Showing posts with label Alternative Therapy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alternative Therapy. Show all posts

Apr 3, 2012

Kids Beyond Limitations


I find something interesting. When Chloe has an ear infection, there are multiple antibiotics available to help treat the cause of her symptoms. This way if she has an allergy to a medication or a contraindication with another medication she is on, or if one antibiotic just tends to work better for her, then options are availble. However, when it comes to physical limitations, there is only one option: physical therapy. Please don't misunderstand, I am not under-cutting the specialty of physical therapy. It has its place for many people and many indications. However, would it not be logical that OPTIONS be avilable? Just like the example of antibiotics, wouldn't it make sense to see what the response is for that specific person and/or that specific diagnosis or symptom? Physical therapy doesn't seem to be working, so shouldn't we be trying something else? Yes, physical therapy works for many people, just like penicillin does. BUT, just like penicillin, it doesn't work for everyone.

Well, that's what we did a few years ago. We tried something else. I had heard through the special needs blogging grapevine about Anat Baniel Method (ABM). I thought I'd give it a whirl. In the first half hour visit, Chloe made more progress than she had made in over two years of physical therapy! I felt a difference in her core strength after a half hour! I knew I had to provide this therapy for my daughter. Unfortunately, though, since the healthcare industry only understands and approves physical therapy as a valid form of treatment, we had to pay for every dime. But since my husband and parents also immediately noticed the difference in little Chloe's body, it didn't seem like a burden to sell some of our possessions and humbly accept financial contributions from my parents. After only 3 months of Chloe being in ABM, she could hold her head on her own, use her hands better, and sit with limited assistance. Because we could not afford to keep it up (we only had so many possessions to sell!), we had to quit the therapy and watch the regression.

Whoa. I didn't plan on getting on such a soap box, but it just kind of happened! Anyway, what brought this up was the fact that Anat Baniel, just last week released a book all about this therapy. At first I was excited about the book, then sad because it was just a reminder that we can't afford to do what works for our little Chloe! BUT (whoa, me and my soap box on this post! Sorry!).... in case anyone else CAN afford this and/or is just interested in learning more, I had to share our experience and the news about the book release!

My main point? If you're not seeing results with traditional therapy, look into this book. If you can find an ABM practitioner in your area, then give it a whirl. In some areas, they have free sessions so people can try it and see if it works for them. It's worth looking into!


Jan 17, 2012

A Wise Man's Remedy


I've mentioned it before, but my family has recently started using and become believers in essential oils. The one I believe most firmly in, though, is Frankincense. (The most expensive one, of course!) I recently discussed this with a neurologist and he said that they are currently conducting many scientific studies to prove the many positive effects of Frankincense, but that he is already a believer in it. He eagerly encouraged me to continue using it for Chloe.

I can say without hesitation that Frankincense has helped, heck practically eliminated, her sleeping issues. Maybe that's because it has helped with joint pain or anxiety, I don't know exactly what it does to help, but I know it helps.

They have recently linked medicinal benefits of frankincense to therapeutic benefits for bladder cancer. You can read an article about it here.

I think those wise men were really on to something....

Jan 4, 2012

Adaptive Sports Academy Class

As a mom of a child with special needs, there have been times where I've been frustrated by "limitations".

Oh, you know... the basics. Little things like speech limitations, social skills, or ability to control behavior, etc, etc. But I get it. It's all part of the package and thus, our life. We work around it. We immerse ourselves in therapy, doctor appoints, and medication. With time and LOTS of work and repetition things can and do get better. Progress is made.

But.... there is one area that has been a continual challenge for us on this journey. Because of Jackson's disability, finding interests for him outside of our home has been a challenge. While typical kids can choose from dance, music, the arts, and sports, Jackson has not had the desire or ability to really connect with any particular interest or hobby. Part of that is because he has a hard time connecting with people in general. However, he does enjoy Scouts. Yay, for Cub Scouts!

I think if we lived closer to SLC, there would be more opportunities for him to participate in adaptive sports and activities. Plus, let's face it. When you have a child with special needs AND other children with their own set of needs, the money you normally dedicate to that child's "typical activities" is instead dedicated to their therapy, medication, and medical bills. Plus, when you are going to OT, PT, Speech, and Psych - who has time for one more thing, right? :)

We also tried to get Jackson to "play down" on community leagues with his younger brother. For a few years, this seemed to work well. Although, now we're at a point where the younger age group's skill set is advancing and Jackson is finding it more difficult to keep up. Plus, the desire is not there. In baseball, he enjoys hitting, but would rather pick grass when it is his turn to be in the outfield.

So... what to do, what to do?

This past fall, this topic was on my mind heavily. Jackson has been a therapy kid for 11 years and I have felt the tides beginning to turn. I needed to find something for him that wasn't so clinical. Heaven knows we have our clinical plates FULL! I also wanted to find something for Jackson that would be enjoyable and let him interact with other kids (social therapy) in a more typical environment.

