Alternative Therapies for Special Needs: Personal Experiences

Alternative Therapies for Special Needs: Personal Experiences

I love Chloe exactly as she is, which is why I often struggle with the idea of trying to “fix” her. Obviously, though, anything – or almost anything – we can try and see if it helps her, we are and always have been willing to do. I say almost anything because of the possible risks associated with different alternative therapies and, unfortunately, what it usually comes down to is the cost. So if something appears to be not too risky and is something we can afford, and especially if I have seen or heard of something helping someone else, then we will most likely try it for Chloe. Here is an overview of what we have tried and a few that are on the radar to try if/when we can afford it. Each therapy type is linked to an external website providing additional information.

Anat Baniel Method (ABM) : According to their website, ABM, “rather than try to force children into developmental milestones they are not ready to do successfully, which can groove in their limitations even deeper, [this] method wakes up the child’s brain to create new connections, often at a staggering rate, leading to spontaneous, often extraordinary breakthroughs in movement, thinking, self-regulation, and connection with others.”

I had heard a lot about this method through different online support groups and it couldn’t be ignored that this therapy was working wonders for other special needs children. So, despite significant financial constraints at the time, we decided we at least needed Chloe to try it once. One half hour session later, I was  convinced this could be a game changer for Chloe. When I went to pick her up after the session, I felt a difference in her tone. I wasn’t expecting to feel that, but it couldn’t be denied. She held her head up better, and was using her left hand more. I cried the entire drive home because I thought we had found something that could help our little girl, but I knew we couldn’t afford it. The sessions were very expensive. When my husband and Chloe’s grandparent’s saw the immediate difference that night, we all decided that whatever sacrifices needed to be made were going to be made. We sold every earthly possession of any value and it all went to 6 months of ABM for Chloe.

anat baniel method

Chloe during an ABM session in 2009

 

She went from not holding her head up or having any trunk control to being able to hold her head up and sitting unassisted if put into the position, using her left hand very well, and using her previously unused right hand a little bit. The day the money ran out, the tears started again and it was absolutely heart wrenching to watch her skills decline. This was 5 years ago and just thinking about it now, I’m wondering how I can sit here knowing there is something out there that can help Chloe and we are not doing it. However, the fact remains, we cannot afford it. Plain and simple, the way I see it, money (or the lack thereof) is keeping Chloe from living a more fulfilling life. That stinks, but that is the reality. I’m not saying all children with special needs would have the same response to this method, but I do believe this will be a key component in Chloe’s physical development if when (yes, I am an eternal optimist) we are able to afford it.

The Bluff Technique: Chloe was lucky enough to get to see Jimmy Bluff for a few months while he had an office in Utah. He now only treats patients in California, but we’ve even gone to see him there once! Jimmy is known to treat people with varying physical injuries/limitations and help them reach their truest potential via his aggressive treatment, which he also calls “surgery without the knife.” He is the one and only Bluff Technician, though I’m sure he doesn’t call himself that. I wanted to include him in this list because he did impact Chloe’s health significantly during the time we were able to see him. Her spasticity was significantly less, which affected her general temperament throughout the day and ability to sleep through the night. To know that something natural and non-invasive helped with my sweet girl’s pain was significant and I wish he hadn’t left!

Masgutova Neurosensorimotor Reflex Integration (MNRI) MethodI learned about MNRI through the ABM physician Chloe saw. In addition to ABM, she also implemented MNRI techniques and said the two went hand in hand. According to their website, “The primary focus of the MNRI Method is to support the integration process of primary motor reflex patterns regardless of a person’s condition or age.” I know several children who are treated with MNRI independent of any other model and swear by it.

Quantum Mechanics: This is not the official name of this alternative therapy, but I don’t think it has a name. It is definitely the most “out there” thing we have tried. However, this treatment was recommended highly by several people and did help Chloe so that’s why I’m sharing it. There’s a lot of preliminary explanation to this one because it’s really, how should I say this, waaaay outside the scope of traditional medical treatment. Dan Nelson is an astrophysicist based in Helena, MT who does not charge for his services. If you make your way to him, he will help you out. It does involve, according to him, different applications of the quantum mechanics of the human energy field. Even after seeing Dan, I can’t really tell you exactly what he does, but I guess it’s one of those things I figure is just outside my scope of understanding. You can read all about Dan and find his contact information at the bottom of the page here. The experience was, to put it simply, one of a kind. However, without question, Chloe’s nystagmus was severe before seeing Dan and did not exist after seeing him. He spent three hours treating Chloe, my husband, my mother-in-law, and myself and would not take a dime for his time. His phone was ringing off the hook while we were there because his assistant had the day off and I heard the answering machine in the background (he is a little old school)… person after person from all parts of the world (no exaggeration) saying things like their friend’s cancer was cured after seeing Dan so they wanted to come see him too…on and on and on, just like the examples I heard before I took my family to see him. I am rambling a bit to justify myself. I will just say if you are willing to travel to Montana and see if Dan can help out your child (or you or anyone you know), I’d do it.

The Listening ProgramI have a cousin who had a traumatic brain injury and after months of no recovery, his mom decided to try this program and within one week, they started seeing improvements. So when they found out about Chloe’s problems, they suggested we at least try it. So we did. According to their website, “brain performance can be maintained or improved by engaging in healthy sound practices. This is not unlike the understanding that physical fitness is improved through exercising the body. One such practice is The Listening Program®. TLP involves listening to acoustically-modified instrumental music through high-quality headphones, or our Waves™ multi-sensory audio system to reduce stress, improve focus, self-regulation, learning, memory, and more.” I can’t say that this program helped Chloe in any way. I do, however, notice that she likes it. I wouldn’t necessarily promote this program, but if your child has sensory issues, you might consider it.

Upper Cervical Specific Chiropractic: My mother-in-law found relief after seeing a specific chiropractor in Draper, Utah and suggested we try taking Chloe to him to see if he could help her in any way. My understanding of this form of chiropractic care is that there is an axis and an atlas and if those are pinched or disrupted, nerve interference can occur and cause significant symptoms. After going for weekly/bi-weekly visits for 4-6 weeks, the main improvement we saw with Chloe was that she started having a bowel movement daily rather than every other day. This might seem like an insignificant and crappy subject (pun intended), but tummy troubles are definitely a big deal at our house with our sweet little Chloe so to have a major improvement in that area was monumental! I wasn’t expecting a change in her digestion from seeing a chiropractor, but hey, I’ll take it! We also had an incredible experience with our son using this chiropractor, but that is not a special needs issue so I won’t address it in this post. However, if you want to read about it, you can do so here.

Other things we have used or still use for Chloe that may or may not be considered alternative include essential oils, foot zonologyketogenic diet, aquatic therapy, and equine therapy.

I will end with the links to several types of therapies I hope for Chloe to at least try someday because I have heard of several positive results following these therapies for other children: Cuevas Medek Exercise (CME)Neuro Suit Therapy, and Lokomat Gait Therapy.

What alternative therapy(ies) have you tried?

 

Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net.

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