An online friend of mine – I hope I’m not being too forward when I say friend – pointed this question to me and others: do you consider “movement” a behavior? Now, I’m no therapist, I have no formal education in anything to do with children, or special needs patients, and most of the time I feel inadequate to be a parent, much less the parent of an awesome kid like Namine. Nevertheless, as her father – and a fairly loudmouthed one, at that – I might have something to contribute. So here it is.
If I’m talking about Namine and somebody says something about “movement,” the first thing I think of is her battle for mobility. It was a hard one, but if you will permit me a play on words, it was also hard won. It was only through Namine’s hard work with her physical and occupational therapists, not to mention Jessica and myself, that she gained first the ability to sit up by herself, then to support herself on her hands and knees.
From there, we kept at trying to get Namine to crawl. Hand, hand, scoot, we would say encouragingly to Namine, indicating that she needed to put one hand in front of the other. She couldn’t really bring one leg up in front of the other, due to her caudal regression; rather, she had to just kind of bring her hips up, dragging her legs behind her. It wasn’t ideal for her body type; she could eventually do it, but it was hard work. Harder, perhaps, than would ever really benefit her as a mode of locomotion. With Namine as mobile as she is now, I believe we were wrong to try to get her to crawl.
Now, getting her to support her weight on her stomach was important, but I don’t know that trying to force her to crawl was the right mentality. I think, now, that we did what we detest so much in her doctors: we tried to lump her in with normal kids. Normal kids crawl. Namine, it would turn out, does not. She can, but it’s not comfortable or easy. Namine scoots herself around on her butt, leaning forward and pulling herself with her arms, doing very little with her legs because, well, her legs do very little.
She also makes it seem effortless. I have tried scooting around like Namine does so well. Frankly, it hurts. I got rug-burn on my butt. It’s also very, very hard on the arms. I mean, if you want a workout, you should try it. Don’t use your legs at all, just sit on your butt and pull yourself across the floor. (Put some extra padding on your rear first, though, or you will regret it.) It’s not at all an ideal form of locomotion for any other child, I’m sure, but it works for her.
So, if I can circle around again and address the question, can movement be considered behavior? I think so, yes. Absolutely.
Namine is being forced to learn once again how to move, with the casts on her legs. They contribute a major shift in weight and momentum (believe it or not, Namine can scoot very quickly across the apartment), and she had to learn to adjust to that. But learn she did, and she’s currently still working on getting out of her high chair (we set it on the floor, not strap it to a chair) by herself. She’s almost there.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that Namine wasn’t taught how to scoot; she figured out for herself the best way for her to get around. Her movement is part of her behavior, and a part of who she is.
(I hope I understood the question and answered appropriately. If not, I still had fun writing about my little love.)