Story of Skyler: A Boy with Cerebral Palsy
“My water broke at 30 weeks….Skyler and Max were born at 12:00 p.m. and 12:04. The boys were in the hospital for one month. From the beginning I sensed that there was something going on differently with Skyler. My background is in psychology so I thought maybe he was autistic. The way he cried, nursed, and moved was somehow different.
As the months went by I sought out a diagnosis and finally at 11 months was told that Skyler probably has mild infantile diplegic cerebral palsy. With that news we got started on physical and occupational therapy. It was very stressful….I watched a 7-minute DVD about a girl named Elizabeth and tears of hope came to my eyes. Two days later I took Skyler to meet with an Anat Baniel Method [NeuroMovement] Practitioner.
The beautiful thing is that the method is so gentle. Skyler was happy to get his lessons. It was hard to understand how these gentle, little movements were going to do anything when I was used to seeing Skyler stretched vigorously be physical therapists. But I knew that the therapies we had done in the past weren’t the best for Skyler. We worked with a lot of great PT’s and their hearts were in the right place but some of the things they did—like stretching to the point that he starts crying—that just wasn’t okay….
I was blown away with the progress Skyler made. Before Skyler started, he was using a walker to get around—he wasn’t walking so much as tightening his upper body to hold on and dragging his feet to make the walker go. He was wearing leg braces and hip twister cables, which worked in vain to get his legs from turning in and tripping over each other. Within 6 weeks of working with Cheryl, Skyler was rid of the braces and cables and was walking with canes with his feet parallel….
We then started seeing Anat Baniel. She realized that one of Skyler’s major obstacles was his fear of falling. He had been propped up on a walker before he had a sense of balance and was so fearful he would get stiff and spastic. Anat actually taught Skyler to fall successfully. She got him to learn how to use his body and start trusting himself….
Skyler continues to progress in leaps and bounds. He has gained the ability to stand up from the floor, stand and balance, ride a trike, throw a ball while standing, kick balls, climb hills, run and so much more.
Skyler walks with a gait, some people don’t even notice, to others it is obvious Skyler has CP. What I have learned through working with Anat and her students is that those things don’t matter. Skyler is continuing to improve his ability to use his body more easily, with more control and greater fluidity. He has so much belief in himself—he knows he can tackle anything he puts his mind to. He’s even starting to skateboard. He rides on his tummy and he loves it.
I feel so passionately about Anat Baniel Method [NeuroMovement] that I am going to take the professional training program starting in January so that I can help facilitate Skyler’s growth and share this work with other children in need.”
—Jilli, Skyler’s mom