We recently had our 6 month follow up appointment with Kaden's orthopedic surgeon and, after a very tense wait for x-ray results, got the great news that Kaden's scoliosis has not progressed! A year ago the doctor gave us a very grim outlook -- she said it's extremely unlikely that a curve like Kaden's will resolve on its own, that such curves almost never stay the same as the spine grows and, basically, that it's virtually guaranteed his curve will do nothing but progress and require surgical intervention. Based upon her measurements at the time, Kaden was only 3-5 degrees away from needing to be fitted for a brace or a cast. And, oh yes, the best part was that she said there was really nothing we could do about it. I walked out of the appointment in tears and wondering why some doctors seem so determined to make us feel helpless. Maybe they think it's comforting because it lets us off the hook. It's not and it doesn't.
After that appointment I began researching alternative therapies. I managed to find an amazing online support group for parents of developmentally delayed children and learned about ABM (Anat Baniel Method) therapy. After reading numerous impressive testimonials, including one about a child with infantile scoliosis whose curve stopped progressing after ABM therapy, we decided to give it a shot for Kaden.
ABM is fairly intensive therapy. When we began, Kaden had 4 one-hour appointments per week. The main thing that kept us going back is that Kaden was making tremendous progress with each visit. There was no way to tell if it was stopping or slowing the curve in his spine, but it was clear that he was getting stronger and using his body much more effectively than he ever had before.
The ABM therapist strongly suggested that we take Kaden to a doctor of osteopathy for craniosacral manipulation. We'd never heard of it, but we were open to the idea. I have to admit that to this day I don't really understand what it is or how it works, it looks like a deep tissue massage of the back neck and head, but Kaden responded to it immediately. Not only did it significantly reduce the rigidity in his back and neck, it seemed to just light him up. He became so much more alert and attentive. The DO and ABM therapist speculate that by loosening up his trunk, neck and spine, Kaden has more energy to focus his attention on things other than simply holding himself up. I may never know exactly what happened but I can tell you that Kaden has really blossomed and it seems to me to be a direct result of his therapies.
So, take that, doctors who say there is nothing we can do about things! I don't have a crystal ball (oh, how I wish I did!) so I don't know whether the curve in Kaden's spine will ultimately progress and require surgery but I can tell you that we're doing everything we can to avoid it. So far so good, and that's good news!
Because I just can't resist, here are a few recent pics of our handsome boy . . .
He just loves to watch TV in bed
He's never let us put sunglasses on him, at least not until we tried giving him daddy's sunglasses