The Feldenkrais Method with Atypical Children
Friday, January 1, 1999

Section: Babies & Children

For the past several years, Feldenkrais® Practitioner, Linda Flanders, has been working with atypical children; those who have complex learning and behavioral problems which traditional therapies have not been able to help.

“All of our children have psychiatric diagnoses and come from some sort of abusive past,” says, Linda. “We work through the behaviors first and then sort out the educational problems. I primarily use Awareness Through Movement® lessons until I gain enough trust with the child to get them on the table for a Functional Integration® lesson.”

The children come to stay with Linda at Taproot, Inc. headquarters, where Linda lives and works. They usually come with their parents and stay for a twenty-four hour period. The work with these children, in the beginning, is based on custom-designed Awareness Through Movement lessons that are built around a functional goal.

Rosa was one of these children. She was adopted at age 5, with a past history of abuse, neglect and abandonment. She was on several different medications and was physically violent with her family. At Linda’s center, she learned quickly from ATM lessons. When she made the transition to Functional Integration lessons, her progress increased. She is now doing well at home, much better in school and is off all medication. “I like to come and visit Linda because I learn a lot of things about myself. I learned what your past can do to your body but that you can change it. Linda teaches me how to make my dreams come true. I want to keep coming back - always!” says Rosa.

Over the summer, Linda has been working with autistic children who have suffered from some sort of past trauma and cannot move past it. Their home life has suffered dramatically because they cannot move on. Awareness Through Movement lessons were introduced to the children, with their parents often acting as participants. A bodily/kinesthetic experience worked well for these children. In each case, their behavior changed immediately. One sixteen-year-old autistic boy had been seeing a psychologist for quite some time. Upon returning home, he was released from further treatment. His psychologist told the boy’s mother, “I don’t know how they did it, but he no longer needs to see me.” The boy’s mother is now working with a local Feldenkrais practitioner to continue making gains with other, new functional goals.


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