Since cerebral palsy usually affects motor and muscle function, many therapies and treatments are based on focusing on movement optimization. One method of rehabilitation for cerebral palsy is called The Feldenkrais Method. We have recently started this type of therapy with Cayla with a lady called Julie Peck based in Wembley. We have only been twice, with the first time being an assessment where Julie observed Cayla and determined her pattern when it comes to moving around.
This method aims to reduce pain or limitations in movement, to improve physical function, and to promote general wellbeing by increasing students’ awareness of themselves and by expanding students’ movement repertoire. People of all ages can participate, from babies and children through to senior citizens with interests ranging from dancers, musicians and athletes to people seeking to relieve movement difficulties, stiffness or pain.
The Feldenkrais relies on the nervous system’s ability to change and learn. Through “teaching” the nervous system, this method can redirect a body’s nervous growth.
The Feldenkrais method for cerebral palsy is based on redirecting misdirected patterns of physical and psychological behavior. By varying therapy sessions, the Feldenkrais method can change and modify certain habitual inclinations such as sensory and motor functions. Many people with cerebral palsy have spasticity, or stiffness, in their muscles. By retraining the body and mind to move in certain and varying patterns, this method can be used to help spasticity and aid in walking, sitting, or pain relief from the tension in the muscle. It can also aid in learning on how to better control movements and to train the nervous system in acting in different ways.
It’s a hands-on process which addresses particular individual problems and are tailored to each person’s needs. The therapy is a non-invasive, gentle, and even pleasurable. The client lies or sits on a low padded table (fully clothed). The practitioner brings present habits into focus and offers new movement options. The learning is then applied to everyday activities such as reaching, sitting, standing and walking.
Cayla and I play with Duplo Lego during the session and she doesn’t mind the therapy at all, she actually seem to enjoy it! This kind of therapy can be effective because it is so gentle and guiding, especially when dealing with young kids that sometimes just don’t want to cooperate…
Julie wants us to focus on softening Cayla’s torso and left hip to give her more options to move and this will create a better gait and posture. She said that Cayla is quite stiff on the left side of her tummy and by softening this area she will find it easier to move around, extend that left knee and hopefully walk with a heel-toe pattern.