We are often asked if the children that we see maintain the results achieved after the intensive therapy finishes. Since it isn’t possible to do 3 hours plus recovery per day at home, it leads to concerns that the child will lose any strength or skills that he or she has gained once the program has finished.
Have you ever heard of the saying ‘use it or you lose it?’ It does not just apply to muscle strength but also to brain activity. Studies have shown that keeping your brain active can help prevent neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s’ disease. Keeping the brain active can also prevent symptoms from worsening. This is similar to how you keep your muscles and bones strong. In order for your body to remain strong, you have to use it to prevent deterioration. Through regular use, muscles remain strong, connective tissues get a chance to stretch and are prevented from becoming tight, while neurons remain stimulated and keep their sensation and the brain retains the processes of how to move.
Have you exercised for a short period of time, like a few weeks? And then noticed how you lose whatever gains you had by stopping the exercise? It is exactly the same for children following an exercise program. They need to keep using their muscles and keep practicing the new skills acquired for them to maintain the results.
The best way to maintain the results gained after doing intensive therapy is to keep up the new skills and new strength that has been developed. If a child learns how to crawl, sit or walk during an intensive session then that is what needs to be practiced at home in order to maintain that motor skill.
Not only do we recommend that you practice any new skills, you will also be given a home program to help you keep up the strength that has been developed. We want each child to maintain the skills that they have developed, and be ready for the next intensive session where we can advance those skills even further.
We devote our last two days of an intensive therapy session to thoroughly go through the home program where each parent or carer gets to practice the exercises. For the last two sessions, the child still does therapy and the parents and therapists take turns assisting the child. We then give videos of the home program and all of the information & equipment that is needed. Finally, we also contact families regularly to ensure everything runs smoothly at home.