When I first meet with a parent of a special needs child, they often begin by telling me what their child cannot do. My first step in helping the child is to help his or her parent see what they can do. Recognizing seemingly insignificant abilities is crucial because something as simple as being able to lift her arm over her head may be the skill upon which we build the ability to dress herself or succeed in meeting other developmental milestones that have long been delayed.
Beginning with a child’s innate abilities and emphasizing what they can do not only changes the perspective of the parent, but creates a sense of joy within the child. This is often shocking for parents who have become accustomed to tears and resistance during more traditional treatment approaches. When you take into consideration the potential of neuroplasticity, particularly in children, it is easy to stop seeing a child as a collection of statistics based on their disability and instead see them in the realm of their own unique possibilities.
A few of the situations I have worked with in children include:
- Tortocollis – age 6 weeks
- Delay in walking – 18 months
- Delays due to Down Syndrome- 2 years
- Brain injury after birth due to spinal meningistis – 2 years
- Microcephaly -18 months
- Stroke In Utero -4 years
- Asperger’s/Autism – 12 and 18 years
- Sports and Dance Injuries 11,15 ,22 years