Severve Brain Damage

I am working with a 4 year old girl on one of the most tragic cases I have so far witnessed.

A year ago, this little girl was badly injured in a terror attack. While driving with her parents, rocks were thrown at the family’s car, hitting the little on the left side of her head shattering her left cranium all the way to the back of her skull. The little girl fought for her life and survived. Yet her injuries are so severe that ever since that incident she is instituted in a center for brain injury rehabilitation.

At the rehabilitation center the girl undergoes daily PT sessions, each taking 45 minutes: standing on her knees while leaning over a bed, the little girl is encouraged to lift her head. While the atmosphere is highly positive and the girl receive positive feedback and encouragement, the progress is slow and we can see little results

At this point the girl’s mother approached me. She had heard about me from two other mothers whose sons I have been treating – one suffers from brain damage prior to a cancer surgery and the other is a charming girl with Down syndrome.

We begin with intensive mini sessions for three consecutive days. I employ both my training as a Feldenkrais instructor and the ABM method. The girl has almost no motor, cognitive or verbal functions; it is unclear whether she can even see, yet her eyes move continuously. While I had substantial doubts as to the efficiency of the treatment, in light of the severity of her state, I worked as slowly and gently as possible.

After our mini-sessions, I noticed a difference in the tonus of the little girl’s face and hands – before we started our sessions her hands were continuously spastic. Her mother indeed confirmed that it seems her daughter is attempting to communicate through mumbling; she notices her environment more and seems to be calmer.

As her improvement became more apparent, we started focusing on the left side of her body in order to build substantial support for her limbs. Slowly, I help her bring her left hand towards her mouth, bridging the remaining gap with my own hands; very gently I simultaneously touch her chin and fingers with my own hand, saying “this is your hand, these are your fingers and this is your chin”; in doing so I attempt to retrieve her own sense of bodily existence. Gradually, I was able to bring her own hand to touch her mouth. Feeling how her breathing changes and her jaw relaxes, both her mother and I knew that she was very present, that she was indeed there.

Our next session starts next week, I await with anticipation to see what further improvement we will be able to achieve.

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