Do you every have those moments where you know you were lead to a certain point? Well, on a certain day in October, I had that a-ha moment. I knew I was where I needed to be. After dropping Lex off at dance, I decided to venture west to a tumbling facility in K-town. But... they were closed. Every time I've stopped there - they've been closed. Grrr...!

I then remembered the Sportsplex. I remembered Collin had participated in their Sports Academy programs in the summer. It was worth a try. So I stopped in and began asking questions at the front desk and described what I was looking for.

One thing led to another and I ended up talking to the Gym Manager, Joel. He was great and very receptive to my questions. While the gym didn't currently offer anything I was describing (other than individual personal training and a kid's class), he said he was happy to help me put something together.

At first I thought I would like to take on another project / opportunity. (There really aren't a lot of adaptive activity options in Davis County.) But, I also knew my plate was full. So... we decided to go with the existing kids' classes and hope for the best.

Not more than two weeks later, we were at ward party and our new neighbors sat down beside us. Camille Bennett is darling and just happens to be finishing her masters in.... wait for it.... Special Education Physical Education. She is currently working in programs like the one I want set up at the Sportsplex.

So, I said... "Camille! I have a business idea for you! You would be perfect for this. There is such a need for these types of programs in Davis County."

Fast forward two months, and.... it is happening! My neighbor, Camille, and Joel, from the Gym, have worked their magic and have created an Adaptive Sports Academy Class. It is going to be great. Here is all of the information. If you are still with me this far into the post, PLEASE help us pass along the information to anyone who may need a little extra help with coordination, agility, sports, technique, social skills, etc. This isn't necessarily a class for kids with "special needs". After all, what does that mean anyway? For heaven sakes, I have special needs - lots of them. :) It is a class for anyone who may not flourish in the typical environment - for someone who may need to take things a little slower and who needs a bit of extra help. This is the class!

They probably need about 10 participants to really make the class work. If they have more register, additional classes will be added. I truly think this is a perfect opportunity for so many kids who just didn't thrive in traditional sport settings. I am crossing my fingers that it will be a success.

(ps - I'm not be compensated to promote this class, nor am I affiliated with the class in anyway. Well, other than being a passionate mama bear who wants to find programs for her son.) :)

pss: Now go!!! Help me spread the word! Classes begin Thursday, January 26, 2012

Adaptive Sports Academy Information

Class Description:

Adaptive Youth Academy provides children who have unique abilities and needs with the opportunity to learn and practice athletic skills, improve fitness levels and to improve self-confidence. Not to mention, having the opportunity to be part of a team. If they enjoy playing sports and want to be a part of a team this is a great opportunity and your kids will LOVE it. This class will be taught by Camille Bennett.

This class will be offered on Thursday from 4-5pm. If there is enough interest a second class will be from 5-6pm on Thursdays. Classes will begin on Thursday, January 26, 2012.

Adaptive Youth Academy is just $30 per month for SportsPlex members or $40 per month for nonmembers. The classes are grouped into four sessions that each include eight weeks of instruction. For example, Session III runs from Jan. 26 to March 15 — classes are not held during weeks surrounding major holidays. There is a one-time enrollment fee of $20.* If you already paid the enrollment fee when you registered for Session I, you don’t need to pay any enrollment fee to register for Session III. You can pay the enrollment fee online to secure your child’s spot in the program.

Some quick facts about the new Adaptive Youth Academy class:

· Adaptive Youth Academy provides children who have unique abilities and needs with the opportunity to learn and practice athletic skills, improve fitness levels, and to improve self-confidence.
· This is a great opportunity for to be part of a team and practice sport skills.
· This program provides a smaller group, more practice time, and adaptations needed to help each athlete learn skills at their own pace.

Bio about the teacher:

Camille (Lott) Bennett is currently a Master’s student at the University of Utah in Special Physical Education. Camille grew up in Kaysville and attended Davis High School. While growing up she played many different sports. Her main focus in athletics was Track and Field. She was recruited to be a sprinter and hurdler at Weber State University. She received many All-Conference Awards and was a three-time Big Sky Conference Champion in the Women’s Mile Relay. Camille got her Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education, Health Promotion, and Coaching Sport. She has spent over 500 hours planning, teaching, and coaching students with disabilities in Davis and Weber School Districts. Camille is married to Justin Bennett and is currently living in Layton.


If you know of any similar classes in your area, please leave a comment!


Dec 1, 2011

Now I Can Photographic Documentary Book

This time of year it seems like everyone around the world opens their hearts and their wallets to help those around them. It's actually quite a beautiful thing. Part of me doesn't care that it's only during this time of year that people seem more charitable. It seems appropriate, really, that if there is only 1 time of year when we all open our hearts to more giving of our time, talents, and physical would be now. It makes me happy. If you happen to be looking for a good cause in which to help or donate to, I have an opportunity for you here.

