Entries categorized "ABR Videos"

Cerebral Palsy Peacenick Practicalities: Standing Frame –out of ‘Hawks’ weapons cache and into ‘Doves’ nest. Part 1

It’s time to move from declarations and outline of the ‘Cerebral Palsy Peacenick’ philosophy to the practicalities.

Since most of the ubiquitous tools for special kids either come from ‘Hawks’ or from ‘Sensory’ people [who are just plain oblivious to biomechanical consequences of their ‘stimulating the nervous system and the brain’ actions] – we need to discuss the possible conversion: hence the title – “Cerebral Palsy Peacenick Practicalities

 I could have also called it: “Beating swords into plowshares”; “Turning Tanks to Tractors” or “Morphing Spears into Spades” or anything alike – I hope I’ve got the point across...

I came of age at the end of so-called Cold War and remember well the conversion attempts back in the late 80s in Russia – the factories that made landmines converting into the saucepan manufacturing…

Well, I must admit, it did not work very well – apparently even ‘a saucepan’ production requires some specific expertise, which is not exactly sharing the same platform with a landmine even if machinery is similar…

Anyway, I hope to fare better :-)– and the 2nd Video is very much discusses the ways how the classic ‘hawkish’ approach to a standing frame could be upgraded significantly into a ‘peacenick’ version.

However, In the 1st Part I took the liberty of touching the larger questions that resonate with the previous post on GMFCS curves – facing the reality in sharp precise details rather than blurring into a shapeless amorphous cloud.

I used the standing frame use example to repeat the fundamental deepest  developmental challenge of any child with Special Needs and Cerebral Palsy especially– ‘A Win-Lose Dilemma’.

Obviously this is not an ‘appealing’ or ‘attractive’ name to begin with, however, I do plan to stick to it since it reflects the reality very well.

I fully understand and accept that at a certain point a familiar strategy of “let’s keep it vague” might be a helpful one. For some people this approach works really well – they just look at the facets of a child’s condition that they are able to relate to and ‘chop away’ anything uncomfortable.

However, if you are one of those people you’d be a very unlikely person to show any interest in Do-It-Yourself home rehabilitation altogether, let alone being the reader for this blog. These people with a truly selective vision, capable of culling everything uncomfortable are a rare breed; and actually, the more studies/education you’ve done in your life – the less likely you are to be such a blessed one.

For all of you with a significant domain of rationale within a personality profile – this ‘blissfully unaware’ stance is not available. You wish you’d stop thinking about dreary expectations – but you really can’t.

So what happens as a result? – You find yourself on a swinging pendulum – from exaggerated optimism to equally exaggerated concerns and fears. You are easily excited (especially when a child is still young) but you are easily scared as well. That’s a heavy emotional tax that zaps one’s energy really fast; and as the years go – excitement vanishes or translates into a pure chase of “last hope” while the scares become more and more real, especially with under consistent ‘hawkish’ pressure.

That’s the cost of ‘blurring’. It’s a universal trait of a human nature that we are most stressed and demoralized by some vague gloomy threat, where the vagueness itself makes it seemingly omnipresent and incapacitating as a result.

On the other hand, we are generally pretty good in standing up to a well-defined adversary or challenge. That’s why most of today’s practical psychology is about making those fears and concerns from amorphous into the clearly articulated ones.

So, once again, I emphasize the same point – I am strongly “pro-uncomfortable-truth” that clarifies the situation and allows to devise an actionable strategy of coping, management and approaches to ‘beating the odds’.

If you are sharing the same stance – I hope that you’ll find the videos helpful and educational…


P.S. Thanks a lot for your questions and comments to the previous posts made in January. I haven’t answered much yet but do plan to do that in the couple of next posts. I believe most of the questions and comments are of value for many parents – so it would be better to answer the questions in a more public way.

So for the next few days – please send your questions…

P.P.S. The other night I had a ‘Jackie Chan’ dream – (weird isn’t it? – considering the fact that the last time I watched his movies was at least 2-3 years ago…) – and woke up very surprised trying to make sense out of it…

My first thought was to interpret it as a sign of striving for shorter answer – since Jackie Chan is known for being extremely quick – but I wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to live up to his standards of brevity….

