Milder forms of compressioual weakness are found in children with conditions described as hemiplegic or as a one-sided spastic.
These children usually do not crawl due to the weak arm, but begin to sit and then propel themselves forwards with some type of sliding movements on their buttocks whilst utilizing the “good side” – the strong arm and foot. They begin to stand – usually somewhat later than healthy children – learn to walk, but in spite of extensive physical therapy and other interventions, the “hemiplegia” remains a life-long condition. (See GmFCS level I and II.)
The walking is characterized as a limping walk with the poor leg being utilized more in the manner of a stick or cane than in the manner of a moveable leg. The poor arm cannot bear the weight of the body, carry objects, turn in supination or be used as support in stair climbing or other activities.
ABR Assessments show that the structural weaknesses of these children exhibit themselves in the following forms:
- Compressional weakness of thorax, abdomen, neck.
- Shortened posterior neck – limited head/neck mobility
- Resulting insufficiencies in counter balancing in sitting or standing positions
- Poor shoulder girdle and shoulder blade positioning on the poor side
- Weak joint capsules prevalent on the poor side
Here again we are speaking of weaknesses within structures that the ABR Technique can successfully address. Also, due to the relatively good condition of the children, functional improvements come quickly when applying this method.
Strengthening and subsequent releases within the neck allow the child to hop and jump, to descend stairs without support. Strengthening of the shoulder girdle and stabilization of the position of the shoulder blade allow the child improved usage of the poor arm for both weight bearing and actions involving hand dexterity. Climbing ladders and hanging from rings or bars become possible.
The length of the poor arm and poor leg is normalized. Long before the heel of the poor leg comes all the way down when walking, huge gains in motor functioning are achieved. First of all the leg becomes much more mobile. The fascia layers that were once frozen – causing the leg to be used like a walking stick – begin to reconstruct and become suppler. Joints stabilize, excessive sliding of muscle connections reduces and the muscles regenerate and lengthen.
When applied early enough in life, ABR can also ensure that the hemiplegic child goes through the early life progressions of:
- corkscrew like rolling over involving rotational movements in the vertebral column
- creeping on the stomach
- crawling on all fours
- including the intermittent stages and a wide variety of transitional stages that the healthy child utilizes.
But also when applied later on the ABR Therapy allows the hemiplegic child steady functional gains in all aspect of overcoming their one-sidedness. This begins often with eye-convergence, speech difficulties and progresses through general physical stamina and dexterity in larger and finer motor functions.