Many of you know that Samantha attended therapy at Now I Can this past Fall. It was fantastic and we will return in March 2012. While we were there, I met a photographer, Michael Ririe, who became attached to these children. He has devoted his time and talents to spreading the word, through is talent, about Now I Can ~ and our children. Most recently, he has put a book together filled with pictures and written contributions from families. It is beautiful. He's waiting to gather the funds for publication. Maybe it's 'cause my baby girl in it a few times and I actually wrote in the book...I mean, that is kind of cool...but I want this book published. I really do believe this book will make a difference. His previous work to draw attention to Now I Can was a success, but he's turned it up a notch with this book. In creating a book of professional photographs that showcase these children...their beauty, spirit, and well as what is written about them, we are hoping to bring more awareness and raise funds for the center -- allowing more financial assistance to families like us. We were recipients of a grant that helped cover some of the expense. That extra money made a big difference to us and insured Samantha's return to Now I Can. What if every family in need could send their child to Now I Can with some kind of financial assistance? What is the potential of this small book? It will raise awareness. It will tell the real story to future possible donors. And ALL proceeds generated will go back to Now I Can therapy grant fund. 100%. That money will go towards Sammy. It could go to your child. $1? $5? $12.75? $25. More? We have 348 "registered" followers on Kidz. What if we all donated $5? That's $1,740. Pretty cool. Anyway. Check out the link to Kickstarter -- Now I Can -- A Photographic Documentary Book and watch the video. And decide. If enough people don't support it and the book doesn't happen, your donation won't be charged. You won't "lose" a thing. We have until December 31. But if there are enough of us, and this book does happen, you could be one of the many helping families just like ours.

The video, alone, is worth a look.


Nov 22, 2011

Lego Social Skills Club...

Many of our children struggle with social skills, initiating and maintaining social conversations, and developing friendships among peers their own age.

I came across this short video and thought it might be an idea that would be helpful to families. Perhaps it could be adapted to fit your child and their needs and interests (Legos, Star Wars, Polly Pockets, etc).


Oct 10, 2011

Full Heart

I was asked to write a letter to the donors at Now I Can, explaining our experience.

To Whom it May Concern:

When we stumbled across Now I Can, it felt right. I frequently follow my feelings -- but this feeling required more money than I usually spend, so I did my research. And our decision was made. We weren't sure how, but we were getting our Samantha to Utah.

After we decided, we scheduled her session, and miracles began to happen. The finances appeared little by little. A place to stay opened up for us (we are from California). And everything just fell into place.

Upon arriving and beginning therapy at Now I Can, those tiny miracles continued. Samantha is 5 years old with extremely tight muscles (high muscle tone). In just 3 weeks, I've seen more improvement in her body and body control than I've seen in over a year! She stands with increased stability now, flat on her feet a majority of the time. She stands straight up instead of with her back hunched over. And she extends her arms out further than she once could.

Since being here, I've seen many physical changes in her, but I also see a proverbial door opening up for her as she gains control and learns to master her body. What an incredible gift of increased quality of life. With each stretch and movement here, her future opportunities are increasing. She gains better knowledge of the world around her as she gains the proper mobility that enables her to explore it. Again, what a gift.

Please take it most sincerely when I say Thank You. Thank you for supporting Now I Can -- a seemingly small facility that brings about incredible change.

Jeanette G.


Sep 20, 2011

Just the Essentials


My mother-in-law recently started using essential oils for many common ailments.

Although I tease her incessantly about her "witch's brew book"....

I have actually found these natural remedies to be very successful on many occasions. Enough so that I just had to share this idea with you all! I'm sure many of you already use essential oils, but if not, you may want to consider it. Most people and research recommend doTERRA brand over others.


Jul 14, 2011

I Can Reach for the Stars

What is it like to mount my horse, To touch his warm body,
To breathe in his scent..
What is it like to move in his rhythm, to feel every rise Every fall
Of each hoof?
What is it like when we both work together, We move and we run
and we turn and we Halt...
What is it like? You might ask...Let me tell you..
My mind opens up..My body relaxes.. My heart fills with hope
I can Reach for the Stars!!

Robin Montegari

Jul 13, 2011

Hunter: Now I Can

Watch this video of Hunter's therapy at Now I Can, an organization that does intensive physical therapy. Hunter's mom, Chrystal, said the therapy was a definite success and soon she'll be doing a more formal review of her experience at Now I Can. In the meantime, enjoy the song and lyrics that are the backdrop to Hunter's video: Now I Can by Jarrett Burns.

