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Traumatic Brain Injury


Brain Injury can be an over-arching diagnosis that encompasses many different characteristics and functioning. The Jacob’s Ladder perspective for children with a brain injury looks beyond the diagnosis to the whole child. As traumatic or acquired brain injury can happen in different areas of the brain that are responsible for different functions and cognitive processes, we assess each child based on their current level of function.

The Jacob’s Ladder Methodology harnesses the premises of neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to change based on the input and stimulation it receives. The main way the brain to able to change by providing a variety of new input to all the senses and doing whole body movements; both are difficult when a child’s body position and activities are fixed. The Jacob’s Ladder methodology places a high value on the getting a child out of their wheelchair or away from their support and onto the floor in order to deliver organized motor and sensory input. Gross motor patterning sets up the foundation for learning by developing interhemispheric connections and communication. By completing activities that allow the brain to process and integrate information, we can address a child’s overall level of function.

Depending on the area of injury, children with a brain injury may also present with muscle tone irregularities. Instead of looking at tonicity as a muscular concern, Jacob’s Ladder views it as a neural concern. Muscles receive the message to contract or relax based on the signal from the nervous system; tight tone muscles are receiving this message on a consistent basis and muscles with low tone do not consistently receive the message. By working to develop an organized neural pathway from the brain to the muscles in a normalized manner, we can address muscles tonicity at it base function.