Our son Ira is thirteen years old. He has cerebral palsy due to premature birth (quadriplegia). We started with classical physiotherapy early on, when he was still a baby. Ira is completely bound to his hand moved wheel chair.
When he was a baby, the physiotherapy aimed mainly to stimulate his development. The therapy became more intensive when he got a little older (one and a half years old). His physical development was severely behind and we had to practice with him multiple times per week at home and in het hospital. This physiotherapy consisted of repeating particular actions and movements over and over again. For example lying Ira on his stomach and stimulating him to start crawling, putting him in a seated position and “teaching” him to sit, …
After doing this therapy for a while, I got negative feelings about it because it was very stressful for Ira. He cried often during the therapy and I noticed that he couldn’t do what we asked of him because his body was just not capable. I felt it was like teaching a blind person to see… Besides that I didn’t see any progress in his motoric functions. I finally realized that this type of therapy was not bringing results.
In addition I had many questions about how Ira’s body would develop in the future. He looked different than healthy children. Next to muscle stiffness and spastic limbs, he also had a collapsed chest, very small hips and he remained very skinny even though he ate well. Doctors and nurses in the hospital couldn’t really explain what the cause of this was. I noticed that other CP patients had a posture that was similar to that of Ira and also similar physical characteristics. The classical way of thinking that states that CP comes from a control problem inside the brain, does not give an explanation for this.
Because I wasn’t satisfied, I started to look for alternatives and I came across ABR Therapy on the internet. Although I find it very hard to explain to people what ABR is about and how it works, the information online was logical to me. ABR looks very differently at brain damage than the hospital did. That’s why the treatment too is completely different.
At the ABR centre, I did get answers to all my questions about the development of Ira’s body and what could be done to help him. With ABR we strengthen Ira’s body. Every time he gains internal strength, functions of his body improve as a result. Just like with healthy children, without having to practice those functions repeatedly. The moment he has the strength to do so, he does it.
One example of what Ira gained is that he slowly started to sit up straight. Before he needed a lot of extra support (special tools) to be able to sit up. Slowly but steadily we were able to reduce the extra help. Now he can even sit alone in the bath tub safely and play at the same time.
Before we always had to feed him, but at a certain point he could hold his own drinking cup and spoon and eat all by himself. He started speaking better. His fine motor skills in his hands have improved a lot which makes that he can operate all kinds of smaller devices like a computer.
In general his body has changed a lot and he got much stronger and less spastic. Ira also made great progress cognitively and socially. I’m convinced that the physical and mental development can’t be disconnected from each other. It seems like the improvements of Ira’s physical condition also open ‘new doors’ in his brain.
Progress every year
We have been doing ABR for over ten years now. Ira was in a wheel chair when we started and he still is. ABR is not a miracle therapy that quickly fixes children. But if you are determined and dedicated to ABR, our experience is that you gain progress every year. And there is no ceiling; as long as you continue to work, the progress will keep on showing again and again. Our motivation is to improve Ira’s quality of life and help him get as independent as possible. He can now independently transfer himself from his wheel chair to the toilet and from his wheel chair to his bed. This is a huge step for him because he has always been completely dependent on others. It took a lot of years of work and dedication, but it is absolutely worth the effort. Ira will step by step be able to do more things on his own and that’s what we want for him.
Because we completely stopped doing classical therapies, we are 100% sure that all the progress Ira makes is due to ABR. ABR takes a lot of work and this is something you need to consider before you start. Despite the energy it takes I am happy to be able to do something to improve Ira’s body and quality of life. It gives me a very powerful and satisfying feeling.