You knew all you had to do was plant a seed
And inch by inch, watch it grow in me
With every step, you knew all I had to take
Was a part of this, a part of finding my own way

'Cause it was buried in me, doubt and disbelief
Tiny and afraid, wanting to believe
There is so much more to me.

'Cause now I can
See what I couldn't see
That all I need is right here inside of me
And you showed me the keys

'Cause now I can
Do almost anything,
Overcome impossibilities
You gave this to me

Now I Can
Climb all the mountains
Or chase away the shadows,
Reach for the stars
And know that tomorrow
Could be whatever I can be today

Now I Can
See what I couldn't see
That all I need is right here inside of me
And you showed me the keys

Now I Can.

Now I Can needs your help to win up to $250,000 from the “Vivint Gives Back Project” to help children with disabilities!

Please take 30 seconds EACH DAY until August 27th to do something great for a special child.

Follow this link to vote for Now I Can.

Please contact Tracey with any questions:

May 20, 2011

Bubble Fun


Here's a fun idea from Your Therapy Source (love that site!):
a fun outdoor activity to encourage oral motor, fine motor and eye hand coordination skills using bubbles and household items....

May 10, 2011

Primary and Secondary Therapies for Sensory Processing Disorder and other Issues

(....from Growing and In-Sync Child, by Carol Kranowitz and Joye Newman (Perigee 2010) and from a handout given to me by Carol Karnowitz when I attended her seminar on SPD, at Utah State University, in Logan, Utah; in 2010.)

Many of the individuals who have 7q11.23 Duplication or other syndromes or disabilites also have trouble with some aspect of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). SPD has also been referred to as Sensory Integration Disorder. The list below includes basic information about some professionals and their therapies that may benefit a child with Sensory Processing Disorder. For more details and information, see

But first, what is Sensory Processing Disorder?

Think of a developing child as a tree. The stronger the roots, the more nutrients will be absorbed, the more anchored the tree will be, and the sturdier the trunk and branches will grow. A child with strong roots is likely to grow into a sturdy, thriving, blossoming individual.

We think of a child's roots as having three major components - Sensory Processing skills, Perceptual Motor skills, and Visual skills. Sensory Processing Disorder occurs when these core areas are out of sync.

Sensory Processing involves touch, movement, and position senses. These are all primary to development. Tactile processing refers to touch or being touched by either a person or objects. Vestibular processing is taking in sensations about the pull of gravity through the inner ear and then responding to these sensations. And proprioceptive processing is the unconscious awareness of sensations coming from muscles and joints.

Perceptual Motor skills depend upon a sound sensory processing base. These skills include balance, bilateral coordination, body awareness, directionality, mid-line crossing, motor planning, and spatial awareness. Visual Processing is the interpretation and response to information received through the eyes. Some essential visual processing skills are acuity, binocularity, and visual tracking.

Primary Therapies

Occupational Therapy using a Sensory Integration Framework (OT-SI)
Professional: Occupational Therapist (OT)
The ideal OT is one who has received additional postgraduate training in sensory integration theory and treatment. The specific goals of occupational therapy using a (OT-SI) framework are to improve the person's social participation, self-esteem, self-regulation and sensory-motor abilities.

Under the guidance of a therapist, the child actively takes in movement and touch information in playful, meaningful, and natural ways that help his brain modulate these fundamental neural messages.

Physical Therapy
Professional: Physical Therapist
Is a therapy that is devoted to improving an individual's physical abilities. It involves activities that strengthen the child's muscular control and motor coordination, especially in large muscles.

Secondary Therapies (in alphabetical order)

Auditory Therapy, or Auditory Training
Professional: Audiologist, Speech-and-Language Therapist, Occupational Therapist, or other qualified specialist
A method of sound stimulation designed to improve a person's listening and communicative skills, learning capabilities, motor coordination, body awareness and self-esteem. Various methods employ the use of special headphones. Over several days, the child listens passively to music and voices filtered through the headphones and then participates in active voice work, such as repeating sounds, reading aloud, and conversing. therapy helps the ear to attend to and discriminate among sounds, the vestibular system to integrate sensory messages of balance and posture, and the person to become more focused, centered, and organized. The Therapeutic Listening Program, designed by Sheila Frick, OTR/L, is an excellent home program that is supervised by a therapist while the child is receiving services. See:, or

Brain Gym
Professional: Licensed Brain Gym Practitioner
The Brain Gym system is a set of 26 specific movements developed by Paul Dennison PHD, based on research in Educational Kinesiology. Educational Kinesiology studies education, child development, and physical movement of the human body as it relates to learning and expression skills. The system readies the body to learn by integrating visual, auditory, and kinesthetic functioning. It stimulates the nervous system equally in all brain parts, minimized one-sided brain reactions, and strengthens neural pathways between the two hemispheres. The activities effect rapid and often dramtic improvements in concentration, memory, reading, writing, organizing, listening, physical coordination, and more. See

