Lucas is a Brazilian boy who is 5 years old. Erika Caneiros, his mother, discovered early on that figuring out Lucas’ needs would be very difficult. Non-verbal and born with eye problems, it was often hard for Erika to know how to read his moods. This was particularly frustrating because with his CP, Lucas was constantly wanting to use his body and would often exhibit hyperactive behaviours. He responded poorly to traditional physical therapies:
My son Lucas has cerebral palsy. He was born on my 26th week of pregnancy. He spent 5 months in intensive care and so it was very difficult. He needed oxygen at home for his lungs. He’s gotten stronger since then but he still has many issues. He has trunk and head control but he can’t sit by himself. He doesn’t have balance. He can’t get into four point. Of course he’s had physical therapy sessions, occupational therapy and oral sessions, everything…..but he would get tired and frustrated. I was always there to say to him, don’t cry, please.
October 23, 2020
December 4, 2020
When Lucas joined the other parents in the ASP program, she had already decided to try something different. Earlier in the year, she had signed him up to do yoga, gymnastics and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Lucas’ love for sports was immediately apparent and he was happier during his classes. He was finding it more easy to be in these classes and it became clear to Erika that this was the right path for him. In addition, the somatic-based ASP classes made it clear how much bodywork, massage and a child-centered learning process was important for Lucas’ motor growth.
Lucas grew more relaxed. It was a big change for him. He’s more relaxed. His feet are flat on the floor. He’s improving in the sitting position. And our relationship is better too because….I don’t know how to explain…but I’m doing things that makes him relax. We’re building something new between us.
November 8, 2020
November 24, 2020
Over the next 9 months, Lucas progressed very quickly. He was able to learn how to sit and stand assisted for longer periods of time. His balance improved coordination improved. Erika spent much of her time with Lucas during the Covid pandemic finding new and fresh therapies for him. He got a new pair of glasses, a new walker, became more involved in his sports sessions, and received his first assistive learning device which allowed Erika to communicate with Lucas directly for the first time.
When a parent builds a supportive ecology around a child, many beautiful things can happen. Erika could see the changes happening to Lucas on many different levels because she herself had changed her approach to him.
First, I became more creative and use everything I could. We used everything at home to work with him. I started started to talk with him (through alternative communication) and for the first time I knew Lucas could make jokes. And I was really introduced to my son. Now I think of him as an athlete because his body is his primary challenge. He must be a very good athlete, not a regular athlete because he has to work through his body. Second, I learned that his exercises must be pleasant. So that’s what I do. I think I can do many things in at home but when he goes to the gym, for example, he has a relationship with other kids and his male teachers because it’s important for a boy. I can see he’s happy with this kind of exercise and if he’s happy he will do it. Working with Lucas becomes very easy because he wants everything. That’s the most important thing for me. Everything that I show him he wants to do. It’s incredible. So it’s actually easy. I don’t have to fight with him. I feel this is the first time that I’m connected with Lucas’ feeling….how he’s feeling internally.
Currently Lucas’ motor abilities have taken off in many different directions—he has progress well. He is learning to crawl, to hang, to walk in his walker and other movements that his body can do. These final videos have are some of the recent movements he is learning at his local gymnastics center—stayed tund for updates of Lucas’ progress in the near future ❤️ 🙌 🤸♂️