ABM for Children
Perhaps you've read
about ABM (The Anat Baniel Method) or heard about Anat Baniel's
work but aren't clear how the Method could help you or your child
who has special needs.
Anat Baniel published her first book based on her program 'Move
Into Life: the Nine Essentials for Lifelong Vitality' in 2010.
It's a great read and really demonstrates through anecdotes,
practical advice about incorporating the 'essentials' into daily
life and short movement lessons how movement organises the brain
and consequently can transform your way of thinking and moving,
and be life-changing and revitalising.
In early 2012, Anat Baniel's second book titled 'Kids Beyond
Limits' was published. In her new book, Anat presents 'the Nine
Essentials' and how they underpin working with children with
special needs, no matter what the diagnosis.
Supported by the latest brain plasticity research, Anat
demonstrates how her nine principles have the capacity to
effectively enhance a child's movement awareness, allowing
important connections to be made in the brain which can bring
about potent change. Through gentle touch and subtle movement, the
method provides an experiential learning environment based on
playing using developmental movement principles. It respectfully
assists a child to fill in gaps in their self-awareness and to
develop the ability to find ways to move in and out of situations.
As a child develops more movement confidence, self-motivation
increases and it becomes easier to get around and explore his
In short the use of movement, attention and deeper awareness are
the basis of this learning process. The benefits of this unique
approach are cumulative, just as making changes in your life on
other levels equate to 'being in a process'.
ABM is exciting to work with. As a practitioner I enjoy working
with small children and seeing them become happier, more curious
and more confident to learn.
This work is also effective in improving movement coordination and
balance for older children and adults.
Two years ‘Playing Around’ with the Feldenkrais Method (Parental
consent was given to use the child’s actual name in this article.)
By Louise Rothols
In April 2005 a few months prior to graduating from my training, I
was fortunate to meet a little girl called Grace. Five years
earlier, a few days after her birth, Grace had stopped breathing
and had been rushed to hospital. All these years later, she
seemed stuck in a time warp without the ability to walk, talk, or
express intention or will. There seemed to be so many issues
that needed attention – I did not know where to start. So, I
simply suggested to her mother that we get together and see if the
Feldenkrais method could assist with Grace’s mobility. At
that time she was confined to life in her pram. She often
wore a ‘second skin’ to keep her upright – it literally held her
together. It was also confining. I hoped we could
release her from her physical self-confinement.
At our first session, I asked Grace’s mother what she would like
to improve for her daughter. Her wish was that Grace could
walk and talk. It was a big ‘ask’. Neither of us had
any idea of what potential lay hidden before us. Week upon
week Grace and I played around using ATM ideas. Sometimes
Grace laughed and sometimes she cried and got frustrated, however
every now and again there was a kind of stillness and a big yawn
and then Grace become animated and fully present in the
moment. This was the beginning of attention and
concentration; when the experience and sensing of a movement had
meaning for Grace.
Grace’s mother continued to bring her daughter despite the fact
that it seemed as if little was happening. Well, small
changes seemed apparent but nothing miraculous. I reminded
myself that I wasn’t promoting miracles; I was there to help Grace
‘learn how to learn’ and movement was the mode through which this
would take place.
Grace fell ill from
time to time. Illness was a set-back to her development and
learning, so her mother started to give her an anti-oxidant
‘tonic’ daily and lo and behold her overall health improved.
She was happy, often really happy. Change took place in late
2006, marked by an improvement in her concentration and
learning. This was also when Grace showed the desire to be
able to walk. This determination and will to be upright and
to walk like other people seemed to strengthen as the weeks went
by. We played with ATM ideas to build confidence in walking,
to improve her upright posture, to make the transition from
sitting to standing easier for her, to help her sense her pelvis
and the transference of weight from one foot to the other, to
create the ‘most dynamic balance possible’ considering her
limitations, as well as spending lots of time focusing on
developmental movement themes, eye-hand coordination, head-pelvic
coordination, spinal flexion – extension and rotation, crossing
arms and legs through the midline in different positions, working
from, to and across the midline and of course, lots of
differentiation.… the list is endless, the possibilities for
improvement are endless also.
In between our sessions, Grace would surprise her mother at home
by showing new interest in her surrounds and being more
independent in her movements. She would practice movements
like climbing onto a chair and then climbing off the chair –
teaching herself reversibility.
Grace then started to make clear eye contact and move her head to
look right and left, up and down and diagonally because she was
interested in all there was to see around her. One day after
doing some side-lying movements, she promptly stood up and looked
at her mother and started huffing and puffing. She really
wanted to communicate something. This was the first time I
had seen such outward expression as if she wanted to talk.
At school, Grace started walking with her physiotherapist, walking
with one hand held for reassurance. She wanted to walk and
walk and walk. At home she would try to bend down to pick
things up e.g.. from the clothes basket on the floor and she would
get excited when viewing cooking programmes on the television.
We are two years down
the track and still have a long way to go. I am extremely
humbled by having had the chance to experience part of Grace’s
slow journey to catch up and make progress with her
development. The window has been unlocked, the curtains are
open and we can see some light ahead. I put this all down to
Grace’s innate intelligence and her hunger for bigger
challenges. She appears to not want to let her disability
get in the way of her potential ability. This is
inspirational and that’s why I call her ‘amazing’ Grace.
Restoring Proprioception, Kinaesthesia and Coordinated
Movement with The Feldenkrais Method.
This poster has been written by Cindy Allison, a NZ Feldenkrais
The poster is about how the Feldenkrais method is a form of
sensory motor education. The method helps to restore
proprioception and coordinated movement, by combining an
understanding of the complexities of movement with an
understanding of the learning process.
The poster includes research references to studies using the
method. This poster is being made available to as many
people as possible, especially the public.
Improving Sensory Motor Function after a Spinal Cord Injury.
The Feldenkrais approach to sensory motor education.
This article has been written by Cindy Allison, a NZ
This booklet is intended for people with spinal cord injury (SCI)
and their support crew including family, friends, carers and
The aim of this booklet is intended as a brief introduction to the
Feldenkrais Method and it’s relevance to recovering sensory motor
function in SCI. Other benefits, such as reduction in pain and
spasm, are mentioned and a brief introduction to the sensory motor
system is included. It is not intended to cover all the benefits
people have experienced through the Method. For many with pain and
disability, the Feldenkrais Method has been life changing.