Friday, September 20, 2013

Bouncing to beat CP

What do you think, did intervention work on this stroke survivor? Do you see hemiplegia or a little girl having fun? Yeah, I thought so too.  (heart swelling)

I've been meaning to write about this for ages but got far too busy with whining about my head.  However, after suggesting it to someone I figured it was time to share. We started going to this bounce place more than two years ago with the Angel of PT,  Michael Workman, creator of the Bamboo Brace, and our PT spirit guide. Actually it terrified me back when Hannah was a new walker and quite unsteady, but I was assured she needed a place where she could safely fall down, and he was right. Not only did it give her a safe fall, but it gave her a whole lot more, especially one more place where she could do what all the other kids were doing, and just have fun.

When we stopped going with our PT, after aging out of Early Intervention, we just kept going for fun. Especially during the day, during open bounce, when bigger kids were in school, Hannah could bounce on the trampoline floor, and crawl on the floor, and climb the ladder of the inflatable slide using her affected arm to assist her in climbing up, and mostly she just had a great time without knowledge that I considered it therapeutic intervention.

Between divine intervention, Early Intervention, and me taking a lot of time to do stuff like this with Hannah on a regular basis, she just is not all that impaired.  Sure her leg and arm are still smaller in mass and less effective than her unaffected side, but she can do way, way, way more than she can't, and she is mainstreamed at school.  We are hitting occupational therapy the hardest now, and I don't know what we'll be doing to get those gains, but flailing her arms while she jumps seems to have strengthened her shoulder and upper arm enough that she doesn't flex her wrist and currently doesn't need that brace anymore.  I'd like to see her not favor that hand but she does a lot of two handed play, because her upper body is strong enough to move the arm naturally, so that weaker hand is not relegated to waiting all the time.

The Bamboo Brace was the beginning of this, but the bouncing kept it going, we think. We bounce at Jump Around Utah in Salt Lake City.  The owner sometimes laughs when we come in for half an hour before closing, just to get a little gross/fine motor skills work in on the fly, but every time we drop in we are glad we did.  Somehow, we have arrived at a time and place where I can come in with the kids I have with me and just sit down and look at the internet while they play independently. Yep, my child with CP plays independently and successfully in a rough play environment.  Did I picture myself saying that three years ago?  No.

Bouncing is for everybody.  My family and kids' friends can go for a playdate/babysitting event and work up a sweat while getting the ya-yas out.  A friend whose twin boy was eight months behind his sister in learning to walk made huge advancements when his big sister started bouncing with him on their trampoline, so I feel bouncing is indeed universally beneficial to build strength and balance but especially for those of us whose kids are otherwise limited in activities they would naturally do, I can't think of anything better. When my PT explained it to me, he described these benefits: fast movement on a soft surface builds muscle strength, challenges and therefore builds balance, develops the vestibular system which is important for our kiddos with impaired sensation so they better learn where their bodies are in space and relative to other stuff, and learning how to fall.  And, as you saw in Hannah's video, how to bounce back up.

This is not a sponsored post.  I would do a sponsored post, for the right people, but this is just a shout out to some very real folks and places that made our battle with stroke and cerebral palsy a battle we could fight.

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