A Story of HOPE
by Beverly Hunter
There are programs around the world that give parents hope for their children no matter what challenges they may face. This is my story.
As soon as I heard about Svetlana’s camp in Poland I knew I had to go.
My first experiences with reflex work started about 7 years ago, working with a little girl in my community. Miracles happened for this little girl, thanks to the dedication of her family in working with Brain Gym and the reflex work we asked them to do. This little girl, as well as my own son, have inspired me to continue learning more about the developmental patterns that have such a strong influence on how our brain and body develop.
So off to Poland I went, with my son, to learn and experience all that I could in just a few weeks. And that we did. The camp took place in June, up by the Baltic Sea on the north coast of Poland. There were 80 children registered, coming with at least one parent, sometimes two and some with siblings. There were also approximately 45 therapists from around the world, including Russia, Germany, Singapore, Poland, USA, Canada, Sweden, England, and Australia. Everyone knew Brain Gym but they also brought with them expertise in psychology, psychiatry, massage, touch for health, naturopathy, neuropathy, cranial, and other kinesiolgies, just to name a few. During pre-camp all of us were trained in Svetlana’s Neurokinesiolgy and reflex methods that we would be using with the children attending the camp. Other specialists shared training in proprioception, vestibular, reflex, structural, and related kinesiology methods.
I should mention that the challenges facing these 80 children ranged from mild to severe cases of cerebral palsy, autism, downs syndrome, dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity disorder, paraplegic, asperger syndrome and many more that I am not sure what label they may have been given. In many ways it was overwhelming. I heard stories that I could hardly believe.
This was the third time to camp for some children and, when Svetlana first saw them, many could not talk, walk, sit up, etc. When I looked at these children now, some of them were still struggling but in comparison to how their parents described them, they were not the same children. Parents were filled with hope, belief, and gratitude for how much their children were progressing. One little boy was brought to Svetlana at three months of age with a rare disease that kept him from getting air into his lungs. The doctors told the parents that there was nothing they could do and he would probably live about 3 months. After the first session with Svetlana, the child was breathing better and this child is now approximately 4 years old. Many parents who were there for the first time were looking for miracles because of these stories and so was I. My son’s reflexes were pretty well integrated physically now that we had been working with them for a couple of years but he still lacked the social confidence to take the risks to get out into the world.
The children attending camp ranged in age from 3 to 19 years old. But there were siblings under 3 years old that we got to work with too. One 18-year-old Polish boy came on his own because he wanted help handling his temper. Too cool!
Camp was not easy for me, the work was very physical and I was out of shape. It took the full two weeks to get into shape. We stayed in a building where I had to climb stairs to my room a few times a day. My right knee was not aligned properly and it grew worse with every climb. A friend from Singapore did Phillip Rafferty’s reset work on my jaw and helped with the realigning of my whole structure, which took care of my knee pain. Now climbing stairs was better and I could actually work on muscle tone.
To sum things up from this camp, I returned home truly believing that “Anything CAN happen.”
My son benefited from his experience as well. He made friends from around the world. He played with children from different countries, different ages, different problems, and different languages. The first thing I witnessed that was different for him was the ability to hang onto specific detailed information for longer periods of time. The second was his willingness to go out and get a job. He had three part time jobs for the summer, putting in full time hours. His stress level of socialising has decreased dramatically and his ability to retain information has improved.
I decided to go back to camp again in November. This time it was held in the mountains in the southern part of Poland. The number of registrants was restricted with approximately 50 children attending this camp. There were only two of us from Canada, as foreign English speaking therapists. The rest were Polish and Russian. I was so, so pleased that I had the opportunity to return.
I was moved to tears as the children arrived at camp. One little girl, who in June was literally strapped to her wheel chair because her spastic muscle reactions had her falling out of her wheel chair, came walking into camp pushing her walker. I couldn’t believe my eyes. She had a smile from ear to ear, very proud of herself and her father was moved to tears as he watched her and our reactions. He just kept shaking his head up and down and smiling like he knew exactly how we were feeling and needed to acknowledge it. Later in the week I witnessed her sitting on the edge of a massage table waiting for her father to put her shoes on, with no concern that she would fall off. She had Cerebral Palsy; never walked before her visit to camp in June and five months later she was walking everywhere. She was even dancing with her dad at the closing ceremonies of camp.
Another little girl, approximately 4 years old, was at camp last time unable to sit up or use her legs, was now riding her little tricycle down the hotel hallways. Last camp, she would not let anyone touch her, so many of the therapists had to work on her at night while she slept. This time she accepted the work willingly and her cognition was alert, engaged, and everyday I heard her parents say. “This is new; she has never done this before.” I guess when Svetlana, first met her, she had never acknowledged any awareness of her outside world. She hadn’t spoken, or engaged eye contact with her parents or anyone and she was 3 years old. Her parents are amazing and so is she.
I could go on and on, there are so many stories. I came back this time from camp knowing that
“Miracles DO happen”.