By Interactive Metronome - March 19, 2015
Jimmy was a typical 11 year-old boy; he was happy and playful, loving of all things musical, he liked sports and Star Wars. One day, he developed what the family thought was the flu that the rest of his family had recently battled. Jimmy’s battle was different though. He had a severe headache on the right side and a strange numbness of his left leg. After a week of dealing with the pain Jimmy had enough. It was time to go to the emergency room. Sadly, doctors discovered a brain tumor that required surgery.
10 weeks after pilocytic astrocytoma surgery, he still had left sided weakness. He had already received several visits of PT, but they decided that Jimmy had the potential for something more and wanted him to try IM to work on bilateral integration, strengthening and endurance.
Jimmy had to concentrate very hard to keep balance and you could tell that he was very uncomfortable and fearful of falling. He reported that he had to concentrate to get his feet to move when he went up and down steps. When walking, he would start to drop his foot due to endurance and strength issues. Maybe worst of all for an 11 year-old boy, he also couldn’t dribble or throw a ball.
Initially, Jimmy showed severe deficiency (over 230 ms average) during the LFA and Attend Over Time (AOT) assessments. He could complete the motor patterns requested of him, but his movements were slow. He had the most difficulty when he had to isolate toe movement to activate the switch. Although this exercise is very brief, it was difficult for him to maintain the movement. In Jimmy’s case, this pointed out that his difficulty in walking sometimes was related to his poor endurance in his dorsiflexion muscles. We could definitely work on that!
Jimmy was able to fly through the phases of IM, and by the end of our first session he clearly understood the guide sounds and what he had to do to apply his knowledge to get BURSTS!!! He was very competitive in his need for bursts. He got so good at getting the 2 required greens in a row that we worked up to 5 greens in a row for bursts. He even worked with the auto difficulty on from session number 3!
Jimmy needed to work on activities that required intense motor planning. But, in no time, Jimmy was standing/sitting on uneven surfaces, T stools, therapy balls and balance boards. His affect became more cheerful and his sense of humor became evident.
On his 8th visit, the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency was readministered, and Jimmy scored above average in manual dexterity, bilateral coordination and balance, and average in upper limb coordination. His movements were smooth and coordinated, his balance was stable and he stated that he felt like himself again!
On the LFA, he made an overall improvement of 91% in only 9 sessions! His unadjusted score was a 22 ms, which put him in the superior range for his age. When I told him this, he beamed from ear to ear!
Jimmy was very thankful for helping him “so much”; however, it was his self-motivation that was a huge factor. The mind is a very powerful tool.