The Power of Enthusiasm
Story of Julian and His Mother Martha
Martha brought Julian to us when he was 16 months old. Julian suffered a stroke in utero, leaving his left side partially paralyzed and spastic with his left fist always clenched.
Julian had received traditional therapy since he was an infant. It was very clear to us that Julian barely knew that he had a left arm. Observing him move, it was very clear that his whole left side was only minimally mapped in his brain and in a very undifferentiated way.
By the end of the first session, Julian’s hand and fingers would open for a few seconds and then would clench again. He also began shifting his weight over to his left side while sitting, something he didn’t do before.
When I pointed these changes out to his mom, instead of showing interest, or enthusiasm, she seemed almost unhappy and disappointed.
Julian continued progressing through his remaining lessons that week, yet his mom never seemed to take delight in any of these “small,” yet incredibly significant changes.
When we finally asked Martha about it, she told us that she watched the YouTube videos, especially the one showing Devorah starting to move her hand six minutes into her first session. This video led her to expect that Julian’s hand would be “fixed” fully right away.
We explained that Julian’s brain had already formed certain patterns. And the fact that he had begun using his left hand spontaneously was HUGE. His brain was beginning to recognize not only his left hand and arm, but his whole left side.
We assured her that this change would positively impact every aspect of Julian’s future functioning.
The Importance of Enthusiasm
Enthusiasm is one of the 9 Essentials. Enthusiasm is a skill you can develop. It is a choice. Enthusiasm amplifies what is important to you and grooves in new learning in your brain.
You can learn more about the importance of Enthusiasm in recognizing and celebrating even the smallest of changes, whether in yourself or your child, by reading the chapter on Enthusiasm in Kids Beyond Limits.
Following is an excerpt:
“Our own enthusiasm can have a powerful affect on the moods, behavior, and even the physical abilities of both our children and ourselves. It can help amplify our child’s ability to learn. Others’ emotions as well as our own can affect us, even when we are not consciously aware of it. And these emotions can initiate synaptic changes, activating new neural connections.”