Early Childhood Music and Movement Association

ECMMA: Early Childhood Music and Movement Association

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Movement Matters

After many years of making music with children, Eve Kodiak, M.M., became interested in the brain/body processes that underlie the learning process. As an Educational Kinesiologist, she now works with people of all ages, using music and developmental movement to create positive change. Eve can be found in her office at The Lydian Center for Innovative Medicine in Cambridge, MA, or at home in New Hampshire, writing and recording. Her CD/book sets include Rappin' on the Reflexes and Feelin' Free, which combine developmental movements with songs, raps, and narrations with music. Eve also performs and records as an improvising classical pianist. More information and articles on music and developmental movement may be found at www.evekodiak.com.

 
 
 
 

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily promote official policy of ECMMA.

TACA Talk

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I had a wonderful time on Saturday giving a talk for TACA (Talk About Curing Autism) at the public library in Arlington, MA. About two dozen women came - parents, OT’s, teachers, a music therapist – all kinds of people with all kinds of questions. I was introduced by Mary Romaniec of TACA Massachusetts, and several of my Lydian Center  colleagues came as well - homeopath Farah Gron,  chiropractor Kelly Maya,  and MD/neurologist/Anat Baniel practitioner Martha Herbert, author of the recent book, The Autism Revolution - and all were available afterwards to talk to audience members. Energy was high!

I can’t give you a synopsis of the talk, because I don’t remember a lot of it – these talks to community members are always “in the moment!” But I can expand upon one of the questions that was on my mind.

What is “the spectrum?” One of the more confusing aspects of any diagnosis is that it creates the illusion that there are clear boundaries between one condition and another.

Sometimes the boundaries are clear. For example, you start at the top of the ski slope, and your leg is intact. You wipe out on the way down – searing pain - and now your leg is broken. That kind of diagnosis can be relatively easy to make.

But autism is not always like that. A spectrum is graduated series of phenomena that occur at increasing or decreasing frequencies. Autism is more often than not a graduated experience of dysfunction that creeps up on children and their parents. So the idea that the eighteen month-old with sensory processing issues is, whew! not autistic and we can relax – that is like saying, “The snowstorm is in the next town, whew! we didn’t get it!” You never know which way the wind will turn.

In my practice, I’ve seen parents who are so desperate for their children not to be autistic that they grasp at the lesser diagnoses. They seem to think, “Since my child is not autistic, I don’t need make the kinds of dietary, medical, and lifestyle changes that parents of autistic children need to make. ” There is a kind of magical thinking that sometimes goes along with this which doesn't work in their favor. Sometimes they feel that if they were to make those changes, it would be as if they were suggesting that their child was on the spectrum! So they can be resistant to doing the very things that will help their child the most.

And sadly, many pediatricians don’t seem to have the awareness to see the signs of developmental delay, and suggest the kinds of interventions and life changes that can give developmental processes the boost they need to self-regulate. There is often little room between, “Your child is fine” and “Your child needs major medical intervention” (usually in the form of medication).

I had one child come to me at ten months who was not crawling. She didn’t have the core strength to hold herself up on all fours, and she kept collapsing on one side. Along with my own protocols of reflex integration and craniosacral therapy, I suggested right away that the mother get her daughter evaluated by the State Early Intervention Program. I met with initial resistance – “Her doctor says she’s just developing slowly because she’s so big.” (?)The very next week, the baby was supporting herself on all fours, and soon she was crawling!

The mother did call the state and make the appointment, and received some wonderful services, like a physical therapist who began to come weekly to her home. Eventually, she passed out of my orbit into the offices of my chiropractic colleagues, and she is continuing to receive free care through early intervention in her town. A few months later, the mother thanked me for beginning the process that eventually helped her child.

I never said anything about the spectrum to the mother. But, in my experience, a child with that kind of history who doesn’t get special attention has the potential to slide onto it.

The Tyranny of Diagnoses. Diagnoses help us understand and talk about a problem - but they can also obscure the problem. They classify what is going on, which can help us to understand and think about the situation. However, they can have the effect of blinding us to the particular factors that led up to the diagnosis, and to the full range of possibilities available for dealing with those particular factors.

Diagnoses are also labels that allow people to access services from a variety of providers, most especially from insurance companies and the state. For these kinds of political/economic purposes, the diagnosis is “real.”

But our biology is a lot more complex than any label, and a diagnosis does not change – or, often, come close to the nuances of  - what is actually happening in the body/brain system.

Next post, we’ll explore the concept of “total load,” and ways to lighten it.

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