Professional: Chiropractor
Chiropractic is the philosophy, art and science of detecting and correcting subluxation in the human body. Subluxation is a partial dislocation or abnormal movement of a bone in a joint. Chiropractic helps children with SPD by specifically addressing the structure and function of the nerves, muscles, and joints controlling posture and movement that influence our ability to interact with our environment. or

CranioSacral Therapy (CST)
Professional: Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, Chiropractor, Osteopath, Massage Therapist, or other Registered Craniosacral Practitioner (RCST)
CST is a gentle method of evaluating and enhancing the function of the craniosacral system (the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that protect the brain and spinal cord). CST involves light touch manipulation of the bones in the skull, sacrum and coccyx to correct an imbalance that can adversely affect the development of the brain and spinal cord and can result in sensory, motor, and neurological dysfunction. Developed by Dr. John Upledger, CST is used by a variety of health care professionals. Contact: The Upledger Institute, or

Hippotherapy (therapy with a horse)
Professional: Certified Instructor
Hippotherapy means "treatment with the help of a horse." Occupational, physical and speech therapists use the horse as a modality to improve the posture, movement, neuro-motor function and sensory processing of people with disabilities. The movement of the horse, with traditional therapy intervention, influences muscle tone, encourages muscle action, and improves vestibular reactions, sensori-motor integration, and mid-line postural control. Contact North American Riding for the Handicapped Association, or Center for Equine Facilitated Therapy,, or Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association,

Interactive Metronome
Professional: OT, SLP, PT, ATC, Educator, Psychiatrist, Neurologist, Psychologist, Chiropractic, Rehabilitation Professional or other Medical, and Mental Health Professional
Interactive metronome (IM) was developed in the early 1990s and is used to help children (and adults) with learning and developmental disorders, including auditory and sensory processing disorders, dyslexia and other learning disorders, autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, Tourette's syndrome, stroke, traumatic brain injury, and more. IM is a neuro-motor assessment and treatment tool used in therapy to improve the neurological processes of motor planning and sequencing. Motor planning and sequencing are central to human activity. From The coordinated movements needed to walk, to the order of words in a sentence, planning and sequencing are critical to efficient human function. Interactive metronome improves motor planning and sequencing by using neuro-sensory and neuro-motor exercises developed to improve the brain's inherent ability to repair or remodel itself through a process called neuroplasticity. See

Nutritional Therapy, Dietary Intervention
Professional: Nutritionist
Good nutrition is essential for development, efficient maintenance and functioning, optimum activity level, and resistance to infection and disease. A nutritionist can help a person with nutritional deficiencies achieve balance in carbohydrates, fats, protein, vitamins, minerals, and water. Contact: Autism Network for Dietary Intervention,

Perceptual Motor Therapy
Professional: Perceptual Motor Therapist
Perceptual motor therapy provides integrated movement experiences that remediate gross motor, fine motor, and visual perception problems. Activities, including sensory input techniques, stimulate left and right-brain communication to help the child interpret incoming information to the nervous system. Goals are to improve visual motor perception, develop more mature patterns of response to specific stimuli, improve motor skills and balance, and stimulate alternate routes to memory and sequencing for those children who do not respond to the methods taught in the conventional classroom. Contact: Kids Moving Co.,

Professional: Psychotherapy is sometimes appropriate, particularly if the child has behavior or self-image problems or is depressed. (Psychotherapy deals with the effects of SI disorder, but not the underlying causes.) Psychotherapies include behavioral therapy, to help the child deal with problematic symptoms and behaviors; family therapy to help the child, parents and siblings become a healthier unit; and play therapy, to promote the child's social-emotional development. See

Speech and Language Therapy
Professional: Speech / Language Pathologist (SLP)
Speech-language therapy includes activities designed to meet specific goals for the child. The child may need help with speech skills, such as pronouncing "L", "K", or "SH" sounds; monitoring the pitch of his voice; and strengthening oral-motor control in the muscles of his mouth. He may also benefit from activities designed to expand his language skills, such as retelling stories, conversing, and playing games to develop memory and vocabulary. As many children with SPD are picky eaters, therapy with a a speech pathologist trained in oral-motor and feeding issues may be very helpful. Indeed, when the child receives co-treatment simultaneously from and occupational therapist trained in this area, optimal benefits of getting in the mouth occur. Contact American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA),

Vision Therapy, or Vistion Training (VT)
Professional: Developmental (or Behavioral) Optometrist
Vision therapy, or optometric visual training, helps the person improve visual skills and can also prevent learning-related visual problems. Along with Lenses or prisms, VT helps the child integrate visual information with input from other senses, such as hearing, touching, and moving. A developmental optometrist provides sensory-motor and educational activities that strengthen eye-motor control, eye-hand coordination and depth perception, and help develop visual perception. Contact; or Optometric Extension Program Foundation:, or Parents Active for Vision Education;


May 3, 2011

Minute to Win It

I saw this idea on Your Therapy Source, taking Minute to Win It ideas to help improve fine motor skills, help with sensory integration, etc.... therapy disguised as fun? Genius!

