How an Anat Baniel Method® Practitioner Assesses your childApr 19, 2023
As an Anat Baniel Method® Practitioner, I wanted to share with you some insights on how I approach the initial assessment of children who come to my office. I'm hoping it can be helpful for parents with children with developmental delays and/or disabilities to have a better understanding of the Anat Baniel Method® and how you can help support your child, right from home.
First, I watch for any self-initiated movements. This means movements that the child starts on their own without any external prompting. Self-initiated movements are the most powerful way to learn new milestones. The brain is designed to learn organically, through curiosity and exploration, NOT through repetitive isolated exercises.
Next, I look for specific movements that the child can do. I like to start with getting curious if they can follow with their eyes and head while I talk to them. Then, I get curious if they can reach out to touch my hand or an object.
These are simple movements, but they let me observe which parts of their whole body are moving and which are not. Which parts of their bodies are connected, and which parts aren't. For example, if they can reach out with one hand but the rest of their body (their chest and their legs) are still, it tells me that their brain hasn't had the opportunity yet to connect their whole body to help them do the movement (in this case, reaching)
I'm always looking for ways to create the space for the child to self-initiate movements. This is what I love to share with parents inside the MindfullMovement Program, how to create an environment that encourages your child to move and explore. I love using toys or songs that are fun and engaging, or positioning myself in a way that allows the child to see and reach for me easily. And by using slow, gentle movements designed to grab their brain's attention.
I hope this gives you some insight into how I approach the initial assessment of children with developmental disabilities. Remember, every child is unique and requires an individualized approach. As a parent, you can help by creating an environment that encourages movement and exploration.
You can also learn all my favorite slow, gentle movements to help your child learn better head control, rolling over, crawling and sitting inside the MindfullMovement Program, that you can do right at home. You can learn more about the MindfullMovement Program by clicking here.