New York, New York

Jim:
At the end of our family vacation in Albany, we placed our son Joba on a plane with his grandmother and headed to NYC for 3 days of ABM intensive therapy sessions with Marcy. Marcy is one of the most advanced ABM practitioners we have brought Mattie to for therapy.

Jess:
We stayed 2 nights and had 5 sessions with Marcy. Marcy has come highly recommend by several other moms and of course our local ABM practitioners. Jim and I were not sure what we were in for but we knew that we had to take Mattie to see her. This trip was well beyond our means and it was only able to happen thanks to all the amazing people that have helped us on this journey.

We stayed on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I was excited to stay in this area since it was a new area to me. I loved everything about it. It was very residential. We were a block from the Fairway Market which has an entire 2nd floor dedicated to only organic food (I was in love). We were a few blocks from central park and could walk to each ABM session. Our plan was to avoid the subway, buses, and cabs. We knew that Manhattan is not very handicapped friendly as far as transportation goes, so we wanted to be able to walk everywhere we needed. This trip was for Mattie and not for us, so the extent of our sightseeing was Strawberry Fields in Central Park.  It was perfect.

Jim:
We arrived on a Thursday and our first ABM session was scheduled at 4 in the afternoon. Typically Mattie is a lot more manageable in the morning and Jess and I were concerned that being in the car for the 3 hour drive to the city would render the session useless. Upon arrival, Mattie immediately connected with Marcy’s calm demeanor and enthusiastic encouragement. I was amazed at how calm Mattie was while Marcy gently moved her and studied her overall movement patterns. Marcy asked a lot of questions regarding Mattie’s previous experiences with ABM as well as the different things we did with her in traditional OT and PT therapies. While we talked Marcy continued to push and prod (for lack of better terms!) Mattie in different ways until, quite suddenly, the range of motion in her hips drastically increased. To our amazement, in that first session Mattie was able to sit “cross legged” or “Indian style” (I know that’s not a PC term, but I don’t know what else to call it) for the first time!

Jess:
We had been working with her sitting in the “W” position so I think that coupled with this ABM session, her brain made a connection. It was amazing to see this WOW moment. Jim and I left there that day with a spring in our step. We knew big things were going to happen on this trip.

Jim:
While waiting for the elevator to leave, Jess and I decided we had to find a way to get Mattie back to see Marcy again in the future

The remaining sessions were very similar to the first. Mattie’s connection with Marcy was amazing to witness. Mattie was fully aware of what she was doing, you could almost see her actively learning. She was calm and her movement was more fluid than usual. In one session Marcy worked on Mattie’s back, ending with Mattie being able to sit more upright and with more balance than usual. In another, Marcy placed Mattie on her back and encouraged her to push off her feet in order to move her body along the table in the direction of her head. She not only was able to do this but was able to lift her pelvis off the table in the process-another form of movement Mattie had never experienced.

Jess:
We left there with lots of new information and some new things to be doing at home with Mattie. Now the question that comes to mind is how can we get back there??? Even two weeks later, Jim and I are still excited to see the changes in Mattie.

Jim:
Mattie has continued to show improved range of motion in her hips, which in turn has allowed her to increase her balance while sitting. She has also continued to lengthen through her back and has started to avoid some of the small, improper movement patterns caused by her high tone.

Jess:
It goes well beyond these movement milestones. Mattie’s cognitive skills have really emerged the past month. Mattie can now blow kisses, claps her hands, knows where her toes are and gets them, and as of this week I think she is signing the word ‘more’.

Jim:
She has been copying people’s movements and sounds a lot more lately. She regularly waves to people (whether the timing is appropriate or not) and just yesterday she tried to clap her hands while watching us do so. She has also been mimicking the sounds we make and has finally been able to say “mama”, although indiscriminately.

Jess:
(my heart melting).

I am confident that we are on the right track with Mattie. It is hard to deny the changes that are happening to her. It is a combination of ABM, traditional therapies, having a fantastic nanny, and huge amounts of love and dedication from us, our family, friends, therapists, practitioners, and perfect strangers.

Jim:
These recent improvements in movement and cognition have really made it an exciting time in Mattie’s life and I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to be a part of it.

Jess:
As I sit here in Gainesville finishing up this post (yes we are back for more ABM), I reflect on just far we all have come. Jim and I have both grown, not only as parents but as individuals looking for answers and finding them in a little girl who lights up our heart with her smile. Although this may not be the path I would have chosen for myself, I know it is the path that I was meant to take.

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4 thoughts on “New York, New York

  1. I am so glad you posted!! I have wanted to ask, but havent in fear that it did not meet your expectations. I am so happy to hear that things went well and it was worth the chaos to meet Marcy. Mattie and New York got along well…maybe its a sign she wants to become a New Yorker!! Just an idea! 😉

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