Steady Progress

Mattie’s one year well visit was this week. Mattie is now 17 pounds 13 ounces! She is in the 75% percentile for height and 5% for weight. She is really tall but not very big. We went through her history since our last pedi appt and then through her development. Dr. B places her around 6 months old and around 4-5 months gross motor. We are going to go back in 6 weeks for a developmental and weight check up and a shot (we are on an alternative vaccine schedule).  I was not happy with her weight gain, but Dr. B thinks she is still making steady progress. He wants to see her in the 25% range by her 2nd birthday.

We go to Gainesville once a month for an alternative physical therapy called Anat Baniel Method or ABM. It is based on neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to reorganize itself and gain new skills by forming new neural connections. With help, the brain can, and does, rewire itself.

It is hard in my own words to explain ABM so here’s an excerpt out of Anat’s book “Kids Beyond Limits,” you can download a free sample of her book here.

“The process I describe in this book is a significant departure from traditional systems of teaching, therapy, and medical intervention. For instance, many traditional systems tackle the child’s special needs by attempting to force the child to conform to a standardized model or to otherwise try to have her do what she “should” be doing to keep pace with her age group or developmental stage. Rather than imposing what the child is not yet able to do on her own, we first look at her present abilities and needs and then seek ways to provide whatever information her brain needs to progress to her own, unique next ability…
For the child to change and grow we need to communicate with her brain; neither the problem nor the solution is to be found in the muscles. The muscles are doing what the brain tells them to do. The mind— that part of us that forms speech, solves math problems, and thinks— is also organized by the brain. If the leg doesn’t move it’s because the brain hasn’t figured out how to do it; the brain isn’t telling it to move because it doesn’t yet have the information it requires to be able to form the necessary pattern that would bring about the desired movement…The Anat Baniel Method is a proven way of connecting and communicating with the brains of children with special needs to form patterns of movement, thought, and feeling by taking advantage of the children’s innate abilities. Through employing these methods we provide experiences that lead children to discover themselves, to learn the next thing they are able to learn, regardless of how large or small, simple or complex it might seem. Our goal is always for children to awaken to themselves anddevelop their underlying fundamental ability to learn and grow. They experience their bodies in new ways, moving in ways they were not previously able to do; they learn to feel what is going on inside them and around them. They wake up to themselves…”

Our normal practitioner was going to be out of town for our April visit, so I decided to contact another practitioner that I heard was in training. This practitioner is based out of Sarasota, where my sister lives. If all works out, this could be a big deal. It would cut the cost of driving time, gas, and hotel rooms plus it would give us an opportunity to see my sister and her kids more often! It turns out that the practitioner in Sarasota became certified April 1st and would be seeing kiddos FOR FREE for the month of April. I was soooo excited to hear the words FREE! So we booked out first 2 sessions and went this past Saturday. Mattie did really well with her. I felt as though Mattie made some connections. We did not have to have any “mommy breaks” and there was hardly any fussing or crying! The great news is that she comes up to St. Pete on Fridays as well. That is only a 30 minute drive for us!! So now we have some options and decisions to make. We are hoping to go to 2 sessions at the end of April and this time I will have Jim come with me so he can meet her and see for himself how Mattie responds. It is awesome that we will have a practitioner so close to us but at the same time the cost is $50 a session. Why does it seem that the things that help Mattie are never covered??? Decisions, decisions…

Last week I started looking into Aquatic Therapy again for Mattie. A few moms that I have “met” along the way have noticed improvements with their kids when they incorporate water therapy. I have had Aquatic Therapy on our list of alternative therapies and programs to try but have not really looked more into it for two reasons; the only place near us that offers this to kids is All Children’s Hospital (a 45-60 minute drive) and since we are selling our house, which has a pool, I did not think we would be able to continue this type of therapy on our own. Well it turns out that someone is watching over our family because the sale of our house fell through at the last minute so we know we will still be in our house for a few more months AND (this is big) our OT, Ms. L, is getting certified in Aquatic Therapy in a few weeks!!! Not only will Mattie be able to take part in this therapy but will be able to do it at our house with one of our favorite therapists!! Awesome!!!

These are some key benefits of Aquatic Therapy:

  • Improves muscle tone, flexibility, and strength
  • Improves head & trunk control
  • Improves blood supply to muscles
  • Improves respiratory rate and circulation
  • Improves symmetry, strength endurance, and joint mobility
  • Increased circulation, range of motion, balance, and coordination
  • Increased attention span & sensory motor integration

Sign us up 🙂

Mattie trying out her new chair!

2 thoughts on “Steady Progress

  1. Hey Jess, very interesting to teach the brain a new way to do things! Was just wondering if you have thought about music as a therapy–for speech?

    • We have! It is something that we are going to start in the next few months. The type we are going to do use headphones so they like to wait until 16-18 months old to start! Thanks Lorrie for the suggestion!

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