How to nurture the development of the proper limb trunk coordination in children and adult individuals with special needs.


The human movement is dependant upon precise limb/trunk coordination.
Due to the lack of a sufficient intrinsic structural stability of the trunk – most notably in the spine itself – children with special needs lack the spinal strength and mobility necessary for initiating movements from the trunk.

The stiff or immobile spine leads to disrupted limb trunk coordination, which becomes obvious when the children attempt to move or when movements are imposed from without.

The inhibitions in the sequence of movement between trunk and limbs in a child with special needs leads to the various difficulties the children experience when trying to carry out movement sequences and weight bearing functions. When the child is small it is often possible to attain a functional level through training and exercising, but this level often diminishes when the child grows and the limb trunk proportions change through normal growth.

Typical of this functional level is also a tendency to consist of “robotic” movements, excessive muscular effort and a high level of necessary concentration.
Adult individuals on the other hand may have developed some level of gross motor function, but this function can also most frequently be characterized as ”stereotype” or ”robotic” in nature. This robotic function often leads to joint distortions, stiffness, etc.

The purpose of ABR exercises is to create the environment and the conditions that support the child or adult to develop and to initiate the undulatory motions of the spine that initiate the proper trunk limb coordination at ages and stages where it is normally no longer possible for the person to establish this themselves. In fact the integration of these movement stages belong to the earliest motor developmental moments of life – from zero to six months of age. If this coordination is not already established by then, the child or adult can no longer initiate and establish these intrinsic movements on his own.

The exercises offered opens a new door of opportunity for such individuals.

The sequences of activation necessary relate not only to the trunk and the limbs in their related coordination, but also correspond to specific muscle fiber types belonging to the trunk and limbs respectively.

The muscle fiber types that react first during normal muscular activation belong to the trunk (type one) and those that have a higher reaction threshold (type two) are mostly the superficial muscle layers typical of the limb movements.

Training through ordinary rehabilitation and other exercises – in the case of special needs individuals and others with a variety of chornic illnesses –  will tend to initiate an inverted sequence of reaction within this highly organized muscle reaction sequence.

The waking up of and activation of the type one muscle fibers of the trunk belongs intrinsically to ABR work which is designed to install the “baby stages” of deep intrinsic undulatory spine movement in children and adults who have long left the baby age – and also in those who at this young age are too weak to initiate the proper coordination between the deep intrinsic muscles of the trunk and those of the limbs on their own.

The offered program is based upon the establishment of two separate sectors of ABR applied techniques and support. These are:

1. ABR based active exercises that we call PAVES or “Peri-Articular Visco-Elastic Stimulation”. These exercises work to strengthen the trunk, encourage the development of deep undulatory trunk movement, stabilize the joints, etc. without causing stress to the persons weak structures and without creating a high cost to the individual’s energy household level. These exercises involve the application of specific and well-controlled movements applied : soft gymnastic balls, soft room trampolines and visco elastic pillows and materials.

2. TheraTogs Usage – The TheraTogs is a specialized garment that helps children with special needs to stabilize their trunk and to establish the proper sequence of activation of the limbs in respect to the trunk that are so necessary for movement development and coordination. Due to the lack of a sufficient intrinsic mobility in trunk structures – most notably in the spine, children with special needs have a difficult time initiating movements from the trunk. This leads to disrupted limb trunk coordination. This garment can easily be integrated into daily routines. It will add a significant advantage to all movements performed by the users. It highly increases coordination based also upon the added intrinsic pre-stress to the trunk, which in turn allows for a higher freedom of limb activation. At the same time it encourages physiologically sound tissue remodelling – creating a continuously improved intrinsic foundation for movement development.

Diane Vincentz
ABR Denmark Aps


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