Monday, 30 January 2017

Update on the neurodevelopmental therapy.

I thought I should write an update on the 'brushing' therapy.

In case you're not up to speed, my oldest son Dominik (PDA, SPD etc) had been receiving neurodevelopmental therapy since June 2015. We have been visiting Bob Allen in Windsor roughly every 6-8 weeks. Dominik has been slowly releasing his retained infant reflexes (please see Sue Hyland's blog for an excellent synopsis of what these are) and today we found out that we are on to the next stage in this process. We no longer have to brush twice daily (on various different body areas for a varying amount of strokes), but now Dominik has to take charge and complete one exercise per day which consists of getting in and out of one position. I think Bob called it the 'baby' position. The process will integrate Dominik's left and right hemispheres (brain and body) whilst also improving the communication between his upper and lower body parts. Dominik was confident that he could do this and I think he is even looking forward to it.

He was also excited to see Bob today! Bob is funny, charming, trustworthy and calming. He has a positive effect on Dominik and I think he might even care what Bob says to him!

Dominik is very proud of his progress and has even seen an osteopath (suggested by Bob) after being discharged from his successful physiotherapy sessions!

Dominik and I have been massaging his scars, brushing twice a day and doing exercises recommended by both the physiotherapist and the osteopath. As those of you with PDA children (partners/friends/parents etc) already know, placing any demand on them is difficult and could result in a huge meltdown depending on various factors, but for a boy like Dominik (who basically lives with no demands placed upon him at all), I was worried that this would be a particularly big deal!

When we left the osteopath with a list of 8 new exercises to do every day, I wanted to cry.

I'll be honest, my anxiety went through the roof and I felt so overwhelmed that I thought I was actually going to vomit.

Domink has been amazing when it comes to cooperating with all of these interventions but that does not mean that he will always be able to be that cooperative! I am hyper-vigilantly searching out the next source of 'too much' for him all the time. I am constantly anxious that the next request could be one request too many. It can be exhausting doing mental gymnastics at this pace. Kudos to all my fellow warrior mums.

Well, guess what? I'm proud (and more than a tad relieved), to say that he has been consistent in his cooperation and on the occasions where I have been reluctant/and or felt too tired or busy, he has requested his therapy and I have done it.

When something has true importance these children, (and adults) with PDA pull out all the stops.

PDA children value the truth.
They value quality.
They value authenticity.
External rewards are, in the main, disposable and transient and our children seem to instinctively know this.

When it is important to them (and they are intrinsically motivated), they will do it and they will do it to the absolute best of their ability and with the same degree of enthusiasm with which they undertake everything else that they choose to do! (I know...I wish he wanted to wash/change/brush his teeth/sleep too!)

The very qualities that make them so vulnerable and anxious and the very same qualities that will cause them to soar.

I could go on all day but I won't. I'm sure you get the idea.

Dominik has started to find himself. I have evolved in my role in his life too. Perhaps I'm even finding myself.

Felicity Evans told me recently that these children (our children) are here to help us heal ourselves and our family trees through their energy. I have no doubt that she is right. Please do visit her website and especially take a look at the Resources page. It if fantastic.

Dominik is surging forward and he is pulling us all along in his wake. I am so proud of him.

There is one final thing I wanted to say:

I am currently looking for a family to volunteer some of their time to me so that I can develop my support and advocacy skills with a view to establishing a family support and advocacy business aimed at families living with PDA (perhaps this will expand with time but I dont know yet). I would love to meet a new family and see if I can help facilitate some positive changes in their lives.

Please do email me if you'd like to participate.

N x

Saturday, 7 January 2017

An explosion of new learning.

I am astounded by the capacity my children have for learning new skills and developing their personalities.

Dominik has tonight told me how he recently advocated for a friend in need. He described himself using, 'intellectual language' and said that although he had been nervous and had lisped, he felt as if he had communicated his points really well. He felt that the person to whom he had spoken had heard him and was considering his/his friends position.

He followed that up with throwing around the bottom halves of his crutches (that have only previously been used as weapons!) in the manner of a juggler/baton twirler. He was surprisingly good! He could do a lot of stunts all of which he had taught himself. Now in search of juggling pins!

I think that perhaps the most beautiful thing he told me was that he actively tries to make me laugh! He said I have a very serious face and that it transforms instantly when I laugh. I told him I thought of myself as a fun person...and he laughed! We are all going to have more fun and laugh even more in 2017, I know it.

Since the year began, Harriet has said; bed, poo, boo, up and hot! Incredible changes happening for her too, Her self-awareness, empathy (yes, she really is empathetic at 23 months old so it must be possible), joy and love, know no bounds. She can crack any silence with a 'yeah' and she can soothe any tears with her small hug and gentle pat on the back.

Lily is now actively learning to skate backwards and she was joined today at the roller skating disco by her two cousins (and step-cousin?!) which meant the world to her. She was patient, kind and fun even when confronted with the fact that she was now effectively a lone skater, because I wanted to spend time with the (as yet) non-skaters. Cheer leading reconvened today too and given that Lily has been under weather and not sleeping, she met and exceeded her own expectations with her management of the whole day. So happy for her.

Hannon, I am finally going to submit, is Autistic too. He has been stimming a lot. He has been very insular and hyper-focused too. I have always known he has an ASD but right now, it is challenging for him to manage. I think that having acknowledged it is there, he is going to manage better we all will I'm sure. Bless him. So emotional and confused. He is currently dreading returning to Cubs due to an incident and series of events that I have yet to share here so that is undoubtedly contributing to his sensitive state. He also still does not know what he would like to try this term...argh! Oh, and he is very focused on food.

And finally me! So far this year, I have begun adopting a paleo eating style, I've picked a yoga class to attend at last! I've begun my first cross stitch. I've picked up my Spanish. I've started having counselling, I am also researching the following subjects - 'screen time', violent and fantasy based play and cooperations vs competition.

Oh, and the children and I have started to plan some trips! A new soft-play, a climbing taster session, a shooting taster and a potential weekly Spanish meet with a Peruvian lady are all in the planning.

We've had a quiet couple of months, which we definitely needed after the whirlwind that was 2016, but now that is done, we're good to go.

N x