Looking ahead: seeing a baby bloom into maturity

Heidi Tillotson, COTA/L come to just two days of RMT last month; at the third day of training this month, she told us this story.  I’ve distilled the official version into a laymen’s story, and am including the therapist’s version for those of you who speak therapist-language.

The laymen’s version:  My student has always been interested in not just treating symptoms, but addressing causes of difficulties, and was delighted to see how quickly RMT is able to transform lives.  She has a year-old child in her caseload, born at 26 weeks gestation, who obviously spent quite awhile in NICU.  At one year old, she really wasn’t sitting well or going on hands-and-knees well either. She couldn’t stay up on hands-and-knees, and communicated only by crying during therapy.

After THREE sessions, she saw that the little girl not only LIKED these movements, but also could stay on hands-and-knees for FOUR MINUTES — and was even beginning that pre-crawling rocking motion.  She’s now tolerating therapy for an hour, and is communicating happily.  She’s now not just sitting, but sitting while being moved and tilted.  Therapists are quite enthused.  My student says that she thinks the girl will catch up soon, with RMT.  I can only imagine how happy mom might be, seeing her daughter grow, and look forward to her actually catching up to age-mates.

Heidi Tillotson’s version, in therapist-language:

Thank you so much for hosting the second level of this wonderful class. I truly am carrying so much away from it.

After I took RMT 1, I could not wait to go home and integrate it into my sessions. I have always been concerned about root issues and assisting a child’s body to reach important stages that will assist them to participate in age appropriate play effectively and in a smooth and coordinated manner. Through RMT, I learned that these issues can be addressed in children of any age or stage of their life. As I taught and performed these movements with the children, I noted all of them to benefit and demonstrate gains in short periods of time.

One of the examples is of a little girl who was born at 26 weeks gestation and placed in the NICU for some time. When she arrived at the clinic at around 1 year of age, she could barely sit up, roll, or maintain a quad position. When I came back from the RMT class, I immediately incorporated these movements into her weekly sessions. I did all the passives on her as well as the STNR rocking in quad with hips. I noted these movements to calm her when she was distressed and relax her tone. In one of the treatments following the introduction of these movements, I noticed that her strength increased and she was able to improve in the area of righting reactions. The following week, I had to perform testing on her. When I placed her in the quad position, she was able to maintain it for 4 minutes without collapse and even started to rock herself at the hips in this position. This little girl transitioned from one half-hour session with co-treat between PT/OT to a full hour with PT and OT taking their turns. The last session I saw her, I noticed even more gains. She was making facial expressions and communicating in response to therapist whereas before she would cry and complain with the various positioning. Static sitting became too easy and we transitioned to dynamic surfaces for quad and sitting positions. The gains were amazing and my fellow PT commented on this. I know RMT has made a big different in the neurodevelopment of this girl, and with the gains we have seen, will soon experience the locomotion that is typical for her age.

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