How the Feldenkrais Method Can Help Children with Disabilities

Children with learning or motor difficulties have trouble with simple baby tasks: sitting, crawling, and walking. Through movement we experience our world. Long before speech and thinking develop and take over how we express ourselves, we learn through our actions—through how we react to and interact with our environment. By using movement as the vehicle for learning, Feldenkrais not only taps into these early learning patterns, but also into older, inherited evolutionary patterns. This makes Feldenkrais a potent and powerful learning tool for your child’s developmental success.  And the kids love it!

Using Feldenkrais, the emphasis is both learning how to move, and using movement as a tool for learning. It’s an experiential education, making it tangible and personal for children of all ages:

  • We solve movement puzzles, generating and developing ideas through doing and inventing movement solutions to the common childhood skills of sitting, reaching, and crawling.
  • We play movement games that increase spatial awareness and develop interpersonal skills through nonverbal communications.
  • We encourage problem solving, emotional exploration and creative thinking in movement experience and expression.  This integrates thinking, sensing and moving, adding greater potency and relevance to learning.

The Feldenkrais Method uses movement as a primal means to tap into a universal and inherited potential of human development.  Each child is invited to explore the answers to movement problems and puzzles (e.g. reaching, rolling over, turning, and sitting up).  Dr. Feldenkrais developed brilliant movement directives and constraints while simultaneously insisting upon an approach of ease and pleasure. These directives and constraints establish clear limits, yet attention is directed away from “pushing the limits”, and toward abilities. An environment is now provided which focuses on a child’s own curiosity and encourages children to discover their own unique answers toward moving with greater ease. The boundaries become a source for playful investigation instead of something to defeat. The answers to movement questions come easily and playfully in this child-like learning environment. Rather than striving for an ideal or goal, the Feldenkrais Method encourages children to develop their inherent capacities and fulfill their potential regardless of the task or environment.

This is the Feldenkrais model for creating movement lessons for children. The intention is not to just teach children how to move better. The intention is to use movement as a means to help children recognize, develop and grow into their own potential. To learn, think and live creatively. And to share this learning with others.

The Feldenkrais Method offers hope especially for the child with developmental difficulties. Children of all ages can benefit. Children can receive treatment  for a wide range of diagnoses including ADD/ADHD, amputee, anxiety, Asperger’s Syndrome, asthma, ataxia, autism, balance issues, behavioral issues, birth defects, cerebral palsy, developmental delay, Down’s Syndrome, dystonia, genetic  defects, injury, juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, learning disabilities, neurological disorders, postural issues, premature birth, scoliosis, spasticity, Spina Bifida, spinal cord injuries, structural issues (e.g. club foot), TMJ, torticollis, Tourette’s Syndrome, and trauma.

If physical therapy, orthotics, and prosthetics have disappointed you and your child, the Feldenkrais Method can be used to safely treat all problems for which surgery isn’t required. Feldenkrais uses simple, gentle movements to reorganize posture, flexibility, strength and coordination. Based on the neurological processes by which we learn movement skills, it is a novel approach to childhood disability, using the power of the brain to help the body function more efficiently. More efficient use of self creates environments within which abilities can flourish. Many children are better in a matter of weeks. Let Feldenkrais help your child have fun with life again.