Hands that do not Move, do not Exist
an Update on Ayelet, a Baby with Down Syndrome
Ayelet, an 8 month old baby with Down Syndrome came for a session, mostly due to low muscle tone: she hardly used her hands that were often slanted at the sides of her body. It was clear to me that for Ayelet, her arms did not exist. Lying on her back, she was unable to roll from back to tummy.
After our first counseling session, Ayelet’s mother told me that Ayelet is reaching to touch different objects, and that it appears she begins discovering her hands.
In order for us to control our movements, our organs have to move, allowing the brain to map their complex existence. For our brain, an organ that does not move does not exist, and, therefore, the map does not map it. It is a magic circle in which the immobilized organ does not exist—from the brain’s perspective—and therefore maintains its immobilization. I therefore suggested to maintain an intensive week of twice-per-day sessions.
Ayelet began putting her hands into her mouth for extensive periods of time – mapping her hands and gaining control over them. At the same time, she started rolling from her back to her tummy – a position that, until recently, was impossible due to her low muscle tone.
After two weeks of recess, in which I spent time training abroad, we reconvened for an additional one and a half weeks of intensive sessions. Meanwhile, Ayelet has begun crawling backwards, and, would also move in her sleep – her parents would find her in a different position than the one she fell asleep in. Today, after the weekend, we held an additional session and Ayelet, now able to rise up with the support of her hands, gradually discovers the world and her parents, maintain vivacious and cheerful eye contact and, occasionally, plays with the toys around her. In addition, Ayelet has begun lifting her buttocksm discovering how to push herself forward. Her communication has also become more diverse and differentiated, much like her movements, her facial expressions and her gaze.
It is fascinating to see how the brain learns and continually changes, following bodily movements. It is this feedback, between the brain and the movement of the organs, that than replicates and implements this learning ability to other spheres, such as language, emotional communication with oneself and with one’s surrounding.