Sunday, April 5, 2009

Left brain vs Right brain

Two weeks ago, Michael had a complete meltdown during a CranioSacral Therapy session. It’s very rare for him to have a meltdown like that outside the house or car. As embarrassing as it was, it gave the therapist some insight into how Michael’s brain is working during the process. One of the things she explained to us is that there are times when Michael’s right brain (which is responsible for aggression and agitation) fires uncontrollably, and the left brain can’t get any signals out. She demonstrated that if we can just force the brain to access the left side, he can pull himself out of the meltdown.

For the past two weeks we’ve been asking Michael to do math with us whenever we get the hint that he is ‘on the edge’ of a meltdown. The amazing thing isn’t how well it works, but that Michael seems to understand that it works. There have been a few times when he was getting agitated that he came up to me and asked to play the math game. Or, if I slowed down, he asked for another problem. Why didn’t anyone ever tell us this before?

I’ve generally been able to tell the difference between willful acting out and a meltdown that was beyond his control. Now, I have another powerful tool. If he is willing to do math games, I know it’s a meltdown and he wants it to end as much as I do. If he refuses to even try to access the left brain, I know it’s willful behavior.

We’ve also been seeing some other fantastic behavior the last couple weeks. Mostly, we’ve seen an increase in flexibility and imagination. Michael has been enjoying going to the pool lately. On Friday, it was fairly empty, and he was daring enough to finally try some of the slides. He worked up his courage, and ended up going down all the small slides. (There are two mammoth slides that scare me!) The best part was how he explained it to me when they got home. He was so happy to go down the slide and have Steve catch him at the bottom.

My favorite flexibility part came on Saturday. He had been begging to go back to the pool, and had really good behavior, so we wanted to take him. The problem was that the open hours were very small, and conflicted with other errands that needed to be done. I asked him if it would be OK to skip the pool on Saturday, if he went on Monday instead. I was so shocked when he agreed! It’s so nice to see him understand a schedule change and just go with it. No fussing, no pouting, just talking about Monday. I guess we’re really lucky it’s spring break!

1 comment:

Dr.Rutledge said...

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