Here are the ideas they shared:

1. Fine Motor Challenges

How high can you build a tower of marshmallows and toothpicks in one one minute?
How many paper clips can you chain together in one minute?
How many coins can you flip over from heads to tails in one minute?
How many stacks of 10 pennies can you build in one minute?

2. Sensory Challenges

From the show - unroll two rolls of toilet paper and wrap it around yourself in under one minute
How many times can you push a therapy ball through a tunnel in one minute?

3. Activities of Daily Living Challenges

How many times can you tie and untie your shoe in one minute?
How many times can you put on and take off your coat completely in one minute?

You get the idea. Vary the challenges as necessary based on your child's motor skills. Or just check out all the ideas on the Minute to Win It site for something the whole family can to do together!


I am just so excited I think I am going to burst. This is going to be a great year for Hailey! Lots of alternative therapy happening for her. Things that we believe she will benefit from. I’ve spoken about Conductive Education in great lengths, through conductors, other moms, and shown videos. I think you all understand it better now. In addition to attending Conductive Education in May, Hailey will also be starting hippotherapy when we get back from Michigan. The first time I read about hippotherapy was a couple of years ago while vacationing in Florida. I read about a stable in Ocala that offered hippotherapy to children with Cerebral Palsy, the article explained how being on top of a horse could help build core strength. When we got home from vacation we immediately started looking into the centers in our state, Hailey was too young then, but we believe she is ready now. We recently learned that there is a center about 45 minutes away from us!!!!! Sunday we went to visit the center to get more get more familiar with hippotherapy and also to see how Hailey would react. I think the photos say it all...Hailey loved it. We placed her on top of a pony and she wasn’t scared at all (she’s a little daredevil anyway). In fact when I put her on the ground, she tried to crawl right under the fence into the horses stable. I think she is ready for sure.
This is what we learned about hippotherapy:

Hippotherapy is a physical, occupational and speech therapy treatment strategy that utilizes equine movement. The word “hippotherapy” literally means “treatment with the help of the horse” from the Greek word “hippos” meaning horse. Specially trained physical and occupational therapists use this treatment for individuals with movement dysfunction as part of an integrated treatment program to achieve functional outcomes.
In a controlled hippotherapy environment, the horse influences the rider rather than the rider controlling the horse. The rider is positioned on the horse and actively responds to his movement. The therapist directs the movement of the horse, analyzes the rider’s responses, and adjusts the treatment and horse’s movement accordingly. Specific riding skills are not taught (as in other therapeutic horseback riding programs), but rather a foundation is established to improve neurological function and sensory processing. This foundation can be generalized to a wide range of daily activities.
The unique nature of hippotherapy allows the rider to engage in activities on the horse that are enjoyable and challenging.
Why the horse?
A horse's walk and gait provides movement (or “sensory input”) that is variable, rhythmic, and repetitive. The resulting responses from the rider are similar to human movement patterns of the pelvis while walking. The therapist can observe and grade the degree of sensory input to the rider, and then utilize this movement in combination with other treatment strategies to achieve desired results. Riders respond enthusiastically to this enjoyable experience in a natural setting.
What are the benefits of hippotherapy?
Occupational and Physical Therapists use engaging horseback activities to treat children as young as 2 years of age and throughout their teenage years. This increasingly popular method helps clients meet their individual clinical goals including: improved gait, mobility, strength, and balance; sensory processing and modulation skills; & endurance and independence. Therapists also target communication and behavioral skills through these therapies.
Functional limitations that may be improved with hippotherapy:
• Gross motor skills such as sitting, standing, walking
• Speech and language abilities
• Behavioral and cognitive abilities
Who performs hippotherapy?
Therapists who perform hippotherapy are actually physical, occupational or speech therapists. Hippotherapy is the treatment strategy used by these skilled practitioners to achieve functional outcomes.
Does the therapist work alone with the rider?
Therapists performing hippotherapy normally work with a horse handler. This individual is charge of the handling of the horse during the treatment session. The handler has received extra training in handling horses specifically for hippotherapy.

Apr 20, 2011

Eagle Eyes

Thank you, Jill, for sharing this with us! This is long, but WELL WORTH your time. This is a story about a family with 21 adopted children with special needs. Their story is touching, inspiring, motivating, and they also share information about EagleEyes Technology....

For all information about the EagleEyes Project of Boston College, including contact information, go here. For information about The Opportunity Foundation (assistance program partnered with Boston College that helps with training and distribution of the EagleEyes Program), go here.

Apr 12, 2011

Magnetic Molecular Energizer

Guest post by Jennifer of Today is Where Your Book Begins, a blog about her son, Wade.