Preface ... please read

Welcome to my blog – and I guess it’s not a surprise that it’s going to revolve around ABR – since I am a very narrowly focused person having no real interests other than my work. I am realistic and the only readership I can legitimately expect is the parents of children with special needs looking for unorthodox insights that might turn out potentially useful. I am honored by that and will try my best not to disappoint you by going beyond the technical aspects of ABR and into the wider spectrum of related issues… Whether I will succeed in that – is up to you to judge.  

This blog is going to be opinionated and biased reflecting nothing else but my personal views, which are likely to be in conflict with the mainstream beliefs and convictions. As a parent you should approach my musings with your critical judgment and a grain of salt the size of a decent rock :-) My only intention is to give you some extra food for thought by facilitating out-of-the-box reasoning and hopefully helping you with making improved informed decisions along the way.

I am not a healthcare professional let alone a medical expert.  Frankly speaking, you have no formal reason to value my opinion beyond your sheer curiosity. As the saying goes –“forewarned is forearmed”. If you are still interested in reading further – I am happy to oblige…

Before ABR -Sitting Challenges in a Quadriplegic CP - Fundamental Analysis

FULL VERSION: Before ABR -Sitting Challenges in a Quadriplegic CP - Fundamental Analysis.

Well, finally we have a chance to zoom in -- from the overviews, which are no doubt, -- inspirational to the educationally meaningful substance -- the actual analysis.

This video is 20 min long and it goes over all the typical manifestations of poor segmentation as well as re-iterating and illustrating the discussion about the support level evolution in sitting.

There is another important component that I did not emphasize enough before but certainly do now -- that's the connection between the suspended arm support and the proper ground reaction support. The two are inversely related, which gives an important prognostic tool of progress even when facing some transitional challenges -- sure better understanding of such a link will emerge after the next video -- Stage 1 of progress that I will describe in details in a few days.

Meanwhile, I believe I need to emphasize one important aspect -- some of you, although inspired by a progress of this particular quadriplegic boy, have difficulties in connecting/ relating to this particular example telling yourself: "My son is much older" or "My daughter is floppy" and so on. Yes, to certain extent you are correct, -- there are nuances and specifics between ages, types and so on. And you'd know that I am the person who is extremely detail and finesse oriented -- usually I bore everyone to a state of being drowsy by digging into yet further case specifics under the bright lights that make your eyelids close involuntary :-) .. However, I'd like you to think about these videos in a truly educational context -- looking at the elementary building blocks of the large "cerebral palsy" problem. Cerebral Palsy is a disorder of posture and movement -- tangible physical aspects that depend on the mechanics of the elements -- the building blocks, These elementary components are pretty much the same -- spasticity, rigidity, instability, lack of segmentation, inability for counterbalancing and so on... They are very much the same whether it is a younger or an older child; a boy or a girl; spastic or flaccid or athetoid; milder or less severe and so on. For sure, these elementary problems come in different combinations and in different magnitude depending on the type of cerebral palsy or specifics of developmental challenges. Nonetheless, the better a parent knows the elementary blocks -- the better understanding of the larger jigsaw puzzle becomes possible otherwise everything blurs -- emotional; physical; quantitative and qualitative ... -- bringing stress.

That's exactly the case where knowledge is power -- because you , my friends, have the rest -- love, dedication and a selfless desire to help your kids... That's why I'll keep encouraging you to learn...

Thanks for reading ... please stay focused -- there is a pretty long video coming .... :-)

P.S. By the way -- for those of you who have challenges with a streaming video -- please go ahead and download them -- that will save you the discomfort of unexpected frozen frames etc.

SITTING Progress & Evolution Overview in a Spastic Quadriplegic Boy

If the previous video "Motor Development  Progress  ... Cerebral Palsy Quadriplegic Child"  -- http://www.vimeo.com/6671771 -- was more inspirational than educational  this video "Sitting progress in a Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy" has already much more of an educational value .

The case of this quadriplegic spastic boy is so classic that each and every parent of a child with cerebral palsy will find important illustrations and clarifications:

  • Levels of support in sitting - evolution from high to low
  • Specifics of tailor sitting
  • Suspended support by the arms -- 1 handed support and 2 handed
  • Sitting platform configuration
  • Segmentation and selective mobility between the head, shoulder girdle, pelvis

I am very much aware-- you have already heard it from me and probably  telling yourself : "I know, I know , I know..." but nonetheless I do recommend you to watch it and visualize these stages because the better you visualize them on the examples of the other brain injured kids the more meaningful specifics you will be able to notice in yours.

