Juliana has difficulty looking and holding her head to the far left, as well as tilts her head to the right when looking straightforward. A few days before we moved to the south, an orthopedic doctor in Caen told us that Juliana needs kiné three times a week for a month. The first thing we did when we moved to Banon was found a kiné and started the sessions.
We only have two kinés in Banon. She explained to us that Juliana’s neck and the muscles down to under her arms need massaging and stretching – they were too tight. Once they are loose, she will be able to turn her head again. It all made sense so we trusted her.
Juliana hated these session and would scream throughout them. She would actually start screaming as soon as I would lay her onto the table because she knew what was coming. Towards the end of the month, she was a little more relaxed. I think it was only because her sessions moved from being around 30 minutes each to about 10 minutes. We were rushed in and out each time.
After a month, we saw a pediatrician at the PMI for her monthly appointment. She verified that Juliana still has the same problem and needs more kiné sessions. The pediatrician also gave us the name of a kiné that specializes in children but is located in Manosque. Manosque is 30 minutes away on a winding road around mountains that makes me physically ill each time. Yippee!
At first we thought we should try the other kiné in town to save us from this trip. We settled on the decision to try the kiné in Manosque to see what she does. If it is the same as what the kiné in town would do then we will just have the next session in town. After our first session with the child kiné, we will never take our daughter again to a regular kiné.
My first impressions of the kiné were very positive. She was energetic, upbeat and very personable. Her first 5 to 10 minutes with Juliana were spent on building a relationship, not going straight into physical therapy. She gathered toys that Juliana approved and played. The sessions began while Juliana continued playing. Juliana never even realized she was in a session.
The kiné placed a large toy in front of Juliana to play with and then every minute distracted her on her left side with a noisy toy. The point was to get Juliana to keep looking left in order to build her neck muscles. Towards the end of the appointment, she placed Juliana on a large rubber ball laying down. The kiné would twist Juliana up into a sitting position, but Juliana had to help out. When Juliana tried to sit, she was working out her neck muscles.
She explained to us that the other kiné’s method did not work because the problem was not that the muscles were tight. Juliana’s problem exists because the doctors pulled too hard on the baby’s head during delivery. The muscles need to be strengthened and retrained on what to do. Without physical therapy, this problem still persist when she is older.
I did not go to the second session with my husband. I got to stay home and work instead of having my stomach do flips when driving on that road. My husband said that Juliana was already showing progress. She moves her head more easily to the left. She is also picking up on things quickly, such as going from a lay to sitting position.
The difference between seeing a regular kiné vs one specialized for children was significant. The physical therapy room was completely outfitted with stuff just for children – such as toys, furniture and equipment. The kiné is also trained on specific problems with children. Children are not just mini adults, their anatomy and needs are different as they develop into adults.
Also, having someone work with children that loves children is an entirely different experience than an adult that just likes children. I prefer to have sessions with someone that believes in establishing a relationship with the child. If the child starts getting annoyed or crying, it means she needs to try a different approach to what she is doing or stop the therapy for a moment to give the child a break. Not continue through the tears and stress the child out further.
I am not sure how easy it is to find kinés specialized for children around France. If your child needs to see a kiné then I highly recommend you try to find one. Maybe even call your local PMI to see if they can suggest someone to you. I only wish we knew about this when Juliana needed chest physical therapy, I am sure it would have been an entirely different experience for us all.