When 9-year-old Laurie first walked into my clinic, he exhibited all the typical signs of dyspraxia. He lumbered into the room, crossing directly in front of his mother as she entered. He looked apathetic, disenchanted, and hardly bothered to look at me as his mother instructed him to reply to my greeting. He flung himself into the seat and proceeded to almost slide off the chair as his legs stretched out before him.
His mother was concerned. He was the youngest of twins but very unlike his brother. Laurie was very sedentary, found physical movement difficult and complained all the time of feeling tired. Even simple movements like climbing the stairs were a chore, his movements cumbersome and heavy. For his age he already appeared thick around the waist, rather like a stout middle-aged man. He did not engage in normal activities, the kind that his peers actively enjoyed, instead retreating into a fantasy world of his own. He had a very active imagination, loved film and especially puppets.
Although his mother had not come to see me about his enuresis, it transpired that she was also almost at her wits’ end over his continued bedwetting – a nightly occurrence.
I first of all determined that his start in life had been a difficult one. His mother had experienced some minor complications during pregnancy. The birth had been induced and when he arrived, Laurie was unusually small and still. I got straight down to running my preliminary tests. Each one of these tests pointed to retained primitive reflexes at a high level – it was little wonder that he had problems. I explained to his mother what was affecting Laurie, illustrating my point with certain tests. I told her that he was certainly someone who would benefit from my programme. As I explained how the treatment would help and what she might realistically expect, she struggled to hold back the tears. Her years of worrying about her son, and the fruitless time spent searching for a solution, had obviously taken their toll.
At the Diagnostic Assessment a few days later, it became very apparent why Laurie found life difficult. A very strong TLR reflex had resulted in balance problems, and also accounted for the foreshortening of his hamstrings and his carpal and Achilles tendons. It was no surprise to me that his leg movements were so leaden. Although he didn’t tiptoe, as can happen in some cases, he often complained of so-called “growing pains” in his legs.
Adding to his problems was an extremely strong retained ATNR reflex. This was stonger than I had seen in many months. It was this reflex that not only robbed him of accurate control of his limb movements, but also meant that anything requiring him to coordinate eye-hand movement was extremely difficult – resulting in both his laboured handwriting and his dislike of games. Laurie was never going to become a sporting jock with this reflex still in place. He was intelligent enough to have worked that out – so why do sport at all?
Finally, the strong Spinal Galant further limited his ability to move – obvious in his splay-footed, somewhat rolling gait and limited hip rotation. It was also this retained reflex that accounted for his enuresis. Laurie was able to depend on his tensed muscles to control his bladder during the day, but as he relaxed into a deep sleep at night he would invariably let go, with the resulting embarassing outcome. As time goes on, these children learn to retain this tension in the lower body throughout the night and thus appear to have overcome their bedwetting. Back problems, however, tend to be the result in later life.
At first, his mother found that getting him to undertake the programme was a daily battle. She said, “nothing, no miracle, is ever going to make him fleet of foot”.
Here are my notes from follow-up visits and reports from his mother, taken at monthly intervals over the course of a year’s treatment.
1) Everyone has noted that Laurie is moving faster and more easily. His grandma noted that “he looked clearer”. He actually ran up the stairs for the first time ever – absolutely unheard of.
2) More steady improvement though perhaps not as dramatic as last month. Despite long walks or cycle rides, he no longer complains, “Mummy, I’m tired.” Nose constantly runny (a good sign – the sinuses previously blocked have begun to work more effectively). Sometimes he is very tired physically and he is not an habitual early riser. His eyes look sharper, clearer, more focused.
3) A mixed month – his school results were not as good as hoped. Laurie said he was “ Walking faster, jumping, skipping and running more – everything was much more fun”. His nose was no longer runny. Only wetting the bed perhaps once a week. Performed brilliantly in the swimming gala. “I have never seen him swim so fast,” said his mother.
4) His nose has really cleared. Sleeping long and deeply and has only wet the bed twice that month. He is slimmer, more toned, brighter and sharper. His concentration has improved markedly. Laurie says he is less dreamy in class.
5) Laurie is choosing not to wear his glasses in class as this is easier for him. He is much more self-motivated with his homework. He actually had 16 dry nights in succession – the longest period his mother had known without an accident occurring.
6) Seems to have dispensed with wearing glasses – chooses not to wear them at all. He had a bad week of wetting the bed when he was unwell with flu. Since then he has been marvellous, he’s been up, sparky, even feisty – just a couple of sudden rages. This improvement especially noticeable since he started the SoundSense programme. He has grown taller and leaner – no longer so desperate and ravenous for food at mealtimes.
7) Some sporadic bedwetting. A lot more focused now – he is able to concentrate for much longer periods. Laurie adds that he is finding school “much easier and that he feels more clever”! His handwriting is smaller and more evenly spaced and so much easier to read. Improvements in football – instead of running away from the ball he is now tackling well and is very keen to play! This is in direct contrast to how he was before starting the programme. His speech continues to get clearer and his sentence construction is much better. Not only that, but he is speaking more rapidly!
8) “One bedwetting accident only. He is now running up the stairs most of the time. His school is very pleased – he is staying the course. He has a fairly large part in the school play and despite having a large number of lines to memorise, he is learning the lines! He is just generally so much more active and agile!”
9) “Constantly play-wrestling with his brother and when he wrestles with me, he is noticeably so much stronger. Incredibly dry at night!”
10) The most notable thing is that he has been dry for well over a month now
11) Increased muscle tone, continues to be dry at night.
12) Incredibly active – walked for miles on a 6 hour walk – he is so much stronger. Dry at night. Tying his shoelaces – ties them tighter and better so that they no longer unravel. This had previously proved far too difficult for him.
Five months after Laurie had completed the programme and 4 months after starting at a new school, his mother sent me a card:
Laurie settled in almost straight away at W––-. The staff were expecting to have to help him and have been amazed at his alacrity in coping. He basically got on to it, sorted and organized! He is really beginning to look longer and leaner, his face finer and he is becoming much more muscled. He loves rugby and is “a born prop”, something in the scrum, I know not! He has just been in the school play, as a soldier, and was dancing, singing, fighting and chasing. I have never seen him move so easily or so fast. I was in tears! Academically he is making steady progress and he is keeping up well with his peers. He is quite popular and the girls think he is quite cute – he quite likes that…
I know that none of these advances would have happened without your treatment.