The process of child development; crawling, reaching, rolling-over, sitting up, standing, walking, running, skipping, jumping, is both miraculous, and something we often take for granted. But for children with developmental challenges, these biological functions are often disrupted, or not readily available. Cerebral palsy, brain and nerve injuries, birth defects, genetic disorders, sensory integration disorder, autism, various kinds of learning delays all present challenges to normal development—and to the child’s parents, care givers and teachers.
When I work with a child (2 months and up), I focus on what the child can already do well (because every child, with any condition, will have some things that he or she can do well), support the child in learning to do that even better, and then help the child build upon that success. This process may take the form of guiding the child through simple, gentle movement sequences or movement challenges that strengthen neural patterns while also building movement confidence. Moshe Feldenkrais discovered that improvement of one function usually improves other functions. By focusing on the child’s strengths in one area, a foundation is built for learning and strengthening other areas.