We have now been home for one and a half weeks from our trip to the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential (IAHP) in Philadelphia. There is so much I can talk about but I will do my best to summarize.
Days 3-4: Lecture Series III
The parents spent about 11 hours each day (Tuesday and Wednesday) in the lecture hall learning more about our children and the resources there are to make significant progress. We were taught more about physical growth, intellectual growth, physiological growth, and social growth.
The gravity free and gravity assisted program are a new part of the physical growth program that we learned. With the use of a harness and surgical tubing, the kids will be able to partially experience a gravity free and assisted environment. When you have physical limitations, gravity is very difficult to work with. IAHP began working with NASA’s Ames Research Center in 1976 to develop this program. They have continued their relationship with NASA and have accomplished many projects together including the oxygen enrichment program. Dr. Ralph Pelligra, chief medical officer of the research center is still on the board of the IAHP. Cate will not start the anti and assisted gravity program yet but I expect she will start next time.
We had a review of the effect of food, chemicals and the environment on health, behavior and the brain and learned about applied kinesiology and how IAHP utilizes this tool to help the kids. There is a chiropractor and applied kinesiologist on staff at IAHP. We were taught how to do acupressure tapping for Cate during this session to relax her upper body tension. I will keep you posted on how it works!
Our first lecture on social growth was about The Law. It seems like common sense right… rules, consequences, and follow through. But when you have a very intelligent brain injured child it is easy to lose control of your house. Our house now has 3 laws posted on the wall: 1) No screaming 2) No throwing 3) No hitting and kicking. The second two laws are more for Charlie.
The majority of the lecture time was about intellectual growth: joyousness and reading, auditory pathway, communication and language development. We learned about the impressive tool of facilitated communication, invented by Rosemary Crossley in Australia. We already use a choice board for Cate but this will take it to another level. Basically, without having verbal language or written language my child can learn to communicate very clearly and effectively using a word board and eventually a keyboard. We haven’t tried it yet and I think we will wait until she can read 1500-2000 words. Currently she knows 1000 words. Give us a few more months and we will be ready. This does not replace encouraging Cate to speak, but it will help to give her a voice until she speaks clearly. We also learned that all sounds are language, even if poor quality! Now we just have to learn how to interrupt the sounds. This is important to remember as Cate starts to make new sounds, she is currently practicing the letter “m”. I assume so she can say mom!
We got Cate’s new program and have slowly began. More to come!