Thursday, May 19, 2011

Never Give Up!!

Last year (in April I believe) we started doing Brain Balance Primitive Reflex exercises with Hannah.  It was hard to say the least.  Her brain, body, and heart just did not cooperate with our desire to rid her of reflexes that should have been gone long ago.  Her body was stiff and it probably hurt a little too.  I was up and down and all around with my emotions.  Fear of failure haunted me (as it has all my life) and kept me from really believing that things could change for Hannah and for our family as a whole.  We also were dealing with disbelief in BB.  How could the solution be so simplistic?  Were we so desperate to find a solution to the Autism problem that we were believing yet again that what we were trying this time was the answer?  I was also dealing with my pregnancy and bulging disc and everything that goes with that and being out of shape and 39 and pregnant!  I couldn't do this, I couldn't do that I told myself.  With all my doubt and fear and grief, I still pressed on.  Granted, I would miss days here and there and sometimes stop doing the exercises altogether for weeks at a time and you are definitely not suppose to do that.  However, I did believe that God was going to use Brain Balance to heal my daughter and heal our family which was my prayer.  During those times (and all times) I relied on my wonderful therapists to do the exercises.  We didn't do all of them...just started with a few day after day, week after week.  My friend, Mindy, posted a quote today that struck a chord with me. "Never give up on a dream just because of the length of time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway." - H. Jackson Brown  I have learned the old-fashioned way throughout life and especially this trial with Hannah that if I give my all today, then the todays will add up.  We will not be "on" everyday because of our humanness.  We will fear and doubt and procrastinate and have bad days, but we must keep striving because our diligence will pay off in one way or another.

I am happy to announce that our diligence has paid off in a big way!  Hannah has lost the Rooting, Spinal Galant, Tonic Labyrinthine, and Landau reflexes and is very close to losing the other four!  In fact, we believe that they will be gone by the end of our first BB session (in 4 weeks).  Ok, I know what you're saying, "what?"  "why is that exciting?"  A long time ago when we started these exercises, I only had a general knowledge of the primitive reflexes.  I didn't realize until I did more research on my own how much of a problem the retention of primitive reflexes can be!  That research coupled with Hannah going long periods of time without wetting the bed became my motivation to keep pressing on with the uncomfortable for Hannah and the ever-so boring and monotonous exercises that accomplishes the passing of the primitive reflexes.  The following is a chart that is simply stated and given to me by BB:

ReflexPurposeWhen Retained
Rootingsuckling, feedingoral fixation, picky eater, nail biting, mouthing objects
GraspHolding onPoor grasp, inconsistent handwriting, stimming of hands
Spinal GalantAssist in birth processFidgety while sitting, annoyed by clothing tags or textures, bedwetting
Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (ATNR)Upper body development in vitro, foundation of hand eye coordination and visual trackingSleep in "Greek God Pose", not able to walk in straight line especially while turning head, awkward gait, awkward athletically, poor visual tracking, poor hand eye coordination, difficulty crossing midline
Landauinhibits ATNR, strengthen muscle tone, vestibulo ocular motor skillsSuggests presence of primitive reflexes, balance issues, awkward with lower extremeties with effects on running, hopping and skipping
Moro (startle)SurvivalHypersentive or agitated easily by stimuli, hold breath when stimulated, hypersensitive fight or flight response
Tonic LabyrinthinePostural VestibularGravitational insecurity, impedence of head-righting or visual ocular reflexes (VOR), retention of STNR
Symmetrical Tonic Neck (STNR)CoordinationPoor hand eye coordination, uncoordinated, impedence of crawling, associated with learning disabilities

What the above chart has translated into for Hannah is many little victories that I won't list all here but many as such: She is sitting through church much more quietly and still (I am working on an entire blog post just on that!) She doesn't fidget and wiggle so much during dinner and other times that we might wish her to be still or atleast not jumping up and down on a chair.  Actually, she didn't even use to sit with us at dinner.  She would do everything she could to get away from us.  She stims (self-stimulates) much less with her hands.  She used to wiggle her fingers and hands in front of her face all the time.  She also use to play in the dirt and through the dirt up in front of her face.  Many times throughout the day, she just sits quietly and observes us and she is much more aware and interested in her surroundings.  She still wets the bed occasionally but it's usually when changes have occurred such as Daddy coming or going or staying at Papa and Grammy's house.  She is starting to move her eyes without moving her head or body and she has even crossed her eyes twice (if you can't cross your eyes, there's a problem).  There are so many other little things that are missing now that we don't even notice until we go somewhere we haven't been in a while or be around someone that notices a difference.  For instance, we went to Sensations Therafun (a place to play, climb, zipline, and the like) the other day after weeks of not going (because of the horrible experience it was due to her tantrums and obsessions) and Hannah was not so obsessed with the ballpit and she tried everything we wanted her to try without being so obsessed with one thing.  It is just amazing (sorry to use that over-used term) progress for her to go from being inflexible in trying new things to being completely flexible in eight weeks time!

As I think now about summing up this post, I am thinking of many other things I could have written.  I originally wanted to only write once a week but I'm thinking once a day now because of all the little things that are happening with Hannah as well as adding a new member to the BB journey -- Abigail!  I will write more on Abby later but time to get back to work now!  Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. How thrilling for you, Monica! I'm so happy for you, Hannah, and the rest of your family!