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Feldenkrais

The Feldenkrais Method® For Children & Youth

By Russell Delman and Linda Evans Delman, © Copyright 2008.

The Feldenkrais Method® Has Helped Kids With

  • Autism
  • Accidents (recovery from)
  • ADD
  • Athletics
  • Balance
  • Behavior problems
  • Lordosis
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Coordination (large muscle and hand-eye)
  • Compulsive disorders
  • Disorganized thinking
  • Learning disabilities
  • Posture
  • Sitting
  • Standing
  • Walking
  • Running
  • Scoliosis
  • Tourette’s Syndrome

The Feldenkrais Method® Can Help In The Following Areas

Spirit: Yes

Body: Yes

Mind: Yes

Emotions: Yes

Social: Yes

Brief Description Of The Feldenkrais Method®

  • Through the gentle touch and respectful interaction of the Feldenkrais practitioner, children are able to learn to move themselves more effectively, easily and enjoyably.
  • The Feldenkrais movements organize the whole brain and therefore affect the thinking, feeling, and behavioral functions of the child.
  • The Feldenkrais Method® helps children sense themselves more clearly and develop a more accurate self-image and a more accurate image of the world around them.

Success With The Feldenkrais Method®

  • Mother Teresa’s Mission in Calcutta, India took in a street child whose name was “Child of Light.” At age 4, he was crib bound, could not walk or stand and was blind. In the course of 6 weeks of applying the Feldenkrais Method®, Child of Light learned to crawl, took his first steps, and spoke his first words.
  • A girl, about 9, brought in from living on the streets, was spiritually and emotionally absent, unresponsive and depressed. She was completely in her own world and un-communicable. In the course of being touched with the Feldenkrais Method® work, she discovered herself, started to smile, giggle, and come alive.
  • A 6-year-old boy with severe cerebral palsy couldn’t crawl, feed himself or hold up his head. After consistent sessions for a year all of these functions became possible.
  • A girl of 12 with severe scoliosis, postural difficulty, movement problems, and distressing body image learned to sit, stand and walk in ways that gave her enjoyment and pride.

The Feldenkrais Method® Is Appropriate For Ages

  • All ages: one day old children and up

Children & Youth’s Reactions To The Feldenkrais Method®

  • They like how it feels.
  • They notice that they can do things differently and with more ease.
  • Most children enjoy the sessions.
  • The touch is gentle and the atmosphere playful.
  • As they discover that they can do things more easily it becomes self-rewarding.

Extra Care Is Needed

  • When parents need specific scientific reasons for everything, they can have difficulty with the lack of research.
  • When parents need guarantees that the Feldenkrais Method® will work for their child.
  • When parents confuse the Feldenkrais Method® with a primary care system. It is an educational process.
  • Parents need to take children with serious injury for standard medical examination before they engage a Feldenkrais Method® practitioner.
  • Practitioners have to work hard exploring movement with children who do not want to be touched or who are frightened or defensive.

Contraindications: When The Feldenkrais Method® Should Be Avoided

  • If trauma has been recent
  • If the child feels he gets attention by having or being a problem
  • If one of the parents is invested in their child having a problem or if child seems to be forming an identity as a ‘problem’ from seeing too many health care providers
  • If the parents are skeptical of the Feldenkrais Method®
  • If parents can’t accept the learning, as opposed to ‘fixing’, model

History

  • Moshe Feldenkrais PhD was an engineer and physicist who discovered the basic principals while healing his own crippling knee injury.
  • Dr. Feldenkrais combined his studies of children, the development of movement, and human behavior with his deep understanding of the bio-mechanics, biology, and the neurology of movement.
  • Since his death in 1984 practitioner training programs are conducted all over the world.
  • Contact the Feldenkrais Guild® for further training information.

Basic Concepts And Components Of The Feldenkrais Method®

  • Learning through movement
  • Intelligent play
  • Concentrated listening
  • Entering a state of meeting themselves
  • Stimulating brain potential

Description Of A Typical Session

  • With clothes on, we work on the floor or on a low table in a friendly environment.
  • There is a strong effort to keep the child comfortable and at ease.
  • We focus on keeping the experience playful and interactive.
  • The Feldenkrais Method® practitioner gives movement directions by voice or gentle touch.
  • Parents are often encouraged to stay during the learning sessions.

Major Differences Of Opinion Between Practitioners

  • There are some Feldenkrais Method® practitioners who mix other technologies into their practices.
  • Some Feldenkrais Method® practitioners see a child two or three times a week for a set period, while others prefer to see children once a week.

Fees/Costs In 2007

  • Our fees are $150 per session.
  • Fees vary around the country and with practitioner.
  • Higher fees do not necessarily indicate higher quality Feldenkrais Method® work.

Average Time Per Session

  • 20 to 60 minutes

Recommended Length Of Time Between Sessions

  • 1 to 6 days depending upon the child

Estimated Length Of Time Before Improvements Can Be Expected

  • On average you should notice a change after 5 sessions.

