Preemies or children that were born full term can suffer complications such as a brain injury for many different reasons which can include lack of Oxygen, trauma to the brain either before or during birth and can result in a variety of developmental delays that may not be noticeable until regular milestones such as sitting, rolling over standing etc. are not reached. For most of these children Cerebral Palsy will be the diagnosis finally given.
This delay in normal development may cause children not to reach the normal milestones and in most cases will have a continuation of infantile reflexes which most children grow out of during their first week after birth.
The continuation of these infantile reflexes can greatly hinder the progress of your child such as the Moro reflex an exaggerated startle reflex where a child upon hearing a loud noise will arch backward and throw their hands up. This reflex is very dangerous for a child learning to sit or walk as they may fall backwards and hit their head if startled.
Another common infantile reflex is "mirroring" where a child tries to move one limb and the opposite limb moves at the same time this can prevent learning to crawl or walk. Many of you may see your child bunny hopping where both legs are moved at the same time.
Another reflex may cause a child to arch their back and lock their knees when their toes touch the floor, this also inhibits their ability to learn to step.
Our children need to learn to overcome these and many more infantile reflexes as well as learn to develop movements in a more correct fashion that will allow function. We use a series of exercises that breakdown the individual components of movement and then combine these movements into functional daily routines.
Some of the aims or goals that we may have for children depending on their present condition are listed below:
It takes many muscles to move in coordination to do something as simple as taking a drink from a cup, for instance; the trunk must tighten in order for it to support lifting an arm, the muscles in the shoulder, bicep and forearms must tighten to raise the arm while the opposing muscles such as the triceps must loosen to allow the arm to move, the brain must realize the position in space of the cup and the arm as it is moving, fingers must grasp the cup and lift it to the mouth, lips must seal around the cup before it can be tilted and the contents swallowed.
We take so much for granted every day, however our children may have to work very hard to achieve what is common for the rest of us. It is important for every parent to know that with the proper training for them plus a solid and consistent learning environment at home Children Can Learn!
Conductive Education is a method of teaching and training the injured brain to communicate with the muscles and the body which was first developed in Hungary over 70 years ago. Our lead therapist or "Conductor" as they are called in Hungary has over 19 years post graduate experience. We work in small groups two hours each day (Mon. - Fri.) and our clients are guided through a series of tasks designed to help improve basic skills, which form the building blocks required to improve more complex movements such as improved balance and walking as well as improving the use and functioning of an affected arm.
Clients are shown how to actively work their muscles and assistance is given as needed. We do not use elaborate machines because most machines are designed to do the work for you passively but when muscles are not used actively they quickly begin to atrophy and weaken. It is always our goal to challenge and train you to become more independent.
All of our clients have praised our staff saying that this is more effective and unlike anything they were asked to do in traditional therapy, treatment or rehabilitation.
Many Stroke survivors have taken Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to help with their rehab and have seen gains in areas such as a reduction in spasticity, improved speech and thought processing and some have recovered their lost sense of taste. The purpose of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is to stimulate the recoverable brain to become more active, however, if the neural connections from the brain to the rest of the body have been destroyed the increased brain activity alone may not improve the physical abilities such as walking or the use of an arm and may be more successful if trained to take over and relearn some of the lost function. We have found that we were able to produce better results when we combined Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and Conductive Education together.
A Stroke damages the brain and many of the pathways or neural connections to the muscles have been destroyed or damaged and many will never return. Our brain may no longer recognize our body's position in space let alone how to take control of it, however the brain has a great deal of plasticity and redundancy and it is possible to help restore some of the lost function by training other portions of the brain to take over. It is not an easy process and takes a great deal of time and dedication, however, it is possible to make improvement!
Stroke survivors are often told in traditional therapy, treatment or rehabilitation that "anything you havent gotten back in the first 90 days you might never get back!"
The stroke therapy offered at Ability Camp combines Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to help stimulate the injured brain and an intensive and focused therapeutic exercise program called Conductive Education to help repair or form new connections from the brain to the muscles. With the combination of these two therapies we have been able to help people make improvements even 15 years after their stroke occurred.
So even if you aren't getting results with other types of therapy, treatment or rehabilitation it is not too late and there is still hope using our combined Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and Conductive Education programs.
Ability Camp Inc. provided Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) as an alternative therapy for the following conditions:
The late Dr. Neubauer was one of the pioneers who began working with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for stroke rehabilitation, Cerebral Palsy and other neurological conditions. He performed SPECT scans and found that his patients had areas of the brain that were severely damaged however the immediately surrounding areas showed low levels of activity. These same areas, "The Recoverable Brain" showed increased levels of activity following a series of Hyperbaric sessions.
Our clients sat in a large hyperbaric chamber as we slowly increased the surrounding pressure, the sensation is similar to what you experience in an aircraft while it is descending. You may feel a slight pressure building in your ears which is generally easily cleared by swallowing, yawning etc. There should be no pain or discomfort! Children or adults could take a drink into the chamber to help encourage them to swallow and this is usually enough to clear their ears.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can be done with relative safety; however, there have also been incidents of serious injury and even death resulting from the improper use of Hyperbarics. If you are considering taking Hyperbarics, please make every effort to keep you and your family safe! Ask to see the training credentials, certifications and logged experience of the hyperbaric staff. If they cannot provide proof of their qualifications, please contact Health Canada 1-800-267-9765 to help protect yourself and other families.
If you would like more information on Hyperbaric safety, please visit the Health Canada Hyperbaric site: http://hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/med/hyper-eng.php
Once the final pressure was reached a clear vinyl hood (Plastic Bubble) was placed over their head and they were given 100% Oxygen to breathe. By increasing the ambient pressure Oxygen molecules are squeezed closer together thus allowing higher concentrations to be transferred into the blood stream and carried throughout the body, to the central nervous system, muscles, bones etc. Even the plasma, the fluid that carries the red blood cells can also absorb and carry Oxygen into very fine vessels or partially blocked vessels that the large red blood cells may not be able to pass.
We had performed over 40,000 Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy dives between 1997 and 2014 and clients had commented on gains made in many areas such as increased vocabulary, reduced spasticity, improved vision, better swallowing and improved balance and gait.
According to a study "Stem Cell Mobilization by Hyperbaric Oxygen", 40 hours of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy increased by eight-fold the number of stem cells circulating in a patient's body. Stem cells exist in the bone marrow and are capable of changing their nature to become part of many different organs and tissues. Stem cells, also called progenitor cells are crucial to injury repair and have been shown to improve vasculogenesis (the creation of new blood vessels that previously did not exist) and improve healing.
"This is the safest way clinically to increase stem cell circulation, far safer than any of the pharmaceutical options," said Stephen Thom, MD, Ph.D., Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and lead author of the study.