The Sound of Music is hands-down Kimberly’s favorite (and just maybe mine too), so this all seems quite appropriate when you think about it!
After playing around with the idea for a few years, and wondering if Kimberly was even a good candidate for this type of intervention, I contacted the local Brain Balance Center. Their approach of strengthening the weaker side of the brain through physical and cognitive exercises seems viable and apparently has been successful for many of their students. We have long felt, and known in a non-concrete kind of way, that Kimberly’s struggles are neurological in their origin. This seemed like a potential way to unlock or connect some of the pathways that were never established.
We went for the assessment and the follow-up meeting. They are professional and their process does much to put the parents at ease. As expected (by us), Kimberly was not entirely cooperative with their assessment procedures and getting an accurate “read” on her abilities was difficult. I appreciated their honesty with this. Ultimately though, the bottom line is that she is, or would be, one of their more complicated cases. They would require her to be one-on-one and with only a thirty minute session versus the typical one hour. I agree with those recommendations, but I think for right now…we have some homework to do ourselves. My goal is that she will progress with the “therapy” approach we want to try at home so that she might actually benefit from their program in the future – or we can implement that too.
I am writing all of this to preface the real lesson that has presented itself to us through this process. As it turns out, there are no “cutting corners” with development. I remember during Kimberly’s first/second year when she went from hardly being able to sit up unassisted (at 13 months) to wanting to pull to stand up (at 14 months). Like most toddlers, curiosity was a major driving force. I was so focused on the pronation of her feet and her total lack of stability that I didn’t give much thought to the fact that she never crawled. Not at all. With her hypotonia, I imagine it was actually easier to stand and hold onto something that it would have been to crawl…using core strength she did not have. I recall a conversation with her PT about the benefits of crawling and how it can affect motor skills of all kinds later on if this step is passed over by a child.
Fast forward 6 years or so…I tried to get Kimberly to crawl for me this morning. She could not do it. The motor planning, coordination, and cross-hemisphere neurological process required were something she never fully developed. So there Brad and I were, clip board in hand, a list of primitive reflex exercises to complete, looking at each other with the expression of “wow, this is interesting, now what do we do”…talk about taking it back a few notches! In order for us to help Kimberly strengthen the right hemisphere and the communication between both sides of her brain we have to go all the way back, back to the beginning. I am trying look at it as a forward motion either way.