Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Posted on May 18th, 2012 by Denise | No Comments

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month and as a tribute to Speech Therapists I wanted to share with you the most powerful ST treatment session I ever observed. My observation occurred while completing the Neuro-Developmental Treatment/Bobath Certificate Course in the Management and Treatment of Children with Cerebral Palsy.

The speech pathologist was an NDTA instructor and the patient was a 10 year old child with cerebral palsy and spastic quadriplegia.  She was wheelchair dependent and could only speak one word utterances due to her poor breath support and lack of abdominal control.  They decided their goal for this treatment session would be for her to speak a 5-6 word phrase without pausing.  He provided assistance as she got out of the wheelchair and removed her shoes and orthotics.  These were activities she seldom did for herself and just the beginning of her accomplishments.

What I saw over the next 60 minutes was truly amazing.  They worked on the floor, over bolsters, on and over a large ball, all the while building towards their goal.  Midway through the session the ST brought out a ball and bat.  He asked if she liked baseball and she replied “yes”.  He said have you ever hit a ball with a bat, and she replied “no”.  They then proceeded to work on her swing in standing (again a first for her) all the while focusing on her abdominals and trunk.  Before we knew it she had taken a swing and hit the ball.  Cheers abound!

Then after a few minutes he asked her if she knew the song “Take me out to the ballgame”.  She nodded yes.  He asked if she would sing it to the class.  She had already surpassed so many expectations during this one session and this was the icing on the cake!!!!  I still get chill bumps when I think about what happened next.  You could have heard a pin drop.  She was standing while the ST was providing therapeutic handling input to her trunk and abdominals.  She held the bat in ready position over her shoulder, took in her deepest breath and then it happened: “Take me out to the ballgame…”  The whole room erupted in cheers and laughs, a huge smile came over her face and we all started singing in unison “…. Take me out to the crowd; buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks….”  I glanced at her parents and will always remember their tears of joy and look of profound pride on their faces.  Priceless!

I am sure there are similar stories you have experienced.  We would love for you to share with us your most priceless therapy experiences.

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