The Feldenkrais Method™:
A Brain-based Approach that will help your child do everything better
We call them little sponges, because they can soak up so much new information in such a short time. When they are happy, they jump up and down and yell out their excitement. When they are mad, they cast themselves on the floor and kick and scream. They act wholly no matter what they are throwing themselves into because they know no other way.
Yet, when we notice a problem with one of our children, we are encouraged to break them down into little pieces, targeting symptoms one at a time rather than providing the child with support on a systemic level. Physical therapy is put into place for coordination and strength. Occupational therapy is offered for fine motor skills and speech, for communication. But what would happen if we actually worked on the control center of all of these things…the BRAIN?
The nervous system is the organizer of everything so that when we make changes there, they are systemic changes that the child can begin to make use of right away in all aspects of their daily lives. This translates into changes in movement, in fine motor control, and in speech, as well as in the child’s overall behavior and approach to problem solving. The Feldenkrais Method™ provides us with the opportunity to make such important global changes by tapping into the vital relationship between movement and learning. By using movement, we can, in a sense, teach the child how to learn.
Because movement is a language your brain understands well, small, gentle movements can be used to form millions of new connections in the brain. These new connections bring with them an increased sense of awareness and ease. This sense of ease is critical from a learning standpoint. We must begin from a place where the child feels able rather than a place of difficulty. We grow ourselves best from our healthiest places, and we tend to shut down when we are challenged in our places of difficulty. Therefore, if this is to be about learning, it must also be about ease.
If you teach children how to crawl, that is exactly what they will learn, and the learning will end there. However, if you give them a toolbox that contains all of the little pieces that make up crawling, they can later use these pieces to build towards standing, walking, running, and even the refinement of all of these skills! And since these pieces are being given to them by forging new connections in their brains, these changes bring new possibilities to every aspect of their lives!
Whenever I work with a child who seems entirely out of touch, out of reach, in their own world, I look forward to the moment when their eyes light up, and they awaken to their potential. It doesn’t take long for this to happen because we are communicating in the language of movement, which is a direct pathway into the brain. You can actually see their learning switches get flipped on! Things become possible that were never possible before. When this happens, parents sometimes feel like they are able to get to know their children for the first time in their lives. It is, quite simply, beautiful.
When problems are taken on early in a child’s life, and the child is given this kind of neurological support, so many doors open, and so much becomes possible. Kids diagnosed with Autism and Spectrum Disorders have been known to receive changes in diagnosis and place themselves off the Spectrum. Children with undiagnosed delays are suddenly catching up. Children who aren’t speaking suddenly begin putting sentences together. It is exciting! It is powerful! It is why I do what I do. It is why my daughter Nora Kate, who was born with Down Syndrome continues to grow, thrive, and surprise so many around her. It is the fulfillment of Moshe Feldenkrais’s vision “to make the impossible possible, the possible easy, and the easy elegant.”
Lynn Kenny is a Guild-Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner who came to the Method because of its success in helping her daughter who was born with Down Syndrome. It is the profound changes in her daughter, Nora Kate, that drove her to change her path and begin her 6-year study of the Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education. Lynn cherishes the opportunity to use her knowledge to help children and adults of all ages.