A few people have been asking me about FK/ABM, and what we’re currently doing, so I figured it’s time for an update.
So 2 weekends ago we went to a Feldenkrais training with Mia Segal and her daughter Leora. Here’s an excerpt about Mia:
Mia’s expertise in rehabillitative and generative methods has been attained over a period spanning more than 50 years. After achieving certification and practicing as an Alexander Technique teacher, Mia met and became professional assistant to Dr Mosche Feldenkrais, creator of The Feldenkrais Method. From 1957 until 1973, Mia was Mosche’s only student of his developing system, in a collaboration that continued until his death in 1983. Over these years Mia and her family were deeply involved in the development and evolution of the method and she was entrusted to work with some of Feldenkrais’ most high profile clients (the likes of Israel’s first Prime Minister, famous musicians, athletes and scholars). Dr Feldenkrais was quoted as saying, “Mia is my best student and the only one to take my work beyond me”. The development of the method took Mia and her family to Japan, where she studied movement extensively, through a mastery of Judo (achieving a balck belt from the Kodokan, the University for Judo) and a study of Japanese healing methods.
Feldenkrais and Mia began to train students in the method worldwide, with Mia eventually taking the role of course leader before continuing Feldenkrais’ work of training batches of quality practitioners. To this day, Mia is the authority on Feldenkrais and has a mastery of teaching and performing the methods that are second to none.
Mia and Leora used Nathan as their demo child in the class, and worked with him for 3 separate sessions.
I was really impressed with their work. They made it all seem so simple! They explained that all the Feldenkrais movements are based on simple brain plasticity – stimulate the brain in a certain way, and repeat the movements, and the brain will establish and maintain new neural connections. They showed us a few ATM’s (awareness through movement) sequences to do with Nathan at home. Nathan responded really well and left the workshop with his head and trunk held high, his hips in better alignment, and more movement of his body. They also suggested for us to follow up with a practitioner named Eileen Bach-y-Rita.
We saw Eileen last week and LOVED her – she is great. She is very knowledgeable and Nathan responded really well to her. However she is in Culver City, about 1 hour away from us, so we can only go ever week or two.
During the training we also met a practitioner who has worked with children before and is trained in the RIE method (which I love). She came to our house last week to work with Nathan and it was an instant match! He loved her and she really clicked with him. And the bonus – she can come to our house!
So for 1 week now, Katie’s been coming to our house and working with Nathan. She is less experienced than Eileen or Cheryl but she has a good foundation and a deep love of the work and of children. Also the fact that she is working on our space and with Nathan’s toys I think is amazing because she is teaching him mastery over his space and how to use his own toys to play.
So my plan now is to see Eileen every week or two, followed by daily visits from Katie.
Then, every 3 or 4 months, we’ll go up to see Cheryl Eichner for a week. Of all of the practitioners I’ve seen, I believe Cheryl is the best one. It’s just that, right now, I can’t even handle the thought of traveling so I am doing the best I can while staying at home and maintaining Nathan’s routine.
Many people have asked – so what’s the difference between Feldenkrais and ABM?
Essentially, they are the same thing. The only difference is that Anat took Feldenkrais’ work and learned how to apply it specifically to children with special needs. She created routines and sequences and techniques specific to children experiencing developmental delays. But the foundation and basis of her work is Feldenkrais. So if there isnt’ an ABM practitioner near you, a smart Feldenkrais practitioner should be able to figure out how to apply the ATM’s to your child.
What I have noticed FK is doing is teaching Nathan what I believe is not available to him. Becuase of his genetic mutation, I think that the data about how to move is just not in there. The Feldenkrais ATM’s are teaching hims those movements that he doesn’t naturally know how to make, plus it is teaching his brain how to override spastic muscles.
I do believe there is great merit to the work and am going to try this for 2 or so more months at least before even thinking about reevaluating.
So we continue to stay the course! 2 hours of ABR every day, 1 hour of the laser, 1 hour of Feldenkrais, and we are still dabbling with CME and the different exercises. We had started, then stopped, then I am doing a trial run of it again to see if it helps him – but his legs are so weak and shaky that I want to make sure we don’t hurt him. We’ll see.
I’ll keep you guys posted!