Do you ever have moments where you meet someone and you just know God put them in your path for a reason? I think it actually happens quite often, but sometimes we don't see it because we're not looking. Thank goodness my eyes were wide open in January when Wade and I were flying home from VA after Christmas.

While waiting in line at airport security in Norfolk, VA, I couldn't help but stare at a guy in a wheelchair who was struggling to put his belt back on after his turn. As Wade's future flying situations flashed through my mind, I made a mental note to never have Wade wear a belt when flying. It's just one more thing to deal with. It just so happened that this guy and his dad were on our same flight, and they sat right in front of us. Once on the plane, we had a brief exchange of how he got down the aisle, but that was it. Once we landed, we rode the elevator down together to baggage claim. Again, no exchange of words. As fate would have it, their ride was parked next to our van in the parking garage. As we were loading Wade in, the dad (Phil) came up and asked if Wade had cerebral palsy. He proceeded to tell us that his son (Adam) had just undergone some "magnetic treatment" in VA Beach, and he thought it might be something we'd be interested in.

Long story short, Phil directed us to a facility where his brother (Dr. John Williamson) is a doctor. Come to find out, Adam had suffered a spinal cord injury and was a quadriplegic...four years ago!!! As of today, Adam can wheel his own manual wheelchair, drive his own truck, feed himself, take care of himself, etc. Absolutely amazing!!! While I think there is a fine line in trying to "fix" Wade versus improving his functionality, I thought we should give it a shot. After a little research and conversations with the doctor, we set up an appointment and booked our flights.

Wade and I stayed at AMRI of Virginia for two weeks. In order to get the best results, Wade had to stay under the strong magnetic field for 200 hours. It was a lot easier to log hours than I anticipated. The majority of the hours added up overnight, then we got a few hours in during the day while napping or just watching TV. Thank goodness Wade loves TV and can lay in the same area without wanting to move too much! I was also able to stay up on the bed with him if he wanted me to. During the day, I would sometimes nap with him or read while he was sleeping. At night, I typically slept on the very comfy day bed! Once Wade's asleep, he stays in one place, so I wasn't worried about him rolling off.




Magnetic Molecular Energizer treatments are still experimental, therefore not FDA approved. Which of course means insurance does not cover! However, I wholeheartedly believe it is worth every penny! In layman's terms, the theory behind the treatments (with neurological issues) is that the magnets stimulate immature stem cells to actually fix damaged nerve endings (which science says can't happen) or at least cause the brain to form new routes. There is no way to actually prove what is happening, but quite honestly, I don't really care. All I know is that Wade is able to do things he wasn't able to do a month ago!

When we arrived, we were told that we would probably notice some slight changes around 100-140 hours under the magnet. I have to say, once we hit 100, I started to have a little doubt. I wasn't really noticing anything, and I was hoping we weren't wasting our time and money. However, between 140 and 150 hours, things started changing. The first major accomplishment was when Wade picked up a soda cup between his fists, lifted it off his tray, and got the straw directly in his mouth! It caught me by complete surprise. I just set the cup down on his tray to walk off and do something. I knew that it would stay where I placed it because he's never been able to reach anything off that tray. Imagine my surprise when I turned around and saw this!


After that, I started paying a little more attention to his movements. His trunk control was a lot better. He was able to sit on the couch and lean forward and maintain his balance. When he started to fall to the side, he would brace himself with his arm. Before this, he never even attempted to break his fall. He also started bearing weight when I attempted to have him stand. Prior to the treatment, his knees would always buckle beneath him. He also started having more mouth control, moving food around better when attempting to chew, and also a lot more vocalization. His neck control improved, as did his total body alignment. At first, I really thought I was imagining the results. But, there was also another patient at the facility, and she and her mom reveled in the changes. My parents live in the area, so they were able to come over and visit throughout the two weeks. They too started seeing the changes.


The biggest confirmation that the treatment worked was when we went to therapy when we got back in town. PT, OT, and speech all commented on the changes. I didn't tell them what I noticed. I let them work with him and had them tell me the changes they saw. Thank goodness their reaction was positive. I was afraid of being the crazy mom who had her son sleep under magnets!

The great thing about the treatment is that it is permanent. Since it "fixes" or "reroutes", it is not temporary. In fact, we should see continued improvement over the coming months. Wade had botox treatments about a week and a half before we went to VA. Had I thought more about it, I would've canceled the appointment. I'm hoping that when the botox wears off, we'll see even more movement because the muscles that have been "frozen" will have the ability to work differently now. Also, I think there is muscle activity that has been "triggered" but Wade has to learn how to use. Those leg muscles that he's now bearing weight on haven't worked in a long time! He's going to have to build up the strength in them before we see full results.

