Monday, March 11, 2013
Brain Awareness Week and the Anat Baniel Method
The ABM practitioner we are seeing is coming here from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Rob met her in January during a workshop about ABM. Through another mom of a little boy with cerebral palsy, we learned the practitioner is coming back to Bismarck so we decided to schedule Faith for some lessons (they call them lessons, not therapy sessions). The mom I talked to recommended getting the book, "Kids Beyond Limits" by Anat Baniel before the lessons started and I am glad I did!
Through working with Moshe Feldenkrais, Anat Baniel has developed her own method of working with kids with special needs. For the past thirty years, she has worked with kids who have cerebral palsy, autism, ADHD, undiagnosed developmental delays and any other type of special need caused by a dysfunction of the brain. She is originally from Israel but currently works out of her center in San Rafael, California.
The book is helping me to learn more about the Anat Baniel Method, and I must say I am really excited to see how this can help Faith. We seem to be at a standstill with her traditional therapy and it is a little disappointing because I feel Faith is capable of so much more! I also know though, that I can't put all of my hope in this alternative therapy but we know we can't not try it either, especially since we have a practitioner coming here to Bismarck! (Most of the ABM practitioners work in large cities throughout the country).
The whole basis of ABM makes so much sense. While traditional therapy tends to focus on doing repetitive movements, exercises and botox injections to help relax the muscles, ABM gets to the root of the issue - the damaged parts of the brain that cause the muscles to have high tone. The focus is all on the brain and the goal is to find ways to help the brain reorganize itself by forming new neural connections. Anat Baniel writes "today we know that the brain can change itself. It is the part of us that is, in fact, most capable of change." How exactly do you get the brain to change and to form new neural connections? Well, I still have a lot to learn but between meeting and working with an ABM practitioner and reading the book, Kids Beyond Limits, I hope we can gain insight that will help Faith.
I can't wait to share with you how are lessons went - we have four scheduled this week. I'll try to take some photos too and share those as well. What about you - are you a special needs parent who has tried ABM with your child? What were your experiences, good or bad? I would love to hear from you! Happy Brain Awareness Week!