what is balance
As Isaac continues to offer himself up to the learning process,
I too strive to understand how all the little things we do with him,
Will in fact piece together the bigger picture.
I feel confident in understanding that the effort invoked,
Is Isaac’s biggest fall back,
Too much effort resulting in loss of ability,
As I see him improve,
I still cannot seem to envision if all the elements will fall into place,
And one day allow him to walk.
Because as much as I love,
And admire him,
Support him unconditionally,
I continue to strive for life on two feet,
(And honestly for myself too).
And in venting my displacement,
To our practitioner,
At how seemingly far Isaac is from standing unaided,
And how I simply cannot see how he will ever find his balance,
She poses me with a seemingly simple question,
What is balance?
And to my surprise,
I actually have no clue.
And so it goes,
When I sense a pending impart of wisdom,
I grab my pen,
And scribble frantically in my note book,
The key elements outlined for me,
As way of answer to this valuable question,
To give sight once more to my blind stumbling.
What is balance?
Knowing where you are in space.
Being able to move your pelvis, head and feet in relation to each other – collaboratively.
To correlate with your eyes and inner ear.
Timing – being quick enough in movement to correct oneself so not to fall.
And for Isaac specifically,
It’s the proportion of challenge verse threat,
If the risk is too great he loses balance,
But if for example we begin to introduce “pushing back”,
By nudging him gently to counter balance,
It allows him to get the idea of correcting where his puts his weight,
But without invoking the effort.
Having recently grasped how fortunate we are,
In how well Isaac has already ascertained to a certain degree,
Where he is in space,
I now also see just how many intricate movements Isaac has also developed,
An anticipation to move within his environment,
Allowing him to casually moves his arm out the way as we adjust his armrest height,
Or in sitting as he effortlessly straightens his legs then bends them again blissfully oblivious to trying or effort.
All which assists him in building that relationship between his pelvis, head and feet,
To correct himself in movement,
As the slightest adjustments become spontaneous,
And with practise a faster response time,
Which may just lead him to finding his balance in standing and walking.
On a practical level we are doing all the right things,
With many more to still address as they present themselves.
Eye patching again is one,
As is moving away from variable movements that challenge him too much,
Which has become clear of his R82 Crocodile Walker,
With its heavy weight,
Its arm gutters that bring tension to his neck and shoulders,
As he relies on his arms to walker rather than his legs,
In an attempt to control the unforgiving swivel,
And his learnt posture of being hunched over in all his efforting to direct himself accurately.
And we really need to aim for him to be standing tall,
With pressure going through straight arms,
And weight through his legs,
Like required in the use of crutches,
Or the light-weight Kaye Walker we have on sliders at home,
With no swivel,
Requiring him only to negotiate his forward stepping,
And which we’ve made into a front (anterior) walker for ease of use,
To encourage the “push” through the arms,
Over the constant “pull” of his default pattern,
And invoked further by a posterior walker with arm gutters.
We aim to move Isaac away from the understanding that being upright,
Is leaning of his upper body,
But rather a distribution of his weight through arms (to stabilise and remove fear) and legs (in hope of truly finding them),
With his chest up high.
Which we can explore at the therapy table,
And with crutches,
Until we find a more suitable walker for outdoors as well as in.
We find ways of beginning to introduce the counter balance,
With the softness of a small bolster,
And the safety of standing at the therapy table with our practitioner,
With the ideal result of sheer joy,
And no fear.
We bring in ways of Isaac finding flat open hands,
To push through the palms,
In secure sitting so all other elements are eliminated,
And the focus is purely on a new sensation of weight going through the arms,
With straight elbows.
And the patching once more helps break the bias of the left dominant eye,
In hope to help release neck and shoulder tension,
And to shift the pattern of only turning his head to the right.
All these components,
While seemingly unrelated to my under-educated eyes,
Are in fact what makes up balance,
And without them pieced together,
Standing or walking independently,
Could not be possible.
And I suddenly feel,
So much better for knowing so,
And optimistic for what could possibly lie ahead for Isaac,
Despite how far he still has to go.