On the Road to Independence: Ricardo Zago


On the Road to Independence: Ricardo

With flower essence therapy, Ricardo was able to change his seemingly apathetic behavior, become more self-motivated, take initiative on his own, and at the same time realized some intellectual development.

Clearing and releasing emotions to allow vitality to come forth

Ricardo’s need for masculine solar energy

The deepening of dramatic changes in cognitive and functional abilities

Working to foster more self-autonomy

The crucial need for maternal support

Ricardo, 20 years old, has a severe intellectual disability, which impairs verbal and visual abilities, learning, comprehension, and fine motor skills. He exhibits a low level of speech ability, lacks initiative, and has to be told what to do. He has little notion of his body, needing help and instructions to perform tasks of daily life. He showed delay in the stages of childhood development: he stands and sits like a baby, walking and talking like a three-year old child. He was attending various therapies during this period, which were later discontinued due to his family’s socio-economic condition.

He was treated by a neurologist and took medicines for his disease. His mother is being cautioned to strictly obey the doctor's orders because it is too risky to go without medicine.

Ricardo has good relationships with all colleagues and staff, being very friendly and shy. However, he barely shows initiative for anything, and in classroom activities someone must accompany him, and he waits for instructions. Ricardo always responds softly, and it’s surprising when at some point he changes his tone of voice. It’s obvious also however, that he knows everything that happens around him as he will unexpectedly comment on some issue or event in class.

Ricardo needs help to change clothes because he does not take initiative to do so on his own; the same occurs in regard to going to the bathroom, he does not ask to go when he needs to do so. On hot days, he does not remove his coat without being instructed. The goal of flower essence therapy is to work on his independence and autonomy. Ricardo has attended ACESA-CAPUAVA for eight years, and currently is in the pre-literate class. He is involved in various therapies for maintenance and stimulation of his condition, such as education, equine therapy, psychology, occupational therapy, speech therapy, hydrotherapy, physical education, music therapy, art, and digital lab.
Clearing and releasing emotions to allow vitality to come forth

Based on my observation of Ricardo in the classroom and reports from therapists, I developed his first flower essence formula in order to anchor him, bring in more vitality and initiative, and energy for cleaning and alignment. I chose to introduce essences for family support right away, as Ricardo had not seen his father since he abandoned his family six years ago. Today he lives with his mother, an older brother and a younger sister. The family suffers from serious economic difficulties; the mother is the family provider, and encounters difficulties in the daily care of Ricardo.

Ricardo’s formula contained: Star of Bethlehem, Clematis, Sweet Chestnut, Larch, Holly, Chicory, Baby Blue Eyes, Mariposa Lily, Tansy, Blackberry, Violet, Buttercup, Manzanita, Sunflower, Lemon, Apricot, Anise and Bush Fuchsia.

With the first formula it was already possible to notice changes in Ricardo. I realized that the progress noted by the therapists and myself would hardly be seen as progress by his mother. At home he was more rebellious and lonely for his mother because she was always working, and Ricardo’s attitude and behavior caused her even more work. But therapeutically, I believe he somehow began to release his emotions and rage. The class teacher had a big surprise because he was more talkative, had more initiative, and was lighter and had a smiling countenance.

In the classroom, the teacher says he participants much more than before. He initiates the activity alone and is diversifying his paintings, choosing the colors he wants to use; he shows a preference for the color yellow. This was a tremendous breakthrough because previously he only painted when the brush was put into his hands. He is more spontaneous in his speech and in relationships with friends and professionals, before answering only when asked and in monosyllables. He still has difficulty with activities using his body; he does not dress himself, and forgets pieces of clothing. According to the mother, at home he is very aggressive and disorganized. The mother is unhappy with his behavior; he is challenging and resists her orders. At that point he began taking the flower essences in the classroom and at home. I included Chamomile in his formula.

Ricardo’s need for masculine solar energy

I identified in Ricardo a great need for a male figure, because he last saw his father six years ago before he was abandoned by him. This figure is supplied in part by his older brother, and I intend to work closely with the father and solar essences.
In the facility, he surprised everyone when he began to express interest in fathers and male figures, such as when he saw a classmate’s photo album and said "This seems to be my father!" This was the first time he had referred to his father in all those years. He also demonstrates a fondness for Professor Daniel "because he has a beard." Daniel is a teacher of computer science, is a gentleman, and is very calm and affectionate with his students; he has a paternal air about him.

Ricardo was praised by the speech therapist; in the previous year he had great resistance to the exercises in therapy, but this year has shown excellent results.
The art teacher also praised him saying that he had improved greatly, showed interest and participated satisfactorily in various activities.
Occupational therapy showed very significant improvement, Ricardo responded to simple and medium instructions, interacting with the therapist, and expressing himself more and doing better.

Ricardo also participates in art therapy. He initiates activities alone without being asked and is already diversifying the colors of the paintings. He has more spontaneous speech in his relationships with friends and professionals. He participates in group activities, speaking very low, but occasionally gives coherent answers. He also presents some difficulty in daily activities due to lack of initiative.

I changed is formula slightly and included: Cerato, Chesnut Bud, Chicory, Clematis, Holly, Larch, Walnut, Angelica, Baby Blue Eyes, Blackberry, Cosmos, Echinacea, Fairy Lantern, Iris, Larkspur, Madia, Manzanita, Mariposa Lily, Pink Monkeyflower, Pretty Face, Sunflower, Columbine, Green Rose, Lemon, Apricot, Anise and Bush Fuchsia.

