The inserted graphs show how ABR has achieved a radical shift in focus in respect to rehabilitation and why this shift in focus is so successful.
In the human being higher function is generally dependant upon more fundamental functions. The diagram illustrates the fact that – if the strength of the connective tissues is weak, then there is no firm foundation within the body for the life processes. The respiration will be weak – the metabolic processes are constrained.
The life processes rest upon a firm connective tissue base. In the case of CP as well as a wide variety of genetic and chronic illnesses, the child is challenged at this level. Challenges at this level, can make it almost impossible for him or her to develop the next level seen in the diagram.
There will inadequate weight bearing; the compressional strength of the body is impaired. Proprioception as well as internal “interoception” is indistinctly defined for the individual.
When deficiencies such as these are present, the primary movements that are normally developed within the first six months of life do not unfold. The child does not learn to move the spine in the undulatory fashion. He cannot “worm” himself around on his back, cannot rotate the spine or flex it to the side in a snake like fashion. This huge variety of spine movement is dependant upon the ability of each single vertebra to move in respect to each other. The single vertebras of a child in this condition do not reveal much movement in respect to each other.
The primary dynamic repertoire belonging to the first six months to one year of life does not unfold. This will result in the child being locked in respect to his own development. Gross and fine motor function in this condition will definitely be impaired.
The primary dynamic repertoire belonging to the first months of life cannot be “taught” and “learned”. Imagine yourself trying to improve the movements between the sixth and seventh spinal vertebrae or between the fifth vertebrae and the sixth rib! This is fully impossible.
If the child has not learnt it in the first six months, he can no longer learn to do it alone. He needs the help that ABR brings to “learn” to develop and to utilize the spine movements.
This does not mean that a child cannot “jump over” the purple and the blue levels shown on the diagram. He can jump over and develop communication skills, make cognitive advances, etc. But what can never happen is that the higher levels of development can bring up lower levels. No matter how clever a child becomes, weaknesses at the lower levels will not be alleviated.
One needs the improvements of the lower levels for true developmental flourishing.
Therefore ABR work means going down deep and restoring the foundation of the internal stability and tensional connectivity of the body.
When these levels are improved and restored, then development appears in a blossoming and in a “sprouting” like manner. The child begins to flourish at the higher levels without extra work – attaining the ability to focus, be attentive, communicate – even speech and thought process are possible in severe children.
For children and adults with cerebral palsy and a wide variety of disorders, ABR restores the base, the fundament, the foundation allowing for higher functional development in mild and severely impaired individuals.