Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Neurodevelopmental approach (Part 1)

Responsible parenthood is what make parents to do their best for their children to thrive. Parenting, it self, is challenging. Parenting a child with special needs brings challenges that sometimes one can not even imagine. It is definitely more complicate that parenting typical kids and it gets multiplied when the child has multiple diagnoses. 

For me to get into that balance has taken years and it is not fully achieved. I wasn't fully adjusted to leave in other country, when my son was born. So many changes passed in my life too quick! I had to get adjusted to a whole new lifestyle shared with therapists, medical follow ups, and a whole new language related to the therapeutic field. Then, Autism came to our journey that truly made me tumbled. The grief I felt is hard to explain. I was sad, angry and scared. I usually don't show my emotions, so I know people around me didn't noticed much, except for my sister, my mom and my husband. It emotionally drained me. It was rough! But I was needing that time to grief.

Even in the worse moments that I felt down, I never stopped working with Tommy and searching for help. When his neck lost the cervical curve, I went to every single appointment twice a week for months after my full time job while my youngest was still a baby. The nutritionist ordered to change his diet and his new diet was in place in a week. Then, I began to formulate my ACTION PLAN to take be in charge of Tommy's intervention, which it took me two years because it required changed my worked schedule and worked it out around Francis going to school. This is when my emotional healing began.

Today, I has became the main provider for my son's therapeutic approaches and I am so glad that I have done it. The neurodevelpmental program is not just helping Tommy is also helping me. We are conquer every challenge together.  The neurodevelopment program is about "COMMITMENT" and it is not SELFISH as most traditional therapeutic approaches. I say selfish because in most traditional approaches there is a professional who is hired to work with the child, and this take away a lot of family time. A child with special need as any child, had more opportunity to grow and develop with stimulation from the family and not from professionals. The neurodevelopment program train the parents to be the main providers, so development can be nurture at home during the family routine, so everybody can be part of it.  I believe that it has been crucial for us as a family because it has allowed Francis to be part of this program. It is so cute to see him sometimes trying to help with the activities. The same program has bring them together because Francis model some of the activities for Tommy and it also has open a window for them to interact, something it didn't exist before. Tommy's over sensory stimulation didn't allow him to welcome his brother into his world. Today, it is a completely different story. One day, Tommy's feelings got hurt because Francis told him: 

"I don't want to play with you." It broke my heart to see Tommy sad for it, but Francis had a reason. I intervened and I told Tommy when he was pushing Francis that he was hurting Francis. It didn't took long for those two be happy again.

What is a neurodevelopmental program?
It is a program designed for a child to strength and nurture developmental growth in communications (speech and language), sensory processing, auditory processing, life skills fine and gross motor skills and academics. It also finds way of preventive care to avoid illness that can stop development. This is not “formula program” to match a label because it looks at the child as individual; therefore it identifies neurological differences  to work on and build a stronger neurodevelopment. 

I would like to share her successful story with the neurodevelopmental program by by Laura Gamroth:
"Today we are so grateful for the path we have chosen for our daughter. There are some areas that we still need to work on.  For example, although we are able to understand her and she often speaks in 6 or 7 word sentences, we are working on her articulation.  Physically she is doing very well and has always been either ahead of or at the early end on the Trisomy 21 milestone charts however it is noticeable in a group of her peers that she doesn't run as fast or  jump as far.  
On the other hand, academically, she is much more advanced than any four year old that I know.  Besides reading so well she is doing math at about a kindergarten level and is able to find all of the continents and many countries on a map.  She is able to communicate clearly and talk about everything from her recently conquered fear of heights to what happened today at preschool, what activities we did on a recent holiday and what her favorite clothing choices are.  She is able to read a menu in a restaurant, order and discuss her choices with the waitress unassisted.  Physically, she runs, jumps and her latest accomplishment is riding her tricycle.  Our daughter goes to a typical preschool and has taken swimming lessons independently.  She recently started playing T-ball and I'm sure the coach has no idea that she is sporting an extra chromosome!" Click here to read the full story.
I will also share the list of neurodevelopmentalists that has been putting together by Andy Durkin. Click here to see the full list in Andi's blog. 

The bumps in the route are higher and wholes deeper, but finding a balance is the key to succeed and overcome those challenges.

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