Ever struggle with watching your child do hard exercises in physical therapy and wonder if it's the right fit for your child?
This suddenly became very clear during one appointment with my daughter, where the therapist said:
"It's ok if she cries, we can still do the exercises".
Ummmm... are we fixing a car, or helping a complex nervous system learn new movement skills?
Let's break down what's happening in real life when we do something hard... we all "tense up" when a movement is too hard. Our muscles contract to help us "push" through it.
Think about opening up a pickle jar.
What parts of you tighten to open the jar? Probably some combination of your jaw, forehead, shoulders, your breath, your toes? Way more muscles tense and contract when it gets hard, than is actually needed to open the pickle jar. Repeat that amount of effort over and over, and it quickly becomes a habit of chronic contractions.
That moment when it gets hard... our brains STOP learning. We...
When my daughter was first diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder, I thought I could just skip over learning how to roll over and go straight to propping her up to sit.
I felt sooo accomplished that I could put a little check mark in the "sitting" milestone box.
But skipping over ALL those little pieces of information her brain needed to learn how to roll over... came with a price.
Watch the video to discover why skipping over milestones ISN'T in your child's best interest and how exploring rolling over can help accelerate your child's next milestone, and the next.
Looking for exercises to help increase your child's head control?
Tried ALL the neck muscle strengthening exercises and they just aren't working (no matter how many and how often you practice them with your child)?
Maybe the answer to increasing head control has very LITTLE to do with neck muscle strength, and everything to do with how well your child's brain can organize their WHOLE body to hold their head on top of their spine.
If your child's spine or pelvis DOESN'T move, then they will need a LOT of muscular effort to hold up their head. BUT if their spine and pelvis are well-organized (can move with freedom and ease!) then it's easy to hold their head up!
Understanding the relationship between the head and the pelvis can catapult your child’s progress.
By changing a few EVERYDAY MOVEMENTS… how you pick up your child from lying down or from sitting… can activate your child's own brain to discover easier, more efficient ways to move.
How much freedom of movement do you have in your pelvis?
How does the movement of your pelvis influence the movement of your leg?
Come explore this quick 1 min movement class with me!
CLICK ON IMAGE ABOVE TO WATCH VIDEO AND FOLLOW ALONG
1. Explore just rolling your leg.
Feel the femur head rotating inside your hip socket.
2. Now explore rolling your pelvis from side to side WITH your leg rolling.
Would better organization of BOTH movements (pelvis AND leg) be helpful for movements like... walking? crawling? rolling over?
The best part is that better organization between the pelvis and legs can be done WITHOUT stretching through slow, gentle movements.
Remember... the BRAIN is what controls our muscles to contract or let go. You can access the brain through slow, gentle micromovements.
Come explore with us!
Learn the 3 Steps to Reduce Spasticity:
If there's one controversial topic that an Anat Baniel Method® Practitioner is passionate about... it's probably the case AGAINST tummytime.
Yikes... hear me out...
There are soooo many reasons to STOP and think about why we are putting babies in a position they can't get into or out of on their own (for the idea that it will help them gain new skills or to prevent flat head).
If left to their own self-initiated movements, most neurotypical children will develop the skill of rolling over onto and out of their tummy ON THEIR OWN.
All that's needed is lots of time on the floor in a safe space to wiggle and explore how their own bodies move through gravity.
The idea of TummyTime originated after the back-to-sleep program (see blog post on Janet Lansbury.com) to counteract the amount of time babies were spending either sleeping on their backs, or spending too much time in restrictive carriers.
This isn't to bash modern realities or parenting. We live in a world where safe...
Create change (and a learning moment) for your child with special needs just by exploring reaching!
How does adding in an intention (reaching for a fun toy in this case) change the way your child's ribs move as they reach???
Get down on the floor and let's explore!
Try it yourself first...
TRUST ME... you will be better able to transfer what you FEEL yourself to create bigger changes for your child. So get down and explore yourself, before your child.
Feel your ribs with one hand as you reach for a toy with the other.
Move the toy and feel how your rib movements change.
Do your ribs slide down, up, forward?
Now explore with your child. Make sure they are comfortable (modify if needed to keep them safe and comfy)
Place a gentle hand on their ribs.
Place an interesting toy within their ability to reach.
Feel any movement in their ribs as they reach.
Move the toy and feel if their ribs shift and move?
Remember... it’s not about ‘making’ your child reach for the toy.
What does the Pelvis have to do with Head Control and Tummy Time...
Turns out... a lot.
My daughter struggled with head control for a very long time. I thought she needed to "strengthen" her neck muscles.
Thankfully, my Anat Baniel Method® training taught me a few things about learning how to move our skeletons through gravity.
Well-organized movement uses the LEAST amount of muscular effort.
The head is connected to the ENTIRE spine, which is connected to the pelvis.
We are dynamic, whole beings. Learning HOW to use our WHOLE, dynamic bodies will improve balance, coordination AND Head Control.
You can find out more about Head Control and slow, gentle movements here:
Early morning stiffness gone in under a min. No stretching!
I’ve always had “tight” hamstrings.
It wasn’t until I discovered ABM® and STOPPED stretching that I could touch my toes for the first time in my 40+ yr life.
Change in under 1 min.
No stretching. No pain.
Just simple curious exploration of movement.
Gentle reminders to my brain…
Brains for the early morning win!
Give it try and let me know what changes you notice!
The "Learning to Stand while Lying Down" workshop is up and ready for parents interested in easy movements to explore with their child to encourage the organization of standing (while lying down!).