Suggestions To Make The Feldenkrais Method® More Effective

  • Follow the practitioner’s recommendations.
  • Stay for sessions; don’t just drop the child off.
  • Consider the practitioner the family’s teacher.
  • Learn about the quality of touch and the quality of interaction that the Feldenkrais Method® practitioner is modeling for them.
  • Don’t be afraid to develop a home program based upon the Feldenkrais Method® practitioner’s recommendations.
  • The practices closest to the Feldenkrais Method® are: sensory integration work, pro-perceptive neurological work and body-mind centering.

Other Methods That Are Similar To The Feldenkrais Method®

  • Nothing is like the Feldenkrais Method®.

Other Methods That Complement The Feldenkrais Method®

  • Depends upon the child
  • Homeopathy
  • Acupuncture
  • Therapies using special devices such as large screen computers that assist with perception

Nature And Length Of Training To Be A Practitioner

  • The Feldenkrais Guild® of North America accredited certification programs involve 800 hours of training over a 4-year period.
  • 10 years of experience is needed to be a trainer of practitioners.

Special Training Needed To Work With Children & Youth

  • The skills to work with children are a part of the general training.
  • The Feldenkrais Guild® of North America requires practitioners to engage in continuing education.
  • Many post-graduate, continuing education programs focus upon children.

Certification/Licenses Held By Feldenkrais Method® Practitioners

  • Certification by the Feldenkrais Guild® of North America (FGNA)
  • Certification by the International Feldenkrais Federation (IFF)
  • Please be aware there are unauthorized practitioners. Look for practitioners certified by the FGNA and IFF.

Professional Associations To Contact For Names Of Local Practitioners

  • Feldenkrais Guild® of North America (FGNA); 5436 N. Albina Ave.; Portland, OR, 97217; 800-775-2118; 503-221-6612; Fax: 503-221-6616; Website: www.feldenkrais.com

Number Of Certified Practitioners In U.S., Canada, And Mexico

  • Hundreds

What To Look For When Choosing The Best Practitioner

  • Rapport: are you and your child comfortable with the Feldenkrais Method® practitioner?
  • Do you feel they see your child as a person?
  • Do they listen well?
  • The more years of experience the better.
  • Ask for references and recommendations.

Leading Clinics, Centers, Practitioners

Resources, Research Papers, Books, DVD’s, Websites

  • You will find many research papers available on the International Feldenkrais Federation website. Go to: http://feldenkrais-method.org/en/flexinode/list/5.
  • Shelhav-Silberbush, Chava. “The Feldenkrais Method for Children with Cerebral Palsy.” MS Thesis. Boston University School of Education, Feldenkrais Resources, 1988.

Bibliography

  • Rosenfeld, Albert. “Teaching the Body How to Program the Brain is Moshe’s Miracle.” Smithsonian, (January 1981): pp52-58.
  • RosenHoltz PhD, Stephen. “Monkey Moves” Video. Available through Amazon.com.
  • Shafarman, Steven. Awareness Heals. Reading, MA: Perseus Books, 1997.

Helpful Tips For Parents

  • Get on the floor and play with balls.
  • Pretend to be different animals and move like the animals move.
  • Touch each other, be kind, and use humor.
  • Do puzzles that teach thinking in new ways.
  • Take 5 deep breaths.

Biography of Linda Evans Delman, Co-Author

  • Years Experience: 25 as of 2008
  • Approximate total number of clients who are infants, children, or teens: Several hundred
  • Degrees: BA
  • FGNA Trainer Certification, teaching practitioners and general public all over the world

Biography of Russell Delman, Co-Author

  • Years Experience: 34 as of 2008
  • Approximate total number of clients who are infants, children, or teens: Several hundred
  • Degrees: BA
  • FGNA Trainer Certification, teaching practitioners and general public all over the world

Statement By Linda And Russell Delman

The Feldenkrais Method® is a gentle, respectful approach to learning. Most families feel great gratitude for both the learning and the way the learning takes place. It is much less stressful and more enjoyable than traditional physical therapy. Our intention is to interact with the intelligence that is alive within all human beings.

To Contact The Feldenkrais Guild® Of North America

5436 N. Albina Ave.; Portland, OR, 97217, 1.800-775-2118; 503-221-6612
Website: www.feldenkrais.com; E-Mail: www.feldenkrais.com/about/contact_us

Marie Mulligan’s Comment About The Feldenkrais Method®: There can be additional benefits when people get involved with The Feldenkrais Method® practiced by people licensed in other healing modalities. There can also be benefits from working with practitioners who learned from having their own conditions healed through Feldenkrais work. Members of my family have benefited from Feldenkrais work.

Rick Geggie’s Comment About The Feldenkrais Method®: I became so convinced about the effectiveness of the Feldenkrais Method® that I became a practitioner. I was motivated to go through the lengthy training after seeing the looks of awe, amazement and glee that children exhibit when they can do something that they could not do before. The Feldenkrais Method® has helped children do what was impossible for them such as raising their arms over their head, running without pain, or paying attention easily.

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