Monday, August 09, 2010

Windy and Winded

I am now writing from a much more mature vantage point of 29.  29 years that is.  My last year in the twenties.  I hope it is a good year ahead.  A year where I learn and grow in my walk with the Lord instead of becoming bitter and stunted by the pain in life.  A year where I can keep my mind and heart focused on God's calling for today instead of regrets for the past.  A year where the joy of the Lord is my strength instead of walking by my own tune of, "I can do this", and then promptly crashing.    

It has been a whirlwind of a time here in San Fransisco.  Since we arrived we have been doing a lot of intense training with the Masgutova Method for kids with brain injuries and cerebral palsy.  We are busy every day from 8 am to 8 pm with therapy sessions and training.  It's kind of like college but with a baby strapped at your side ;).

We are very glad to be here and are learning so much.  Calvin has also been working with PT's, OT's, visual therapists, as well as PT's and OT's trained in the Masgutova Method.  It has been a very unique experience to be with 34 families with special-needs children.  Some children are completely unable to do anything, even lifting up the head or moving an arm.  Others are much more highly functioning.  It has been a great encouragement to speak with other parents and make friends with those who face similar situations.  Most families are American but there are also people from Sweden, Hong Kong, India, etc.   

 Many people have wondered why we went to San Fran for this therapy, what is so special about it?  In it's simplest form it is a therapy that is specifically targeted at the reflexes of the body.  Calvin's brain does not send the proper signals and responses to his body and therefore his reflexes are very dysfunctional.  Masgutova, a Polish doctor, has developed a program that retrains the reflexes by giving the appropriate sensory stimulus and the correct motor response.  For example, if you press on the inside of a baby's palm, the fingers should open.  Calvin's stay tightly closed.  Reflexes are needed for everything from maintaining balance, protecting us from falling, walking properly, holding your head up, and so on.  All of them come from the brain stem.  The idea is that the therapy "talks" directly to the brain by teaching the body over and over to do the reflexes properly.  I am oversimplifying this but maybe it gives you an idea.  

Many of the families we have talked to have seen substantial progress or acceleration in their children with this therapy.  The body becomes aware of itself and how to properly use the reflexes which in turn makes way for progress in cognitive development and more.  Many autistic children are now speaking, a little boy is now walking with "sticks" after years of PT with no progress, children sit for the first time, etc.  It is not a miracle cure, but it is a new approach that has undeniably helped many of the 27,000 children who have participated in this therapy.  Many of the studies are published in the East and they are now working towards getting studies published in the West.  And they have now obtained a non-profit status as well in the US, yay! 

Calvin is on the low end of the the spectrum and faces many challenges.  We do feel that if anything will help him it may be this therapy combined with PT and OT.  It is possible that nothing may help him, but we don't know that yet.  His brain has sustained very substantial damage which means he has much less resources to work with, but we don't know his limits until we try.  So we are proceeding cautiously, hopeful, yet not expectant. 

 Well, I'm not sure if you made it through all that.  Pretty dry I know, if you're not interested, but for those of you who are, I hope it's helpful.  I'm just skimming the surface of it all.  And here I am at the end of a post with no pictures!  Shame.  Maybe soon?  Now I'm off to study neurostructure....oooh, you're jealous now, eh?


Kate said...

Interesting! We'll be praying for lots of blessings on everything you're learning.

KarenKTeachCamb said...

Well done Kara! Great job explaining in everyday language. I'll continue to pray for you, Daryl, Sophie, Noah, Evie, and Calvin. I think of you often.
Be encouraged girl! You may feel like you have struggled this past year, and I know you have, but you have also grown through this experience. It has drawn you and Daryl closer together, and you have not given up hope! I know there have been days when you felt like you had, but I've seen you draw on the well deep within you that only our wonderful God can fill. You've grown and I know you'll keep growing this year, just like we all need to. Your precious to Him and to all those around you, including those on the other side of the globe! Love you Kara, and I know that God will continue to provide beyond your wildest dreams, maybe not how you might want or expect, but definitely all you need.

KarenKTeachCamb said...
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Lesley said...

Hey Kara and gang! Just so you know, this is ANYTHING but boring. This is the best way for us in Cambodia to keep up with what's going on with you guys over there, and we're prayerfully interested. Keep on with the news and MISS you guys terribly out here now that school has started.