Monday, April 30, 2007

ABR Canada

We're home from our week long adventure in Montreal, Canada... and what an adventure it was! Our ABR commitment is now in full swing.

After getting bumped from our second flight last Saturday, spending the night in DC in a dumpy hotel, enduring two more flights on Sunday and 3 hours of driving we finally made it to the ABR center in Montreal 3 hours late for the first event. Although it couldn't be helped we still felt frustrated and very tired. Fortunately the ABR staff was flexible and arranged for us to make up the presentation that we missed later in the week.

Monday we started our intense training. Driving to the center from our hotel proved to be more of a challenge than we had bargained for. It was a good thing my mom remembers her years of French that she took in school b/c we didn't see very many English signs to follow!

Three trainers devoted their time to coach three sets of families, at three different times during the day, to perform ABR on their children. Our group met at 4-6:30. There were four families in our group and we got to know each other as the week progressed. I really enjoyed being with other families who could share the emotions and fears of raising kids with significant special needs. Our dreams for our children were one and the same although each child has their unique challenges to overcome. We want to see our kids succeed in life, even if that "success" looks very different than most peoples' definition. We want them to be healthy, comfortable, content, seizure free. To be able to sit up in the bath tub, to enjoy eating... the list could go on and on.

Maybe with ABR we will have the privilege of experiencing some of these things with our kids. The hope is tangible, the determination is fierce and with time the progress will surely follow.

Abby's evaluation with Leonid was very eye opening. He pointed things out that no one else has ever noticed, although Patrick and I have observed them for 3 years now. He explained the reasoning behind much of her weaknesses and pointed out the target spots that ABR will help improve. Abby will have a file that will include loads of photos taken at each eval session, along with video, so we can see her progress unfold at 3 month intervals. In one years' time we all hope to see some significant structural changes.

Here is Abby comfortably positioned for ABR. I was learning how to build the "Dome" of towels.

We quickly discovered that Abby became so comfortable when the ABR was administered correctly that she promptly fell asleep!

Here I am practicing the the shoulder exercise. Looking at Abby's face, you can see that she's not sure what to think of this. Eventually she resorted to relaxing while sucking her thumb.

This is the jaw/larynx exercise. So far this is the hardest one for me.

This trip was such a neat experience for me and a wonderful time for my mom and I to spend some great time together. She was a huge help with everything, but especially in entertaining and caring for little Josiah! Thanks mom, I love you!

Our travels home were almost as exciting as our journey up to Montreal. There were too many funny and irritating experiences to list in this post, but they will make for good story telling some day.

To my incredible surprise and relief I came home to my wonderful husband who had spent hours making a special bench for Abby's ABR therapy!!! It was all put together in our garage when I pulled into our driveway... waiting to be admired. I really couldn't believe it. What a super gift of love, time and sweat. Now we are ready to get started! Thanks Patrick, I love you so much!

Sweet Josiah along for the ride... smiling as usual.