Below is a picture of Wade standing completely upright in the KidWalk. In the past, in order for his to have that upright trunk control, he would need to have his Benik vest on. This picture is of him holding himself up on his own! No vest needed!!! His little "girlfriend" Mallie loves helping him!


If we see continued results, we'll probably go back for another round in about six months. If anyone has any questions, feel free to contact me. I'd love to help out in any way I can. I can't speak for any of the other facilities, but I absolutely loved the one in VA Beach. In fact, I didn't want to come home! It was such a nice "vacation" not having to worry about school and therapy and doctor appointments. Not to mention house cleaning and cooking and errands!

Mar 2, 2011

A small dose of "The Medicine of Music"

After playing with balloons at a physical therapy session with my mom recently, I thought...what a great way to get Hailey to move her arms more, so this weekend I had a long overdue sleepover with Hailey. We had so much fun, we always do. I bought a couple of latex balloons at the iparty store and we started hitting them across the table. What a cheap, fun exercise, just listen to Hailey’s laughter in the second video, this does not seem like therapy at all and it is a great way to keep her moving.
If you listen carefully to the first video, you can hear a song playing in the back ground. It is a song I sent away for some time ago and was personalized for Hailey. It is from the songs of love foundation. This incredible foundation writes songs for children who face severe medical challenges. If you have a child who qualifies for this program, she will receive a cd in the mail within 4 weeks. Hailey absolutely loves this song, she loves that she hears her name in it over and over again. She cannot ask for it verbally, but in her ever so special way she asks for it every time she comes over. She smiles and gracefully extends her arm in the direction of my outdated cd player that sits on the kitchen counter. If for some reason we miss what she is pointing to, she will begin to sway and dance in her chair until I say “Oh, I know what you want” (insert Hailey’s smile here) you want to hear your song.
The mission of the Songs of Love Foundation is to bring healing music to chronically and terminally ill children across the country. The foundation is a national non profit organization. To date, Songs of Love has written more then 19,000 songs for children in more than 500 hospitals across the country and throughout the world. The pool of artists has grown to more then 350 songwriters, lyricists, instrumentalists and vocalists who have experienced the excitement of being able to give back with the talents they were given.

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.
-Victor Hugo


Jan 4, 2011

Brain Development 101

I've received a lot of emails and questions regarding a post that I wrote earlier about a therapy program that I have on my daughter at home. For those who live in California, if you are interested, Donna Bateman will be coming in January to do a seminar. Attending this seminar would more clearly answer any questions you have. If you can come, it may be worth the $90 for you. At the seminar I attended, there were people from Sacramento who had driven up for the day. If you are interested in having your child evaluated, I would contact Donna to schedule that, or even just talk to her to get a feel for it all before even deciding if you want to go to the seminar. I'm just putting it out there for you all. Here is the flier that I received (a little altered to fit into a blog format here) from Patty Ezell (who is the contact person here in the Bay Area). Who knows? This could be what you're looking for...or you could think it's a load of hay. If you're on the fence about it, she comes to this area roughly every 6 months, and you can always call her or Patty...or me.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and are ready to get back into the swing of things again! :)

Is Your Child Struggling With . . .

Developmental Delay
Social Struggles
Learning Difficulties
Inappropriate Behavior
Motor Skills
Poor Eye Contact

We Invite You to Attend

Brain Development 101
Saturday, January 29 9 am to 5 pm
Community Church, 3536 Monroe Street, Santa Clara, CA., 95051-1419

Course Objectives: By the end of the seminar, you will understand:

* how a child learns
* the root cause of most learning problems
* the seven main areas of brain function
* the order in which the brain learns all functions
* the significant milestones of brain development
* how to support and stimulate the healthy development of the brain
* what you can do TODAY if a child is not developing properly in some area
* the joy of understanding a child and participating in their development & learning

Donna Bateman, Neurodevelopment Specialist and mother of eight children, will lead you through the Integrative & Developmental Progression Chart. Learn about the aspects of a child’s physical, emotional, social, and neurological development and your critical role.

For information and registration contact Patty Ezell at 408-362-9780 or Please bring a lunch for a “working” break.

Cost is $90 per couple (normally $125) which includes materials.

Donna can be reached at

The Quadriciser


Here's a little info about The Quadriciser from their website:

With the Quadriciser motorized therapy system, those who are unable to walk can simulate reciprocal movements of walking while lying in the supine position. This cross-crawl pattern stimulates the brain and improves muscle function. The Quadriciser is a total body therapy system that offers a wide variety of therapies to those who are unable to move by themselves. As the user progresses, a more active therapy session may be obtained through simple adjustments of tension, speed, and resistance, thus providing even further results.

This video gives and introduction about what the Quadriciser is. I am definitely going to be checking into this piece of equipment.

You can also watch an interview with the creator of the Quadriciser on Exceptional Family TV here.


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