River - Day 1 - Island Running
*name changed for minor’s protection*
The first time I met River was a Thursday night at 6:30. About an hour before his bedtime he was running circles around the kitchen island. His mother was referred to me by a mutual acquaintance. We chatted a few weeks prior to discuss River. He was a 2.5 year old non-verbal Autistic child who was generally happy although prone to tantrums. He had also just started a new school where therapy was the priority. River’s parents were on a holistic journey with him as well as including the entire family. They shifted their diet to gluten free and more organic options. They were inquiring about alternative therapies such as acupuncture and chiropractic care. They reached out to me for Craniosacral Therapy every other week as part of his bedtime routine and to see if it would help him sleep.
As River ran circles around and around the island his parents and I chatted about what the process looked like and what to expect. His mother and I got his attention with a red balloon, his favorite color, and brought him to his bedroom where we could close the door. His mom and I sat on the floor and waited until River calmed down a little bit. I explained to River what I was going to do, like putting my hands gently on his body. I also let him know he could show me where he wanted my hands and that he could also tell me when he had had enough. His mom said that he doesn’t really respond to verbal commands and I acknowledged that fact. He eventually sat on the floor with us and I asked him if it was ok if I placed my hands on his body. River allowed me to place my hands on his feet while I did a “Still Point” (a Craniosacral technique where we bring the Craniosacral system to a state of deep relaxation). He quieted down immediately. After his body relaxed he laid down and put his head in my lap. I asked him where he would like my hands to be and he grabbed them and placed them on his belly. His mom was shocked. He RARELY ever responded to a command or request with such intention. After a few minutes his body relaxed again and he got up to play independently for a few minutes.
This is totally normal for kids to do at this age. After their body relaxes it sometimes takes a few minutes for their bodies to adjust to the changes that just happened. His mom and I chatted about how this is normal and when he’s ready he’ll either come back or I’ll ask to try again.
A few minutes passed by and I went to where he was playing and I asked again if I could place my hands on his body. I was able to do a little more work releasing his occiput and allowing the flow of cerebrospinal fluid to flow easier between his skull and sacrum. After his body responded he sat down on the floor again with his mom and me and he took my hands and placed them on his feet. I did another Still Point as we were coming to the end of our 30 minute session. River’s mom looked at me in amazement and we opened the door to go back out to the living room. River climbed up on the couch and covered himself in his stuffy friends and just sat there. His dad joined us and asked how things went and asked some questions about Craniosacral and if he could get a session too.
After our goodbyes I was letting myself out and as I was closing the door I heard River’s dad say “ He’s just so chill”. To that I said “Welcome to Craniosacral Therapy”.