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...
Are We Out of the Woods Yet?

Are We Out of the Woods Yet?

It has been over 7 years now of asking the question, “Are we out of the woods yet?” To doctors, to my spouse, and as an internal struggle I’ve kept hidden at times, I have had this constant nagging question. When can we just get settled in to what our life is and not have something we are trying to figure out, fix, and/or deal with? She was 13 months old when I read the official diagnosis of cerebral palsy. I saw it on a consultation report from one specialist to another. That probably isn’t the greatest way to receive a diagnosis like that about your child, who also happens to be the center of your universe. But that was how it happened. I’m sure the report also included her history of infantile spasms, a debilitating type of seizure that had been controlled after 6 weeks of steroid treatment. The report likely indicated that she had global developmental delays (non-mobile and poor fine motor skills) and bilateral exotropia (wandering of both eyes). Those are her main diagnoses. However, no report could sum up or label who she really is and what the world is like with her in it! So let me attempt to do so now. Chloe was born just 10 days early. They induced labor because I had gestational hypertension. Nothing appeared to be out of the ordinary with my beautiful little newborn. In fact, the pediatrician told me she appeared to be the healthiest baby in the nursery! She sure looked perfect to me! She was my first child so I wasn’t in tune with what a “normal” newborn looked...
Highlighting Our Differences

Highlighting Our Differences

One of my friends that isn’t in the special needs community shared a picture with me of a little girl who has crutches, who’s mom decided to go all out and decorate her crutches for her holiday program at school. She knew I would love it and appreciate it. I immediately begged for the mom’s name and more pictures! What a great idea. And a way to bring fun attention to mobility aides right? Go mom go! I was able to exchange a few messages with mom, Erica. She told me her daughter was 8 and just starting to become super aware of her crutches and her limitations. She is in the third grade and this year has been particularly hard because she doesn’t want to be different and needing crutches makes her sad. When she walks with her class, she can’t always keep up and Erica thought that the lights would be bright and cheerful as she made her way up to the front during the concert. She wanted to make them fun for her, and boy did she! I wanted to take this opportunity to share a little bit more about the challenges that Annabelle has faced in her short life. She has Cerebral Palsy, among other things. She was born at 30 weeks with Tracheoesophageal fistula and esophageal atresia(TEFEA). Generally speaking, this means that the tube the food goes down when you eat and the tube the air goes down when you breath aren’t connected properly. It requires surgery to repair shortly after birth. (It’s a doozy!) She also had Tetralogy of Fallot which is a...
Special Brothers

Special Brothers

I volunteer on a parents council for our local children’s hospital and a little while ago, during a brief tour of some new outpatient facilities, I met two young men. Over the course of the two hours I had the opportunity to observe these boys and that was it, I had to share a piece of what I saw that day. Through the local support groups I was able to track down their mother, Jodi, and first, compliment her on what an amazing job she must be doing with her boys! Then second, ask her if I can share a little bit about them here. What did I see that I had to share? I almost can’t even capture it here, you almost just need to see them in action, but I am going to try. The younger brother, Jacob is 14 and confined to a wheelchair. He has the diagnosis of cystic fibrosis as well as Cerebral Palsy. It is clear that physically he is very challenged but other than that, Jacob sounded to me to be an otherwise very typical, funny, excited, 14 year old boy. His brother Brendon is 16 and just got his driver’s license (he even pulled out his wallet to prove it!). What is so special about these brothers that  gives me my signature “cry eyes” when I think about it? They absolutely, 100%, exuded love for each other. Brendon was as nurturing as a parent typically is to their child to his younger brother. I saw it from the start. When they wheeled up, Jacob was given a hard hat to put on,...