This blog is a way of sharing the information and resources that have helped me to recover my son Roo from an Autism Spectrum Disorder. What I have learned is to view our symptoms as the results of underlying biological cause, which can be identified and healed. I say "our symptoms" because I also have a neuro-immune disorder called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

And, of course, I am not a doctor (although I have been known to impersonate one while doing imaginative play with my son)- this is just our story and information that has been helpful or interesting to us. I hope it is helpful and interesting to you!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Living With And Overcoming Brain and Neurological Injury

My Beautiful Broken Brain
This video documentary was made by a young woman who suffered a massive stroke, and chronicles her experiences, therapies, and progress in trying to recover as much as she can.  It also provides a powerful window into what life is like for her after the stroke and how it has affected how she sees the world and how she functions in it.

The Woman Who Changed Her Brain: Barbara Arrowsmith-Young at TEDxToronto

John Elder Robison talks about how TMS treatments have helped him with some of his Asperger's symptoms.  For more on TMS go here.

The Real Sleeping Beauty (Medical Miracle Documentary) - Real Stories
This is the story of a woman who came out of a coma after 20 years and began to speak again.  This is almost unheard of and it's not clear why she was able to do it, but it does offer hope that there are more possibilities for healing from brain injury than had previously been thought.

Empowering the Mind to Heal the Brain for Stroke | Dr. Eric C. Leuthardt 
This man gives a talk describing a therapeutic device that he created to help people who have lost some motor function due to a stroke.  It helps the brain learn a new way to control motor movement that has been lost.  This is a new technology that has not been thoroughly studied yet, but so far the results are impressive and people using the device have regained abilities that doctors have considered not possible.

Dystonia. Rewiring the brain through movement and dance | Federico Bitti
This man tells us what developing Dystonia, a neurological movement disorder, felt like and how life limiting it was.  He tried several of the conventional treatments but the disorder continued to worsen.  He did not want to undergo the very invasive brain surgery that was his only option, according to his specialist.  Instead he found someone who was developing a treatment modality based in neuroplasticity- retraining the brain with a customized program of exercises and movements that gave Mr. Bitti back much of the control over his body so that he regained many of the abilities that he had lost.  He then accidentally stumbled onto another way to overcome the remaining symptoms; he discovered that dancing was for him a very powerful way to work with his body and continue to heal.  What it also gave him back was a way to enjoy being in his body again.  For people who lose basic motor function, the experience of physicality- of being in your body- can become so unpleasant, it can feel like fighting a losing battle, and it cannot be emphasized enough how much this affects quality of life.  Finding ways to work with your body and to enjoy movement again can make a profound difference.  As Mr. Bitti says, it can be a way to find your bit of paradise inside of the hell of the movement disorder.