by thankfeldenkrais

Confidence is the key to so much in life.

The blessing for kids is typically they ooze confidence,
Like they were lucky enough to be rolled in it at birth,
An invisible protective shield they wear,
For a good few years into childhood.

Isaac was stripped of his shield at birth.

His first emotion in the outside world was fear.

And this seeped into his very core.

He has learnt about trust over the past twenty months,
The difference between family and stranger,
He understands the familiar faces that pose him no harm.

But naturally still balks at the unfamiliar,
Startles at the descending medical staff,
Still routinely in his life.
Still visibly pains at the smell of a hospital,
And recoils from its blinding fluoros,
Which flooded his start to life.

This fear has followed him,
And now as his development progresses,
The fear has become physical.

Naturally Isaac is afraid of falling.
He can’t catch himself if he does.

So our single greatest challenge to date is to give him confidence in falling.

All kids fall,
They stumble,
And wobble,
They lose their balance,
And get the bumps and bruises that help them learn,
That next time,
Catch yourself before you hit the ground.

For a child with Cerebral Palsy,
This is not easy.
And so much is often missing that prevents it from ever being learnt.

And often reflects well into their walking days (should they get there),
With their bent legs,
Inwardly tilted knees,
And limited upright trajectory in their stance.
The reason why primarily – spoken openly by candidates,
Is simple,
Less distance to fall.

So it is imperative for Isaac,
As he’s starting to find his upward transitions,
Not to feel he needs to be closer to the ground for security.

And in conjunction with all the key elements of,
Curling into a ball,
Freedom within his pelvis,
Weight shifting,
His head positioning,
Coming forward in sitting,
Spontaneously propping with an arm –
In all orientations,
Will be the collaboration to eventually allow him the reactive response,
The speed in movement,
The options in movement –
To protect himself in a fall.

And ultimately,
Prevent the fall,
By adjusting himself in time.

And like always we give him just enough support,
To challenge him,
Yet help dampen his fear,
And build on his independence as we go along.

A gentle touch on the back while he stands holding at the window sill
Seems to be enough these day to smudge the fear,
And sitting on the floor,
Just knowing the cushions are behind him should he fall,
Gives him confidence to push his own boundaries,
And visibly sees his body relax.

And before we know it,
We are playing seated soccer with a bright red ball,
Kicking wildly and enthusiastically with alternating legs,
Laughter the soundtrack,
Confidence his dance partner,
Which he greets as if a long lost friend.

red ball

All I can do is stretch out a hand to my own self-confidence,
And ask it to please stand by my side,
And together we hope that Isaac’s will stand by him.