Following my keen interest in innovative teaching methods and the tools for the development of human potential, I have trained in different approaches to the learning process aiming at a deep change of the self. Among others I use two distinct yet complementary tools :
-the Feldenkrais™ Method : a method of somatic education or how to develop awareness of the self through movement;
-the Upbraining® Method : a cognitive education method or how to develop your intellectual and emotional abilities.
To suit each person’s needs and demands, I offer my students and patients various learning patterns conveying a vision both holistic and ecological of the individual within our environment.
The aim of these innovative methods is to make concrete changes emerge at the heart of the action together with a growing autonomy in their relation to the world.
The Feldenkrais Method™ or how to help your child:
- Move more freely, with pleasure and ease.
- To develop his /her global motor function as well as his/her more refined motor function.
- To enhance his /her intellectual abilities and emotional balance.
The families who follow the Feldenkrais Method choose a therapeutic learning method. In so doing they discover that in spite of very negative diagnoses, progress is at hand. This method supposes an active participation of the family who will integrate its tools in their daily life.
Children who may benefit from:
- with stokes and brain injury ;
- with cerebral palsy;
- with birth defects as brachial plexus injury;
- suffering from genetic disorders (down syndrome…);
- with autism spectrum disorder;
- with undiagnosed developmental delays;
- with structural imbalance such as torticollis, scoliosis, torticollis, birth-related injuries…
The brain organizes a functional unity not its parts
Contrary to other therapies, we do not work specifically on muscles, strengthening, stretching and reinforcing them, but on what make them move that is to say the brain, the origin of action. As the brain functions according to a general pattern of the action, we do not work on one specific area of the body but on the function, which determines the use of the body.
So we start by welcoming and acknowledging what each child can do .We create the conditions so that he or she will live sensorimotor experiences, which results in a new pattern of action. We identify the beginning of the action to work with the downstream process of the action itself. Through this preliminary work the child has the opportunity to be aware of him self with increasing subtlety, greater ease and variety. He progress experimenting on himself by doing what is easy and useful for him.
For example, our purpose is not to make a child sit or stand but to allow him to experiment all the sensorimotor components of such actions, which will one day emerge. Just as we don’t teach a child to prone and erect his head. It is by rolling on his stomach or his back in various ways – as when he follows with his eyes one object – that he or she experiments his or her organisation of his/her field of gravity. Thanks to this variety of movements the spine acquires the curves that allow the erection of the head when the child is lying prone. Other transfers of weight will emerge, using muscular and motor synergies together to seize an object for example, crawl, sit or walk on all fours, etc. The result is in the process not the reverse
Random movements are organisers and learning is not linear:
For a lot of children it means being able to experiment with random organising movements which they cannot generate because of their spasticity or because some stages of the movements were not carried out in the best conditions.
The development of intelligence results from our interaction with our environment and this primarily through our sensorimotor activity. It is necessary to know that a baby “creates himself” in the field of gravity through a multitude of variations called « random » variations. With them the learning opportunities emerge. Hence the importance of letting the child lies or sits on the floor and of avoiding when possible baby bouncers, baby seats, etc.
Children with specific needs will indeed be given these opportunities of experimenting all these random variations lived as the easiest and requiring the least effort. They will be integrated when the child acts according to his /her purpose.
In the same way, instead of correcting, we can welcome or even exaggerate the involuntary movements or compulsive habits to give the child the meaning of his /her actions. These moments of relief create new opportunities then new actions.
A touch to awaken the brain
That is why I touch the child so as to give him the possibility of feeling more and more differences in his way of moving. The fact that our both nervous systems work together gives the child the possibility to feel then to perceive what he /she already can do. By introducing variations and differentiations she /she experiments differently and more until the next step. We are like a “generator of differentiations” for her/his nervous system.
The most important progress emerge from present abilities
Our practice does not start with the child’s difficulties but from his/her abilities. We must go beyond the diagnosis using the extraordinary capacity of the brain to create ever-new connections and varieties.
Acknowledging, meaning and pleasure towards integration
Acknowledging what the child can already do, the process becomes meaningful for him. The organising process can start when his/her intelligence has been called upon, his intention –that of always doing well-has been met.
Each child starts at the point he can reach with his own abilities. By starting above the proximal learning zone, it would most certainly inhibit her/his capacities.
A child learns what is meaningful and efficient for him/her, what is also pleasant and joyful. The question here is not to correct or rectify,or train but rather to discover and develop what is functional and easy to do.
Translation from Simone Normand