How to adapt this Course
Photo by Ryan Franco on Unsplash
Not all children like "therapy", not every lesson in this course will fit your child`s condition or character. Some love it and cannot get enough. If your doctor recommended physiotherapy, your child should be able to benefit from this course. If your child happily goes along, you can skip this page and move on. If you are worried about whether this course fits, please read on.
You know your child best! Please feel free to skip and adapt lessons.
Here, I picked two extreme examples - one child that will not lie still, another that doesn`t want to move at all - to show how the course can be adapted.
My child is very lively and will not hold still or lie down for a lesson
If your child is very lively, loves to move by itself, and doesn`t like to be disturbed, it enjoys movement, is not in pain, and not afraid. All of these are good news. Don`t force the lessons - they should be fun.
- Your movements should be as smooth as possible, but they don`t have to be slow if the child dislikes that. Start in play and work your way towards getting slower.
- Put your emphasis on play and funny sounds, and don`t worry too much about getting it right. You don`t have to achieve anything! Setting a friendly atmosphere, doing something you and your child enjoy, and treasuring a special time for the two of you is more important than getting it right. Remember, by setting the fight atmosphere you are creating the perfect neurological and hormonal set-up for learning. If it helps, you might want to include a sibling and do it with them as well.
- There is a good chance your child will start to like these lessons after a while, and possibly even look forward to them.
Here is how you could adapt the schedule to the needs of your child:
Lessons 1, 2, 3, and 4 can be done during or additional to your good night ritual - do less, and do it playfully. Your child will enjoy the attention, if not the lesson.
Lesson 4 can be done in a bathtub or anywhere. Use cream or fingerprint. This is usually very much fun for a lively child, as is the lesson with a vibrational toy (6).
Lesson 1 can absolutely be done with a sleeping child. Working with the dummy can either be fun, or the child might not even be aware it is doing a lesson (by drinking out of a bottle with a viscous liquid, like a smoothie). As an alternative, you could start working by encouraging blowing - flutes, cotton balls etc.
Lesson 3: make the bellybutton interesting (by tickling, painting), then start bending. Do what you can achieve playfully.
Day 4 The judo - roll should be fun for a lively child.
Day 5 - skip this one, or just put the child on a folded blanket and read a book together.
Day 6 - skip this one, but remember to encourage the child to look upwards more often during the daytime.
Use a mobile phone for the eyes. If your child does not respond at all, you cannot force it.
Day 2 can be done in the evening again.
Day 3 feel free to skip this lesson for now and come back to it later.
Day 4 should again be fun for a child that likes to move. The main part is gently rolling the pelvis right and left.
The rest of the week is easy to do with a child that is playing whatever it likes.
The first lesson with the ears you can to when the child is asleep.
Day 2 is hard to do with a child that struggles against therapy. Remember the gist of it - getting the ankles to move.
The rest of the week is again easy with a child that already loves to move.
Skip the second lesson and play with tickling, rolling balls under the child`s belly, and choose a game that encourages it to look downwards.
The work with the hands can be done in a waiting room or on the bus. Using dirt, chocolate pudding or a sticking substance can be highly interesting for a child.
Adapt the rest of the course as needed.
Summary: setting a playful atmosphere is the most important factor here. Be flexible with your schedule and postpone some lessons to the evening time. It is better to skip some lessons (or repeat others) than getting into a struggle or power play. Children love your attention, and they love movement if they are capable to move. Trust your child - play is the most normal developmental tool for a child, not successful therapy! You can leave the more difficult parts to a professional.
My child seems to be in pain, or I am afraid to hurt it. It moves very little.
The most important rule here is safety first! Do only what you are comfortable with. Your child will move a little, this makes work easier in some respects. Create a friendly atmosphere by using dim lighting, music, slow movement.
The movements can be tiny, and still successful. Concentrate on the sensory part. Stay in close contact and communication with your child.
Many lessons of this course might not seem possible to you - but your child will benefit more than other children from the very basic lessons for proprioception and breathing. You can repeat them for a long time and save the other lessons for a later time.
Don`t push. Movements that hurt or are very frightening will not be successful. Getting a child out of discomfort is the first step to successful movement, concentrate on that.
Most lessons can be done easily even with newborn children. Do not worry too much about positioning - those lessons can be done in any setting. The only downside of having the child on your lap is the fact that your hands won`t be free. Gentry trying to find the most comfortable position is already VERY valuable for a child that does not know how to find it on it`s own.
Lesson 1 - breathing rhythmically - might be the most beneficial lesson of the course for you. If your child`s breathing is strong, you can do it while it sleeps. If it has a history of severe chronic breathing problems, you might try it while the child is awake. Do not force yourself to do anything that seems dangerous. Do not restrict the breath for longer than the child is already doing it while swallowing.
Lesson 2 - sucking - is also very valuable for children that are afraid, in pain, or are struggling with neurological issues. By concentrating on these lessons first, and repeating them for a longer time - possibly even a month with some children - you will already achieve much!
Lesson 5 can be adapted: just lying in different environments, then adapting to the mat is already a lesson in itself.
Skip the following lessons and come back to them when your child is ready for them. Here are some more lessons you could do right now:
If your child can see, do a lot of work with the eyes. Day 2 - If you cannot move the ankles, try moving the feet and toes. There is little danger, and it is a wonderful way to get the legs into the awareness of the child and relieve stress on the hips. Skip all lessons on all fours and go back to the earlier lessons for your daily work. Some of them cannot be repeated often enough!
If your doctor has not specifically told you that there are anatomical problems with the cervical spine, the lesson with the ears will be very beneficial for your child. Again, working with toes, feet, and ankle movements is usually possible with all children. Skip the rest of the lessons and repeat previous lessons for your daily work.
Work very, very gently with the ribcage for the first lesson. Look into Day 3 - Hands interlaced - you could do that anytime, anywhere.
Go back to the beginning, and start over. This time, look at the other lessons and think about doing maybe 10% of what I showed there.
Summary: Lessons can be repeated quite often. Breathing, body awareness, and the ability to replicate some of the self-stimulations of healthy child development (touching oneself) will help your child to feel more at ease in its own body, even if no milestones are met (yet). Getting a child out of discomfort and feeling comfortable is the most important lesson a child can learn.
You feel lost?
I would not have designed this course if I didn`t feel very confident with parents working with children. The close contact between them and the commitment of primary caretakers result in great changes.
Also, I only picked lessons I am confident parents can do.
If you are still uncertain and would be willing to have them published as a positive example for other parents, I`d be happy to review any video you send me. Contact: [email protected]