And that's the key for your own motivation, piece of mind and confidence-- your ability to notice the increments of improvements in your own child.

I want to emphasize once more -- We are posting these Progress Overview videos with an educational and not a promotional purpose. The goal is not say: "Look what a wonderful progress with ABR in just 2 years of work..." That would be a wrong message because some children respond slower and some faster, some parents have more opportunities for the ABR homework and some have less. These are realities and I do not want you to be stressed and ask yourself 'Have we achieved as much or less or more in 2 years?' I would much prefer you to focus on the stages of transformations that, for example, this quadriplegic boy had through ABR because these stages are very much typical. Therefore, even if different children respond at different rate -- the fundamentals and stages are very much the same.

And another really important aspect -- these changes are not accidental, the progress of this Qudariplegic boy, GMFCS Level 5, is not a fluke -- it's a result of systematic transitions that were methodically addressed through  Advanced Biomechanical Rehabilitation.

That's why – I am really trying my best to pre-warm you about the oncoming videos which analyze in details each of the stages of progress during 2 years of Advanced Biomechanical Rehabilitation --sitting, hand functions, crawling.

Please look at it as an illustrated textbook intended to enhance your knowledge not as see-and-forget promotional videos. That's why I will encourage you to return back to these videos several times and ideally even show them to some of your friends and family, -- watch their reaction, look at their level of understanding and try to clarify things for them. Become an educator yourself -- for one selfish reason: there is no better way to learn yourself than by teaching the others. 

Motor Development through ABR -- Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy Boy Case Study

I've been thinking for a while on a presentation format of key ideas of ABR that will be of the most educational value. Apparently it's not as easy as it sounds. There are quite a few challenges.

A number of parents do not want to go beyond a quick before/after loking for just enough to feed the imagination as a "miracle progress in cerebral palsy treatment'. Obviously, at ABR -- even though we are actually the only cerebral palsy rehabilitation method who do have systematic before/after progress reports for brain injured kids -- we want to avoid encouraging the 'quick wow super progress' seekers. But at the same time -- my theoretical rants even when they are perfectly relevant like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSok3q_jmsU -- often seem to be not clicking...

Unfortunately... :-( Since I do believe firmly that the proper MINDSET is more important to success than Skillset or let alone Toolset...

So I was looking for the other avenues and then decide to do it in a Case Study form -- to just take a more or less typical case with a typical progress rate and explain the stages with illustrations of key motor functions: sitting, crawling, fine skills of a hand. The hint came from a strange fact that all of us at ABR Teams worldwide have been observing for a while: Every parent of a special needs child sees the progress a lot more readily in another  special kid. I guess, it's the emotional bond to your own one that  blurs everything together -- not allowing to concentrate on studying and recognizing the stages essential for any case of cerebral palsy, spasticity etc. ;

That's why I decided to try this new format -- taking a single case and illustrate the universal truths for any child with a brain injury. I started from a spastic quadriplegic case as the most typical for us -- but, sure, there will be other types as well:  flaccid; athetoid; hemiplegic etc.

I hope this avenue will work better -- but obviously the ultimate judges are the 'collective you' : I'll only know whether this avenue is worth pursuing further if you give me the feedback through your comments and mails.

Altogether -- there are 28 videos (10 min to 30 min long) -- 1 General Progress Overview; 3 x 1 = Progress overviews for each of the domains: Sitting, Hand Function; Crawling; and another 4-5 videos per domain covering the transitions from the initial condition before ABR and then the changes every several months. All in all -- the period covered is 24 months.

I've learned from my mistakes (somewhat :-)) -- and I am not going to dump them all on you at once.

Right now you can watch 6 videos -- Motor Development Progress overview (Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy Boy Case Study) and 5 more videos zooming into the domain of sitting as the core representation of weight-bearing progress.

I am starting with the  first one:  Motor Development Progress Overview - Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy Child GMFCS 5 -- I will be posting the other ones with regular intervals and with extra comments.

I hope that avenue will prove educational and I am looking forwards for your response.

Thanks a lot.