Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Raf_s7973I really don't remember when we stopped my rehabilitation. It had to have happened over time. As I grew older we were doing less and less. I don't think it was a conscious decision. But, there's only 24 hours in the day, school became more and more demanding and having me do a lot of the exercises and additional activities through the day required a lot of preparation and effort. I remember using my leg braces and sticks well after my 16th birthday. But, as I got bigger and my knees became more spastic putting me in those things not only required a lot of strength from people locking the brace in the straight position, but the pain was indescribable . It began to look like one of the home labor scenes, with me screaming and a few people (because over time one person was just not enough) fighting my body to get my legs to be straight. But, my parents had me set up on a number of other daily physical activities outside of Peto like exercises. I would bike, outdoors or in place until I completed the arbitrarily set number of kilometers a day. I would ride horses once a week, go to the swimming pool two times a week, and then do whatever flavor of the month  therapy we were trying, like crawling around when my mom wanted to try the Doman approach.

But then, highschool had me in class from 8 to 3:30 doing a fairly advanced math and physics profiled program, I grew taller than my parents which made me more difficult to handle to begin with and the amount of work I've had was atrocious. When I was smaller it was easier for my mom to grab me, throw me on a mat to massage me, stretch me out or exercise me. When I grew taller and heavier and my spasticity  increased during puberty it became more difficult for her to practically having to fight my body and go against my contractures. For that same reason our Gainesville school doesn't accept children over certain age and weight, because although Conductive Education is about children doing things mostly by themselves following instruction, sometimes the Conductor needs to correct something or put the child in braces or even lift them. Some of those tasks do require strength. As skilled as she might be, she's a  frail lady, not a body builder and she is by herself.The key to Cerebral Palsy rehabilitation is starting as early as possible. Not only because you can accomplish more when a child is developing  and learning but also because younger kids are easier  to work with, physically. Plus they are out of the social context that can run a big interference, and don't have to focus on school. The younger kids are when they develop certain skills, the better. Parents often assume that their kids will indefinitely progress at a study rate, while in reality nothing is certain and you never know how and when things will change. Be ready to adapt. And of course most Conductors will tell you that while children can still benefit from CE at any age, the results may be not as impressive as if you start when they are very young.