Sage was 23 when his (adoptive) mother first brought him to see me. Dressed in long pants, long sleeves, and a hoodie, even in summertime heat, Sage rarely spoke, but when he did, it was in a quiet monotone, and with as few syllables as possible. Her goal for him was to be able to express his preferences. When asked about his goals, most often he would shrug. If he were feeling expressive that day, he’d add “don’t know.” For eighteen months, God bless her, Andrea kept bringing him in, despite having only small increments of progress. I predicted that once all these increments added up, he would be capable of a much larger jump.
And last month, it happened.
I have been using a variety of techniques with Sage, but mostly small amounts of a low level, “cold” harmonic laser. I’d use the recommended techniques and I’d try some of my own, and it all helped, little bits at a time. His mom would report that maybe he was a little more verbal, or spent more time out of his room or unloaded the dishwasher without being asked. If I did more than his muscle-checking called for, less progress or backsliding would result. Finally, last month, we could add a few more of my techniques, including Brain Gym’s PACE exercises. I instructed Mom on doing PACE at home if he wanted — which he did — once.
Within a few days my inbox started to fill up with his mother’s burbling happiness. It started during their trip to Denver. She began:
“Can’t wait to share the changes I’ve observed so far on our weekend trip. He was a delight at the airports and on the plane. Reading every bit of literature and signs on the plane like he was filling up on the whole experience. At the bustling Denver airport, instead of being overwhelmed at all the people, the massive airport, and the underground train, Sage was actually smiling!”
“I am stunned by how much more expressive he is….” “In eating lunch with my friends he didn’t know and hanging out with relatives, Sage actively listens to the conversations. Instead of retreating or digging out a video game, Sage contributed to discussions and, of course, introduced his favorite topics of family trees, Pokemon and odd natural science facts. The entire time we drove, Sage was watching and commenting on everything through his car window instead of his usual attention to the video games during driving.”
More emails came: “He smiles a LOT more….he is so much more conversational, to the point he FOLLOWS ME AROUND THE HOUSE TALKING ABOUT DIFFERENT THINGS!” He tells “Sage jokes” where he makes a funny comment about something and laughs.”
This boggles my mind: This young man whom we waited so attentively for monosyllables, trailing his mom around the house to …. chat??? Laughing at his own jokes? How wonderful!
But wait, there’s more!
Later on, Andrea wrote: “Sage is so much more engaged. While at the Old Market, he was find looking around instead of being impatient to get back to the car. What’s more, he usually hands me any important paper he is given, almost as fast as if it is a hot potato; he wants no responsibility for it. I asked him to hold onto his folder of papers before a Voc Rehab meeting. He never handed the folder back, which I found curious. He kept the folder during the meeting. I asked him for the papers I needed as requested. Then Sage saw his birth certificate in the folder and studied it closely — he’d had no interest in it before. He kept the folder and stowed it in the door pocket on the way home, at home, he returned it to me. Something so insignificant was a big deal to me.”
Indeed it was! It’s almost as though Sage is starting to cross Brain Gym’s “Midline of Participation” into life, instead of holding back outside of the world. While he certainly has quite a ways to go, it’s heartening seeing him participating in and enjoying his life.
It’s also why I so enjoy sessions: I get to interweave all the tools I have for optimum effect.
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