A Journey with Love and Laughter

Read about our family as we journey through life as a family, with siblings, school and spina bifida, and lots of fun and laughter along the way!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Conductive Education

We have been doing our 2 week block of intensive conductive education at March of Dimes in Toronto. March of Dimes only runs in Toronto and Halifax - boy am I glad we live outside of Toronto! (It takes about 80 minutes to get to March of Dimes in the morning).

It is 3 hours a day, Monday to Friday. In our group is 3 other kids and moms, and we have 2-4 conductors with us. Each of the other kids (I think) has cerebral palsy (CP). Nick is the first one they have, who has SB.

It's a little bit hard to describe what we do. At one point is seems so, so very simple. But they get him working and we get results! Everything has a purpose, everything is connected with what we do through the day.
We have a new perspective, a new way to look at things, to approach things and to do things.

The whole thing is more of a holistic perspective. Looking at the whole picture instead of just looking at individual tasks. And educational. Colours, numbers, choices. Being aware of the environment and expected to answer (or put forth an effort) questions.
Our first day I actually caught myself saying "Oh he can't do that" and then he did! It was kicking his leg out sideways (abduction) to kick a ball.
We have really been making him aware of his body, his legs and his feet. And have him realize that he actually has control over them. Isolating them as well, only moving one leg and keeping the other one straight.

What amazing things I have seen Nick do this week!
- walk with parallel bars (with some assistance - but he's doing ALOT)
- stand by himself against the wall
- cruise, cruise and more cruise (with some assistance)
- kicking a ball - kicking it forward, to the side
- kicking a ball back and forth to a friend (on the parallel bars)
- bringing a ball from his feet up to his hands

And some things he's started to do at home:
- climb over our step at home
- pull to stand (that was Saturday)

In class, we've also been crawling and more cruising, eating snacks and reading stories.

We start the morning talking about the day and colours and songs. Each child has a name on a paper and will react (in different ways) to questions, choices. Nick is still working on the language part, he's shy and is much more interested in looking and watching the other kids than answering questions and making choices.

But at home he's saying more words (he said BATH today!)

And today (Thursday) he was starting to come out of his shell and make more sounds, and more effort at sounds.

If you look at this table that Nick is on - it's called a pith. The slats allow him to hold onto something, but it also lets him feel on 3 sides of his leg. It's not just flat, but more textured. We use it for alot of things. it's a seat, it's a table, its where we eat, and what we walk around. Each child also has a pith on either side of us.

(I have not asked the other parents if I can include their kids in this blog, but I'm hoping to talk more about our experience next week). And a big part of the experience is also the interaction between Nick and the other kids. Especially one little boy.

The days activities revolve around a story. The Three Little Pigs were the first 2 days. We built houses out of bricks (lego), sticks (popsicle sticks) and straw (dried tree needles). A piggy puppet tried to get under the bridge (his bum). Nick had to lean up and down to get the piggy that was under his bed. And we painted mud on piggies with his toes and feet!

Nick is enjoying himself too. Yes he works hard (and today - Thursday was a little rough), but he doesn't cry or carry on as much as he does during traditional physio. Yes there are some things he doesn't like - usually the hand/arm games or activities. Where he needs to lie down, and right when he gets into what we are doing, we are done.

 But usually once we are up again, he's pretty happy.

The 3 hours are also structured, with circle time, pith time, snack time, potty time and then our 'big activity' time. And the story that is started at the beginning continues through the whole day. Then it's time to say bye-bye to all of our friends. Until tomorrow!

When we get home (and after Nick gets a little bit of a nap) it was time to show off what we discovered that Nick can do! Because it's not something that he learned to do in a couple of days - he already  had the ability, we just didn't realize it (Nick or us!)


  1. Wow, that is amazing! I hope that we're able to travel and do this therapy when Palmer is a little older. It sounds incredible! Goooo Nick! Keep up the GREAT work!

  2. That sounds really amazing! I wish there was something like this closer to us. I also can;t believe how big Nick has gotten - wow, where does the time go?

    So happy for you guys,

  3. Look at him go! And he is standing so well! I must try that with Caitlin, I've never thought to stand her at a wall to see how she does. He's doing fantastic. Looking forward to see what he gets up to next!

  4. I'm so happy to hear you've found something that clicks for Nick! Sounds like he's making great progress and having a lot of fun!

  5. This is a wonderful report of a successful time. I really enjoyed reading it and I also enjoyed seeing my conductor friend at work in your pictures.
    Thank you for sharing it with everyone it is a very valuable parental report on CE.
    Susie Mallett

  6. OH MY GOSH!!!! How are you so casual about reporting all of these amazing things that Nick is doing!?!? I'm in awe of that kid! He's come so far!! WOW! GO NICK!!!! I can't wait to hear how his second week went, this is just so so so awesome!!