We just finished our participation in an interesting study which looked at the effect of Qi Gong, a type of massage, on speech and motor skills in kids with Down syndrome. You can read more about the study here.
This was a randomized controlled trial, the gold standard of research, so we were glad to help out-- it is so rare that therapies and treatments that are recommended for kids with Down syndrome are studied using good scientific methods. We need to know what helps and what doesn't, and these kinds of studies can help give us that information.
It was pretty simple- since we were randomized to the intervention group, we attended a lecture and demonstration where we learned how to do the massage, then Anthony had some testing which took about an hour. Then six months later we brought him in for followup testing to see how things had changed. Here he is at the followup testing appointment last week:
As part of the study, they provided support from a massage therapist who came to our house 5 times to help make sure we were doing the massage correctly, and to troubleshoot any problems.
I have to say, though, that we were bad research subjects. As soon as the home visits stopped, we weren't consistent with doing the massage (it was recommended to do it every day). Anthony didn't like it and he fussed so much whenever we tried to do it that we kind of gave up after a couple of months. I don't know why- wouldn't you like it if someone gave you a massage every day?
Anyway, even if we didn't do the massage consistently, Anthony has certainly made a lot of gains over the last 6 months. We were so proud of him at his testing! He was so patient and focused. At the baseline testing in August he wouldn't even sit at the table.
We hope our non-compliance with the protocol doesn't mess up the study results too much, but we have a feeling this little research subject is going to make the treatment group look pretty good!