The Anat Baniel Method is a science-based, breakthrough approach that focuses on the child’s brain and its remarkable ability to change and learn. This unique method evolved from Anat’s background, the work of Dr. Feldenkrais, and the thousands of people Anat has helped. With this gentle approach, the focus is not on the child’s limitations. Rather than trying to force children into developmental milestones they are not ready to meet, which may only deepen their limitations, the method wakes up the child’s brain to create new connections, often at a staggering rate, leading to spontaneous, often extraordinary breakthroughs.
It can be tempting to try to tackle a child’s limitations by trying to “fix” them, be that by repeatedly stretching tight muscles or by trying to get a child to sit, stand, walk, or talk when he can’t do it. The greatest potential for transformation, though often difficult to grasp, is not in trying to make children do what they can’t, but in finding ways to help each child’s brain differentiate and spontaneously discover how to go beyond his or her limitations. With the Anat Baniel Method the therapist understands that if a child could do something, he would. Instead of trying to mechanically force the child to do what he can’t, the therapist begins working with the child where he is. Using very gentle movements, the therapist ensures the child is comfortable and paying attention to what she or he feels. Such movements flood the brain with new information it needs in order to create solutions that transcend the child’s current limitations. Every child’s future depends on learning. The brain shapes and structures itself constantly in response to its experiences. We want these experiences to provide the child’s brain with lots of new information that is positive and useful. Rather than drilling the child in a repetitious way, the method provides the brain with information it requires to organize new skills. Once the child has mastered a new skill, he or she will practice it spontaneously, just as all children do. The method is easy to implement in daily life, creating the conditions for the brain of the child with special needs to become an amazing learning machine.
To find a practitioner in your area, check the ABM & Feldenkrais websites below:
“Starting ABM was a real turning point in Claire's mobility. Before ABM, I was working, and working, and working with her and she was actually under performing her prognosis. After our first few ABM appts, I could see significant changes in her. She was making sense of her body and as a result she started moving much more fluidly. In ABM, the practitioner does movements that teach the child effective ways to move their body. For instance, Claire has struggled with bearing weight with her feet flat on the ground. Traditional PT would put her in more bracing. In ABM, the practitioner does movements with her feet and legs, starting by moving them in the direction they like to bear weight and then gently moving them in different directions--essentially starting where the body feels comfortable and then gently teaching it new, more effective ways to move. Its so encouraging to go to appts and know that she will progress more and more and that her practitioner is working with her in a way that is not pressuring her, putting her in uncomfortable positions, or asking her to do what is difficult. Instead, she is gently leading Claire to learn new ways to move her body naturally--which then leads to concrete increases in mobility.”
“We have had two ABM treatments. The first one when my daughter was only 5 months old. We had been working with traditional PT to get her to roll from back to front, but she seemed to be making no progress. Then the day after her ABM treatment she rolled over for the first time. Coincidence? Maybe. But a few weeks ago we had an ABM intensive, meaning three consecutive days of twice a day treatments - six total sessions. The results were truly amazing. The first improvement was the type that I expected - improvement in movement and function. Our daughter had always used both arms and legs to crawl, but she did it flat on the ground, not up on her hands and knees. So it was an army crawl using all four limbs. So our therapist worked on getting her up on all fours and she really improved in this area. She gets up on all fours and rocks and is working on crawling that way now. But the even more drastic improvement, that I didn't anticipate, was the improvement in her body's flexibility or looseness. I didn't realize how tight and rigid her body was. When I got home, I handed her to my teenage son and he almost dropped her because her body was so soft and pliable. And this affected her whole body, but most amazingly her feet and hips. She has dislocated hips which have always been extremely tight and clubbed feet that barely moved at all and both became extremely pliable. This improvement is truly incredible. We have been working on her clubfeet with every imaginable treatment, including myofascial release, achilles tendon release, stretching, splinting, casting, you name it. But nothing produced even close to this much improvement in the flexibility of her feet. I can't wait for our next intensive!”
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