Vigor and vitality
vs vulnerability and fragility
Two dayss ago we discussed the concepts of Robustness (vs Neck and Trunk weakness),
Today, I would like to discuss another essential concept in which the development of your child’s motor skills depend: Vitality and Vigor
Does your child have the energy and vigor to accomplish all the demands that are placed on him/her throughout the day?
‘Hold your head up!’ ‘Straighten up!’ ‘Put one leg in front of the other!’ ‘Watch this video!’ ‘Crawl!’ ‘Go to school!’ ‘Do this… and do that…’ ‘Common, you can do it!’
Let’s have a closer look…
Where do healthy children get their energy resources from?
Good food absorption, digestion, hydration, respiration and sleep… these are the main fuel sources that allow them to respond to physical, intellectual and metabolic energy demands day after day. Once they have used up their energy throughout the day, when they go to bed, there is always a ‘surplus’ of energy left that allows them to grow and remodel throughout the night. Their battery is never totally dead.
What about a child with cerebral palsy?
Food absorption is poorer, hydration is not ideal, respiration is far from optimal and sleep is rarely restorative.
As a result, the child with CP cannot benefit from the same energy resources as his/her peers or siblings. Actually, these deficiencies take a heavy toll on your child’s overall energy and as a result, your child uses at least three times more energy as their peers, to carry out any activity, be it metabolic, intellectual or physical.
3 times more energy!!! Can you appreciate how significant this is?
This means they use 3 times as much energy to breathe, digest, move around and even just to stay seated in their wheelchair!
If commuting to school is a one-hour journey, this corresponds to 3 hours of fatigue for your child with cerebral palsy… just on the way to school!!! The round-trip to school and back creates 6 hours of fatigue every day, just to go to school and stimulation is not even accounted for yet. Would you personally be willing to face the fatigue that comes with commuting 6 hours a day to go to work? Five days a week?
As a result, a child with CP is usually exhausted, out of any ‘surplus’ that would allow him/her the ability to thrive and flourish as any other child.
Stimulation at all cost is not the answer!
It has to be intelligently and strategically planned and applied. Otherwise, you override your child that already has to deal with
metabolic, physical and sensory challenges.
Reinforcing fascia(connective tissues which surround and inter-penetrate all internal organs) improves metabolic functions automatically and spontaneously.
Your child starts breathing better, digesting better and sleeping better. Consequently, their energy level is tripled and interactions with their surroundings therefore improve.
This should be your first objective, regardless of the rehabilitation approach you choose to follow.
Just experiment 2 small changes in your child’s life:
1. Increase relaxation time. Encourage moments of rest, away from noise and confusion; introduce soft music sessions.
2. Double their water intake
With just these two small changes, your child will already feel a difference, be more relaxed and open to his/her environment and to you!
Next time, I will talk about another essential developmental virtue you can develop with your child:
Multi-dimensional repertoire of movement vs robotic mono-dimensional movement
or more simply, the importance of creating independent movement of the head, arms and legs from the torso to expand their repertoire of movement.
Don’t miss it!