The deepening of dramatic changes in cognitive and functional abilities

At the beginning of the school year Ricardo is being praised by all who said he has made a lot of improvement. He is recognizing some numbers, wrote number 1 (one) by himself and recognizes the letter A. During one educational activity, at the teacher’s request, he painted a yellow star, waited for instructions to paint some balloons red, and did not mix the colors. The teacher was very happy, because due to his condition, his motor coordination is impaired. Recognizing shapes was a major breakthrough and he waited for the new instructions and colors, which shows a strong development in his painting, which had been stagnant for a long time.

Several therapists were ecstatic about his progress; Ricardo for a long time had never performed activities with initiative, without receiving commands prior to any action. Importantly of note, was Ricardo’s progress in the early period after flower therapy treatment, as there was no change in his neurological medication or dosage of medicine.

In Ricardo’s next formula I also included: Centaury, Mimulus, Lewisia, Saguaro, Oregon Grape, and Poison Oak.

Working to foster more self-autonomy

There was a consensus among therapists that they would review the proposed work for Ricardo, requiring a little more of him. At the time, he was identifying all the vowel letters and allowing the teacher to hold his hand to write his name, which was no longer quite so rigid. He was relaxed and confident; before, he would not even allow anyone to touch him.

Ricardo’s mother came to ACESA-CAPUAVA to ask for help with basic activities, like washing his face, because he would not let her help him. However, Ricardo is accepting the authority of his older brother, who is energetic and strong and he does what his brother requests of him.

I perceived a complicated mother with painful emotions, a negative Chicory type of person: at the same time she wants to take care of him, she needs to accept his condition, and she is reluctant to empower him. She also deals with her pain of abandonment and personal difficulties. Ricardo’s mother came to my request for an interview, describing his progress at home: he was more communicative, his questions were more consistent, and he showed more attention. There were two nights that he did not wet the bed. The weaknesses she reported were resistance to her, he was stubborn, anxious about the food, had heightened sexuality, and used insulting words.

We wanted to work with Ricardo to help establish his own identity, permitting him to perform tasks alone, and she should work on healthy boundaries, and support and guidance in regard to negative attitudes.

Ricardo’s mother took home a formula for herself, but this was the only time I attended the interviews, not continuing the flower essence therapy.
Ricardo’s formula for the next couple of months included:

Centaury, Chestnut Bud, Chicory, Clematis, Holly, Heather, Walnut, Baby Blue Eyes, Basil, Blackberry, Cosmos, Echinacea, Fairy Lantern, Iris, Larkspur, Manzanita, Mariposa Lily, Oregon Grape, Pink Monkeyflower, Shasta Daisy, Sunflower, Columbine, Lemon, Lewisia, Rue, Apricot, Anise, and Bush Fuchsia.

The crucial need for maternal support

Ricardo went through a difficult stage with his family because his mother is working much of the time and is barely present at home at times when Ricardo needs her.
He regressed in therapy, in his behavior and achievements in the classroom. Therapists reported difficulties verbally, visually, he was apathetic and had repetitive movements. Ricardo appeared to be frightened and refused the requests of the therapists.

Ricardo attacked a friend in class physically, and another friend verbaly, which is not his normal behavior. Sometimes he was very excited and talkative, and it was considered whether or not he had taken his medicines properly due to lack of caregivers at home.

His development in art therapy stopped, and he did not respond to instructions; he had to be helped to paint, and painted with bright colors and repetitive movements, constantly asking to leave the room. In response to all this, his formula contained:

Gentian, Star of Bethlehem, Sweet Chestnut, Larch, Holly, Clematis, Wild Rose, Angelica, Bleeding Heart, Mariposa Lily, Baby Blue Eyes, Zinnia, Chamomile, Echinacea, Sunflower, Splendid Mariposa Lily, and Green Rose.
It seems that nothing worked. Ricardo went into withdrawal that was visible to everyone. I could not trace the essences used above. I feel as if he had gone back to the womb, or somewhere very deep within himself, where he could be free of pain. After a period of one year with significant progress, he now seems not to trust, can no longer be exposed. Apparently, the period without care brought him great pain and pressure, leaving him mistrustful, protected inside his own apathy. The lack of consistency in taking his medicines brought about huge losses - educational, emotional and developmental. Trusting, being able to expose himself again, venturing into the world as he was doing earlier are now major tasks for him. We all grieve when we realize his loss and pain. It was not just the loss of therapies, but also the loss of joy in his eyes. In fact, he no longer looks people in the eye, sings or dances anymore. He experienced a piece of sweet and savory in the world, and has now returned to the shade.

The next school year begins with Ricardo attending part-time with a new teacher. He appears to be scattered and apathetic, but is more careful. I started the year with the previous formula, adding flowers that could help him with the apathy, depression and pain. The flower essence therapy starts all over again looking for Ricardo, bringing to light his pain, helping him find the courage to trust again:

Gentian, Star of Bethlehem, Sweet Chestnut, Larch, Holly, Clematis, Wild Rose, Walnut, Mustard, Angelica, Bleeding Heart, Mariposa Lily, Baby Blue Eyes, Zinnia, Chamomile, Echinacea, Sunflower, Larkspur, Pink Monkeyflower, St. John’s Wort, Splendid Mariposa Lily, Green Rose and Apricot.

Ricardo started the year disparagingly, became alienated and could not be without medicine. However months later, he now seems to be out of his apathy, he participates, answers questions when asked, and while sometimes does not appear to be listening, gives the correct answer. He gives his opinion, and notices details. He had difficulty in adapting to the new teacher, but became more willing and participated in activities over time, because now his mother is home with him at least half the time, and that has served him well.


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