likely isn’t taking on new patients or something like that. That’s been my experience. But once you get through all of that and bring your child in for his or her first session, things seem to start feeling less overwhelming and more productive. You feel thankful that there are indeed professionals who can look at your child and see what you did not know how to put into words. They can pinpoint exactly where your child’s body is holding back and begin working with your child to teach them to overcome it. It just does not come natural for most parents (me for instance) to know how to help their child learn to walk or pick something up or form words when it comes to the effects of Cerebral Palsy.
When Daniel was a year old, I took him to therapy sessions every week for Speech, Occupational, and Physical Therapy. Shortly after Daniel started therapies, my husband had to leave and work out of state for the summer. I had to develop some new muscles that summer along with Daniel. Muscles built on absolute commitment that Daniel was not going to be trapped in his body. I just knew to keep following my hearts desire for Daniel. I believe that with hard work and faith in a God that knows each one of our names and has designed a plan for happiness, miraculous results will follow, and I have experienced them. You can’t pay for the kind of miracles that we wanted for Daniel but you can pray for them and work for them.
I knew that if I showed up on time to a therapy appointment, something great would come of it. I had 2 other small children (still do, but not as small now) and we were financially ruined. Sheer commitment and determination were my oxygen and luckily the Lord sent me a friend that just so happened to need help with babysitting her child. Was it just coincidence that the very summer my husband could not be there to watch the kids this friend’s schedule coincided just enough that I could watch her child in the morning and at the very time I needed someone to watch mine, she was able to get back to my place to let me leave for sessions with Daniel? Just one of many examples of Heavenly Father helping 2 moms meet 2 very important needs for their families. Stephanie, you know who you are and you are one of those moms who has suffered loss but through that loss your faith developed an even greater commitment and strength towards your family.
“Therapies help the body stay loose, flexible, and moveable. Now Daniel gallops around, crookedly, but happily.”
Speech Therapy encouraged Daniel to talk when his mouth muscles didn’t want to. The therapist taught me what exercises to do on Daniel’s mouth to warm them up and condition them so they weren’t so resistant if he wanted to mimic a word. She taught him sign language so he could use gestures to communicate which also encouraged his desire to communicate even more. She played games that required him to communicate in order to get a toy to work and other activities that promoted the desire and ability to speak and be understood.
Occupational Therapy literally taught Daniel how to use his rigid hands and body to manipulate objects as well as communicate effectively if he needed help. Still Daniel would literally bang his head against a wall when he just couldn’t take the frustration that his body would give him when his mind knew how simple his desire was. He might head bang today if we weren’t there supporting him in the unique ways he needs because no matter how much therapy, his body will always have to work 10 times harder to overcome the simplest things.
Physical Therapy helped Daniel consciously learn how to move his body so he could eventually walk. Cerebral Palsy makes the body want to curl up and not move. Therapies help the body stay loose, flexible, and moveable. Now Daniel gallops around, crookedly, but happily.
I can’t ever stress enough how integral it is to get a child into therapies early on for the parents sake too. During these therapies, you can learn a lot from the therapists about your child’s needs and how to meet them. They will be the most important source of support after a child gets injured, even more than other family members since they will give you and your child actual skills with confidence naturally following to move forward in ways that solve difficulties you won’t even see coming. It will be your full-time job. It will feel like baby steps most days but progress is the key and is so important.
As your baby grows during therapies he or she won’t develop permanent movements that work against their body’s ability to do something effectively and will prevent muscle atrophy, injury, and other stuff that will be 10 times harder to overcome. Can you imagine if we had waited until Daniel was 2 or 3 to start therapies? He’s a big boy! Mine and Brian’s back have gone out many-a-time. Just this past November and December Brian’s back was out a few times… he walked around like a bent over elderly man for days. His ability to bring in a healthy income requires physical health and stamina. He has been visiting the chiropractor several times a week with Daniel. Something they enjoy doing as ‘daddy time’.
I don’t know how to put into words all the little positive nuances that therapies brought to Daniel’s daily life, each progression allowed him to make another that could only follow the last. The time, work, and focus professionals have given in his first years of life after his tragic birth injury are responsible for his abilities today. However, Daniel will always be working to keep up with his body’s growing demands.
Support – Going away from a session with actual skills you and your child can apply immediately for better quality of life.
Knowledge – You will recognize more accurately where your child struggles and know what to do to help him or her so worry, stress, fear, anxiety, hopelessness are abated and replaced by the ability to parent your child according to their extra special needs.
Skills – You and your child will enjoy the learning process that will allow your child to progress and overcome so many problems and prevent future problems.
Progress – You and your child will feel joy and hope as you watch your child progress and be happier and healthier.
I learn so much when I take Daniel to a therapy session, or to a good doctor.
Other therapies that help Daniel tremendously are Hippotherapy and we are anxiously working towards getting him Aqua Therapy which will work muscles in his body that he otherwise can’t use due the weakness Cerebral Palsy creates. I am so hopeful for Daniel. He is such a warrior with a pure and meek heart.
Here are a few exercises that I have Daniel do at home along with 3 chiropractic sessions per week as prevention for scoliosis.
Pilates Pulling The Straps & Rolling Like A Ball
I am not a medical professional. I do not recommend doing these without clearance from a medical professional or physical therapist. Every Child is affected by Cerebral Palsy differently. Not every exercise is suitable for everybody.
plank position, feet stay together pressing on mat
arms come around to the back
“Pulling the Straps”
back down to plank position
pulling the straps again with arms to side
“put your feet down on the mat Daniel”
plank position, hands under shoulders
“look forward Daniel, and push all the way up”
rolling like a ball
point toes, tuck head in, balance on coccyx bone, and roll like a ball to shoulders, not neck, and try to come back up!
“I know it’s fun but try to keep your head tucked in Daniel”
“back up and again!”
“all by yourself!”
“Good work sweetie boy!”
Scoliosis will occur because Daniel’s muscles are too weak from the effects of being deprived of oxygen during his birth, to support his ever growing spine… believe me he is probably going to be 6’6″ especially since I feed him these super nutrients. I am excited about getting Daniel this new product from them: