Here’s the Answer, but what’s the Question?
I first asked this question myself, as the father of a severely affected, spastic quadriplegic boy called Marten, some 6 years ago: “Would ABR work with my child”? It seemed perfectly reasonable when I asked it and as the weeks and months passed, and Marten improved dramatically, I realised that the answer was “yes”.
Six years later and now Director of ABR Scotland, covering the UK and Ireland, I’ve heard the same question again and again. Yes, there are similarities, but no two of the children in our programme are the same; they all present with different problems and have experienced different medical interventions. From a position where we only had young children with cerebral palsy on the programme we now have a wider age range of patients with all kinds of movement and behavioural problems – but still the question remains the same.
Now, I am not saying that ABR is the answer to every problem our children might ever have, but if your child has a problem with movement; a problem with weakness or tight muscles; a brain injury or genetic condition that affects the way their body works, even a behavioural difficulty that is impacting on their life, then we most likely have an answer for you, a way of moving them in the right direction.
So what’s the problem with the question? Simple, although understandable, it’s the wrong question! In my experience and that of many others involved in ABR the most important question isn’t: “Will ABR work with my child”? The real question that we must ask ourselves is: “Am I, as a parent, ready for ABR”? That might sound like a strange question but there’s good reason for asking it.
ABR involves commitment. Not just financial commitment to pay for the cost of assessment, training, materials and continuing assistance – but the biggest commitment of all, your time and dedication! ABR is not a “quick fix”. It is not like a pill, an injection or an operation where you just do it then wait for the results. Those of us with years of experience dealing with the medical profession already know that there are no “quick fixes” for our children.
It takes a special type of parent to work with ABR and their child 1, 2 or maybe even 3 hours every day. Often these are the parents that don’t consider themselves special at all, but they are the parents that do the work and their children make progress as a result.
With ABR, every bit of progress your child makes is made using your own hands – literally. As a parent your focus is no longer the endless carousel of doctor’s appointments, hospitals, visits from the physiotherapist, the next drug, operation or therapy that is leading nowhere. ABR adds structure and direction to all your efforts. As a parent you are now in the driving seat, for the first time being given control of your own child’s future. You are on an amazing journey with lots of bumps along the road, but you arrive at a much better destination for your child.
Are you ready for ABR