Christopher’s Story

Our son Christopher was born in April of 2005. He was a beautiful, healthy baby and we were overjoyed to welcome him to our family.

However, early on we suspected something was different about Christopher. He is our second child, and thankfully we had our daughter’s development as our guidepost. His eyes seemed to roll around and he didn’t appear to focus on anything. At his eight-week visit, the pediatrician agreed Christopher needed to be seen by both a pediatric ophthalmologist and pediatric neurologist. Both specialists did extensive diagnostic testing but neither could find anything abnormal with his brain or eyes.

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At around this time, he began showing signs of developmental delay. He began physical therapy at around 11 weeks old. At first, Christopher didn’t seem to mind physical therapy. He was a very passive baby. However, by about five months of age he started crying during his therapy sessions. It got progressively worse to point that he would begin wailing at the sound of the physical therapist’s voice. He wasn’t really making any progress and we were getting more and more frustrated.

At six months old, an ophthalmologist told us Christopher’s eyes were structurally fine, but he was blind and would need to learn Braille and would walk with a cane. We left that appointment and switched to a new ophthalmologist, believing the prognosis underestimated the potential of his brain to form new connections.

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Despite the dismal predictions, we remained hopeful for Christopher’s future in large part because of a both an acupuncturist and a cranial sacral osteopath. To our good fortune, we had begun working with them both when Christopher was about 4 months old. They saw a bright future for Christopher. The D.O. suggested we begin working with a Feldenkrais practitioner in his office who was in the process of completing training in the Anat Baniel MethodSM (ABM) for Children. We agreed to see her and were completely amazed at how happy he was with his lesson. He never once cried. Quite to the contrary, he laughed and squealed with delight. Even more amazing, after his second lesson, at ten months old, Christopher rolled from his back to his stomach, something never accomplished through physical therapy. We would soon be celebrating his first birthday and imagine our joy at his accomplishing this developmental milestone.

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Additionally, we saw a playful, curious person emerging in Christopher. He began reaching for toys, touching our faces, and interacting in the world. It was then that we realized he was an incredibly bright child.

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While we were delighted in his progress, we felt pressure to continue with physical therapy. He was still very delayed in his gross motor skill development and we were being told he needed to be placed in upright positions. But, when placed in sitting or in a stander, he would wail. It was just too painful to see him so upset. We found ourselves questioning what was right for Christopher. We ultimately decided to stop physical therapy and only pursue ABM lessons. It was a stressful process to get to that point, but it left us with peace once we made the decision.

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We began augmenting his lessons with other Anat Baniel MethodSM for Children practitioners in Michigan and California. We watched him learn to get into sitting,  “commando” crawl to get toys, play with his sister and dog, and cruise anywhere else his curiosity would take him. While crawling and bear walking are still his preferred method of movement, he can walk with assistance. His vision has also drastically improved. He is far from blind!

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During the first three years of his life, Christopher received home visits from therapists and teachers through our county’s Early On program. All of these wonderful people were so committed to his development and progress.

Christopher has also had lessons with Anat and enjoys learning from her. We are amazed at how happy he is during his lessons and the changes we see during and after them.

In addition to ABM lessons, Christopher works with an amazing speech therapist and attends preschool three days a week. We give thanks that he is cognitively intact and is a healthy and happy child.

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We realize our journey with Christopher is progressing at a slower-pace than that of other children his age, but we are blessed to have such talented and dedicated practitioners, as well as loving and supportive family and friends as travel companions. There are so many people who have touched our lives and we will never be able to thank them. But we think of them often as we see our child thrive.

As Anat said, and we fully believe, “Christopher will lead a fulfilled life.” He already does!

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Christopher’s story and the progress he has made have compelled us to become ABM practitioners. We want to offer the hope and possibilities to families of children with special needs to achieve what might otherwise seem out of reach.

http://www.geibmovementandwellness.com

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