is caused when there is a disruption or abnormality in the development of the child’s brain, leading to difficulties with movement and at times also resulting in cognitive challenges.
Only some of the time the causes for cerebral palsy are known—such as lack of oxygen at birth, meningitis, fetal stroke, infant stroke, random gene mutations, or traumatic head injury.
Cerebral palsy can manifest as severe tightness of certain muscle groups resulting in limited movement or insufficient tonus of the muscles, also leading to greater or lesser limitations in movement.
Cerebral Palsy Interferes with Movement Development
Cerebral palsy is an injury to the brain that interferes with the spontaneous process of movement development in the child. It is easy to mistake the child’s limitations to mean that the brain itself is limited in its capacity to learn and that the current limitations define what is possible for the child in the future.
When watching a child with cerebral palsy we see certain muscle groups that are either very tight, or too flaccid, both conditions making it extremely difficult for a child with cerebral palsy to develop effective movement skills.
For many years, the main focus in trying to help children and adults with cerebral palsy to do better has been to focus on their muscles. Treatments include stretching the muscles when they are spastic and short, stimulating them when they are not working powerfully enough, or implementing other direct mechanical interventions.
While it has been known for many years that cerebral palsy is a form of brain damage, the brain itself has been invisible when carrying out treatments. This approach has often yielded limited and limiting results for the person with cerebral palsy.
The Anat Baniel Method Focuses on the Brain
With the Anat Baniel Method℠, we shift the focus to the brain, where the immense potential for transformation and change lies. The human brain, under the right conditions, has the enormous capacity to create new patterns and organize the brain in ways that lead to recovery of function…often way beyond what is normally deemed possible.
With this NeuroMovement® approach, the Anat Baniel Method (ABM) uses gentle movements and the Nine Essentials. The child’s brain is flooded with new information, and quickly begins to form new, more effective patterns of movement, cognition, feeling, and emotion.
My son, who has moderate cerebral palsy, had his first (ABM) therapy session today…and it was amazing! He sat up on his knees and elbows for the first time ever! He also sat up straight supporting himself with his hands and he even touched his feet for the first time too!
A Child with Cerebral Palsy Needs Great Variety of Movements
All babies are born helpless with only about 22% of their future brain weight. All the connections and patterns that will culminate in highly coordinated movement, and with cognitive, emotional, and social skills, are yet to be created. And no child learns the final skill upfront. There is a long process of random movements, experimentation, a huge amount of variations, and lots of failures.
A child with cerebral palsy needs these “aimless,” random, and hugely varied movements and experiences in order to learn and develop.
Trying to make the child do what she should be doing given her age, such as propping her up in sitting when she cannot do it by herself, or putting her legs in braces and giving her a back walker, and propping her up to try and “walk” somehow actually interferes with her process of development. A typically developing child will experience lots of spontaneous movements, experimenting and trying a great diversity of variations (“mistakes”) at the level of skill she is at the present time. In other words, by trying to force children with cerebral palsy to do what they can’t, we deny them what all children need to develop successfully.
No child ever learned to stand up by standing up.
A Child with Cerebral Palsy Can Become a Brilliant Learner
With ABM, we work with your child where she is at and provide your child with the many variations and experiences her brain needs in order to begin creating new patterns and possibilities. Often in our work, the child with cerebral palsy becomes a brilliant learner and the seemingly miraculous begins happening.
Current brain research validates that the “impossible” can become possible for many of these children with cerebral palsy. Movement becomes pleasurable, they want to move, their thinking and academic abilities improve, and they feel empowered and much happier. See the success stories below to discover what is possible for both children and adults with cerebral palsy.
Cerebral Palsy and ABM Success Stories
Click on the links below to view videos and read stories about how the Anat Baniel Method has helped children and adults with cerebral palsy.
Anat Baniel Method Foundation: Amy Shares the Story of Her Son Cypress, a Boy with Cerebral Palsy
Anat Baniel Method Foundation: Dr. Michael Merzenich on Brain Plasticity and Kids Beyond Limits
Anat Baniel Method and Cerebral Palsy: The Story of Carter
Parker’s Progress: Cerebral Palsy and the Anat Baniel Method
The Story of Isabel and the Anat Baniel Method
The Story of a 5-Year-Old Russian Girl with Cerebral Palsy
The Story of Daniel, a 27-Year-Old Man with Cerebral Palsy
Related Topics and Articles on Cerebral Palsy
Click on the links below to download or read articles of interest to adults and children with cerebral palsy.
Creating Awareness and New Possibilities for Children and Adults with Cerebral Palsy
Transforming the Lives of Children and Adults with Cerebral Palsy
New Possibilities: A Revolutionary Approach for Transforming the Lives of Children with Special Needs
The Use of Ankle-Foot Orthotics (AFOS) with the Child with Cerebral Palsy