What to Expect
What can ABM therapy do for special needs kids?
“They told us he would never do anything.”
They were wrong.
These slow and gentle movement experiences can transform a child’s life by coordinating awareness and attention of movement with function in such a way that he feels safe and unthreatened because he participates in and integrates the movement through his senses, rather than by repetition. For example, in reaching, he becomes aware of how each part of the body needs to be prepared for reaching down for a toy: the eyes, head, chest, and pelvis as well as the arm and hand participate in this function for it to be a successful and easily repeatable experience. Each session is geared toward the learning pace of the child. Changes in range of motion, movement patterns, balance, coordination, self-regulation, sleep, and eating often occur as the child experiences himself differently.
“ABM is like a journey. It helps my son manage his autism. He is more grounded in the body, so that he is less impulsive and sensitive to the environment.”
– Keri, mother of a toddler with autism
Many parents have been told that their child will never… (fill in the blank)
Many people come to Rene’ after trying the traditional medical models of therapy. In her practice, Rene’ has found that children who have not succeeded in traditional settings actually do make changes with ABM, at any age. In slowing movement down, the child can actually feel what he is doing, and then can be guided through small variations of the movement, so that he has a little more choice in how to move, or hold a posture. This begins to build a foundation for his understanding of how to act in his environment.
As a child senses more of himself, he is more comfortable with his body, and more present. Gavin was 2 years old when he tried ABM. He was a child that screamed much of the day, due to brain damage. As he was offered more information about where his limbs and torso were, he let go of the screaming and became more curious about the world, exploring how to participate in it. It was life changing for the whole family.
“Working with Rene’ changed our lives. We went from having a two and a half year-old who screamed all the time, and drooled buckets, to one who stopped screaming, stopped drooling, and let us know he loved music when he began to hum Christmas carols. They told us he would never do anything. Now at age 11, he can walk with a walker, spell words, and speak in short sentences, read a little, and instigate mischief.”
– Kara, Gavin’s mother
Molly was born with Spina Bifida, a congenital condition that limits the use of her legs. In Molly’s case, her lesion is at the thoracic level, which means she lacks sensation and movement from the ribcage down to her toes. Molly was a cautious, reserved child of about 14 months when she initially tried ABM, after participating in traditional physical and occupational therapy since birth. It was immediately noted that she was willing to try new movements after the session.
“Working with Rene’ has made what was beginning to feel impossible — getting Molly to roll over or crawl — possible. The therapy makes the tough gross motor movements Molly needs to do fun and even pleasurable for her. She enjoys seeing Rene’, acts happy during the therapy sessions, acts empowered after each visit, and generally begins achieving new gross motor goals immediately after the therapy with Rene’.”
– Kendra, Molly’s mother
Rene’ Manker working with Molly, moving from all fours to sitting and back
Feldenkrais believed that the body maps itself by sensing itself from what it experiences, rather than by the structure itself. Molly certainly demonstrates that.
Learn more about services offered by Rene’ Manker at Senses in Motion: