When we first found out we were having a baby with Spina Bifida we were in all honesty, devastated. Little did I know that Grayden was going to change my life and my way of thinking in so many positive ways. Not only have I met the most amazing people and friends, but I am also growing professionally and learning new things everyday.
For the last few months Grayden has been going to therapy twice a week at a place in Grand Rapids, called B.R.A.I.N.S, where he works with a PT named Renae. I met Renae about 3 years ago when I consulted with her regarding a child I was working with at the time that I was feeling "stuck" with. She came out with me on a home visit and worked with that child, and following her session with that child we noted great progress. So upon hearing that I had a child who has Spina Bifida I was reminded by a friend, of Renae's work in the Anat Baniel Method and it was suggested that we try it.
I cannot tell you how glad I am to have reconnected with her and to have been reintroduced to this work. The Anat Baniel Method is very different from what traditional therapy looks like and from much of what I learned in OT school. The focus of this therapy is really about Brain Plasticity, which means the brains ability to constantly change and form new connections. For Grayden this therapy has really been huge. This work focuses on connecting the body and the brain (somewhat similar to sensory integration techniques; however in a different way than what I have learned), and with that body awareness, utilizing movement and movement patterns to allow maximal function with less effort. I feel that Grayden has benefited from this therapy in so many ways. With this work Grayden is learning to move around his ABILITIES versus around his disabilities. This therapy looks much different than traditional therapy because it is working with the child where they are at developmentally versus placing them in positions that they are not doing and having them "work" in what is hard for them. This has been VERY different than what I am used to. I have always learned to work the child's muscles by placing them in the mulitple positions over, in, or on different equipment. Instead Anat Baniel Method works with the child while in positions that they are comfortable with and by focusing on the amazing things our human brain is capable of.
So needless to say, I am enthused and excited about this new therapy. So much so, that I am now beginning the professional training so that I myself can learn how to do some of this work. After attending a weekend training with my some of my new friends and some coworkers, I walked away so intrigued that I just need to learn more.
I am learning that when raising a child who has special needs you are often advised to do so many different things. Everyone is constantly telling you to do what they think is best. Even with my background in therapy, I find myself second guessing a lot of what I am told by the so called professionals. It is hard not to feel constant guilt about whether or not you are doing the right thing for your child or heaven forbid missing out on something that you should be doing or trying. Sometimes, the information we receive is even conflicting from one professional to another. I am learning though, to do what I feel is best for Grayden based on the information that I know at the time. At times, this may mean doing something outside of the so called norm.
Right now, I feel like we are at the best place for us and for Grayden. Sometimes, being a mom means trusting that you know best for your child, and not always doing things just because that is what you are told to do.
Little did I know, that my little guy was going to lead me down so many new paths in life. Unexpected but unbelievable!!
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