Yesterday and today, Archie asked me to do ABR on him. Of course I did, straight away, but kept it simple- ball rolling on his back and egg rolling on his back and heels. This is a dream come true for me, because my greatest obstacle has been that he has been unwilling to lie still for me. My times were not long- perhaps half an hour at the most- but I think his growing awareness of being frustrated by legs which don’t work properly is going to motivate him to lie still for me.
It’s now September 2013 and Archie has turned 4 and we have started ABR again. Our days are structured so that we have 3 hours of uninterrupted time each afternoon for ABR. Yesterday we did 1.5 hrs, and today only about 1 hour. The problem is that Archie doesn’t want to lie still…. but when he starts feeling the benefits I am sure that will change. As he is now 4 he can understand why it’s so important. Perserverence will be the key.
These pairs of photos are orignally from the assessment report given to me by Sarah and Jensen who are ABR trainers from ABR Singapore, at www.miraclekidz.com. I then prepared the photos for a magazine article for the NZ Cerebral Palsy Society http://www.cpsoc.org.nz/, and was given editing help with the technical aspects and arrows drawn onto the photos, from Leonid Blyum.
So many thanks.
It’s time I wrote about our second ABR trip. The highlight was the assessment report given to me about Archie’s progress. Sarah and Jensen took a second set of photos of Archie and then selected particular ones to compare his structure in September to has structure back in January…
January 2012 – Note the depression of his upper back- due to compressional weakness and his inability to extend the leg in his hip in creeping.
September 2012 – Note his stronger looking back. The depression is not there. Most importantly for his function, his hip extension has improved significantly, translating into a much larger step and improved ease of creeping. Please note that this significant improvement of hip mobility occurred spontaneously and automatically, without me doing any forceful stretching. Before I found ABR, I did briefly try stretching Archie’s legs and can confirm that it was painful to him and I regarded it as unsuccessful.
It is very exciting to see structural changes like this. I am so grateful to ABR as it makes our hope real – not just imagined, no longer ‘a mother in denial’. Very validating at so many levels.
I’ll upload some more pairs of photos soon.
It is the small hours and we’re packed and in a few minutes we will soon get the children up to go to the airport to fly to Sydney for our second session of ABR, with Sarah and Jensen.
This will be Archie’s first assessment, comparing his current structure and function to that of January 2012, to see whether or not our efforts have made a difference. That will be interesting. Though I have to admit that once again I have been distracted by other events in my life and for the last 6 weeks I have not put in the hours I should have been doing. So, the assessment will be a reflection of not only what ABR I have done, but also of what I haven’t done. There are certain things in this world which just rank up very high in the priorities list, right up with ABR- and if I fail to attend to them then the consequences can be just as far reaching as failing to do ABR. Life presents us with lots of interesting decisions to make! One of the reasons we named Archer “Archer” is because an Archer must discern, right from wrong, good from bad, important from unimportant, relevant from irrelevant, light from dark,… the task of discerning is something we must all do, constantly, in our lives. I hope for Archie’s sake that I have been making the right choices in attending to these other matters, rather than ABR.
I finally finished my report last week and sent it to the Cerebral Palsy Society of New Zealand. I’ve just received the go-ahead from the General Manager, Mr Harvey Brunt, to release it as it is into the public domain. Click to view: Report for Cerebral Palsy Society of New Zealand on ABR (PS I’ve noticed some problems with the links to Youtube sites- they do not open from the pdf file. I’ll try to fix this but in the meantime, please copy and paste or manually type in the website addresses to get them to work.)
Here also is the Powerpoint presentation of Archer’s assessment Archer Frankish Assessment Report Jan 2012 which is referenced in the report. Make sure you view it in slide show so that you can see and appreciate the information delivered in the cycled animations.
‘Single hand compression’ is the technique I learnt to do on Archer’s chest. I have only just started doing them, after all this time. Why has it taken me so long? I didn’t think Archie would lie stil for me on his back… and I also lacked confidence, and found the tower of towels somewhat daunting… all these silly excuses… At the same time I had been watching and re-watching the videos I had made of Jensen during training in Sydney, as he demonstrated the technique and talked it through. , and then one day about 3 weeks ago I said to Archie, “It’s time we started doing the single hand compressions”. I showed him a photo of himself lying on his back, with Jensen doing them on his chest, while he watched a DVD. I said, ‘do you remember this?’ And Archie nodded. So, then I watched the demonstration video again, on another computer, while Archie watched his own DVD player. I positioned Archie at the edge of a foam mattress on the floor so that he could look away from me and at his DVD player. I set up my stool right in close to Archie. I set up the towels, including towels containing the foam, and placed the final foam piece on top, and then positioned myself on the stool next to and over Archie, with my right arm and hand in a comfortable position so that I could do the compressions on his chest. Point touch, surface touch, volume touch,… pause, 1 thousand, 2 thousand,… etc, .. 10 thousand. Then decompression… I looked at Archie and said, ‘Did you feel that?’ He said, ‘yes’. So I carried on. And it all went beautifully and easily and Archie happily watched his DVD. Then he got bored of the DVD so I changed to Youtube videos and he (and I to some extent) watched videos about Antarctica, the solar system and planets, water, monster trucks, and Barbapapa. All that time, I was continuing doing single hand compressions. It was strangely all so easy. I wondered what had taken me so long. But then I stopped wondering that and started feeling so glad that we had finally success!
Here’s a photo.
Tonight we have good friends staying and they haven’t seen Archie for about 2 months. They both were adamant that they could see big improvements in him. This is very excting to hear. I keep wondering of course if the changes I think I’m seeing are my imagination or not… they said that he is running behind his trucks much more vigorously. As we went upstairs to bed, Archie went ahead of me. He actually walked up the stairs, holding onto a rail with his right hand, and his left hand was not holding anything. I watched how he was using his body, carefully, to see if he was pulling himself with his arm, or really using his legs to push and propell his bodyweight upwards. It seemed to me that he really was using his legs. I’ll have to make a video of it.
In the meantime, here is a recent.
I have just watched the other two videos which I uploaded 8-9 months ago, and the changes are obvious even to me. Wow. I want to jump on the roof and say, “Everyone, look, ABR really does work!” It is such a thrill do be a part of something so pioneering. The feeling of progress in the face of conventional thinking which says that progress is not possible (or shall I quote someone: “If he gets better then he didn’t have cerebral palsy”) is just extraordinary. Here I am tapping away at my laptop very late at night, in relative isolation but connected to my “ABR Family” and feeling so happy. I want to once again acknoweldge Phil Dzialo who very early on in this blog wrote to me,
“From my years in ABR with my son, I see tremendous potential for normalization of structure and function in this video…will be anxious to see your progress over time.”
Those words have echoed in my ears every day since then, and they have buoyed me with hope. His words prevented me from sinking down into the conventional view of cerebral palsy which gives no hope for real rehabiliation. They also have given and continue to give me the confidence to repeatedly say things to Archie like, ‘one day when we have done loads of ABR and your legs are working, then you’ll be able to…’. Some people might accuse me of building up false hopes. But they don’t see how imprisoned and limited they are by their own thinking and their own expectations. We just have to keep on keeping on. Thank you Phil for those precious, precious words. I hope that one day this blog will simply speak for itself, through all the videos, showing his progress, from having cerebral palsy to full rehabilitation. Gosh, what a journey.