“HE DOESN’T MOVE AND HE DOESN’T COMMUNICATE WITH OTHERS” (ANDREW, AGE 10)
When working with children with severe pathology or medical complications, the symptoms manifest in the body. I observed Andrew, like so many others, sitting in stiff posture, using gestural movements to sign for needs to be met, and vague muttered words or simple phrases.
I spoke to Andrew, just as I would any other, but maybe with a bit more humor and banter. Andrew tended to roll his eyes or look away with a grin on his face. He was aware even in his limited range of typical communication patterns. For me, he communicated a lot – his posture, his choices in gestures and his important facial expressions.
I joined Andrew by matching my posture and movements to what I saw him doing. I acknoweldged his choices and told him how the posture and breathing felt to me. I then had Andrew join and match his fathers, his sisters, and my movements. We used single movements (one at a time) and we increased range from body half to crossing midline (reaching or twisting). He then stated, “airplane.” The movement gestures triggered a memory for him. We created movement to match the memory experience. He increased his range of movement and language, as he described in single word phrases what he recalled. His facial expressions changed and he began to laugh, he sequenced movements and remembered movement patterns.
I thanked him for taking me on his family trip and showing me his memory. I communicated to him all the movements, words, and ideas I saw him express. As I said, Andrew is a communicator! Movement and Language are possible!
Do you experience the rigid thought that your child “can’t” do a task or isn’t “communicating.” I look forward each week to opportunities to find possibility in my interactions with children and parents. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (310) 966-0700 to schedule your time.
Please Note: These stories are based on real moments but all names, ages, and identifying information has been changed to ensure confidentiality and safety for all individuals involved. The events are a composite of related scenarios used to illustrate the work; bringing understanding to the benefits of supporting children through a mind/body connection.
Special Thanks to The Andrea Rizzo Foundation. Dreasdream.org