Individualized Supports Independent Services For Lauren Noelle Saulenas

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Physical Therapy 01 title

I start everyday with an extensive regimen of stretching and strengthening exercises. I have to do this because I have spastic cerebral palsy. I suffered brain damage at the the time of my birth and as a result, my brain tells alot of my muscles to tighten up (all the time...even when I'm asleep ). If I didn't work hard every day to stretch, my muscles would shorten and deform my bones and contract my joints permanently. I wouldn't be able to sit up straight in my wheelchair. I wouldn't be able to use my arms to play my musical instruments. I wouldn't be able to breath normally or swallow without choking.

Spasticity is a hard thing to deal with because it is everyday for the rest of your life. It is forever. In addition to my exercises, I use special foot braces to help keep my feet from curling up. I use hand splints and elbow splints that help me to keep all those joints mobile.

Sometimes I get mad and don't want to do my exercises and Fae says that's OK. She and I have games that we play and songs that we sing that help make things easier for me. My staff have learned to do this too. It's not so hard if I can sing while I do my exercises. 




I do my reciprocal movement exercises independently. What that means is that I initiate the flexion in my right leg while keeping my left leg straight. This is a very difficult ( near impossible ) feat for a person who is a quadriplegic spastic like me. When I move my right leg,  my left leg naturally wants to do the exact same thing at the exact same time. This turns out to be a real problem if you want to walk. I walk with assistance and it took me years and years of hard work to teach my body about reciprocal movement.  Fae and I started to work on this when I was really young and I finally was able to take my first steps  with help when I was twelve years old.

I never get discouraged about how long it takes to learn something. I think that the most important thing is to always try.


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