Today Elise sang part of the ‘I Love You’ song from Barney for the very first time. Pretty incredible considering that 4 months ago she only uttered vowels. Her other new phrases are: ‘I love you, Mommy’; ‘Don’t want to’; ‘Here you go Mommy’; ‘Me, too’; and ‘Help me.’
She lifted and opened her hamper with her left (previously spastically paralyzed) hand wrapped around the top, thumb placed underneath and placing her clothing in with her right hand. She couldn’t do any of that one month ago. She is now sliding down short slides sitting upright and centered. Thanks to all of your efforts, we’re getting there!
~Heather, Elyse’s mom
Note: Heather had a stroke at birth and a shunt in her brain.
After my son’s first week of sessions with Anat I knew that it was the way. Teo was paying so much attention for the first time in his life. He began making sounds that I never heard before. At home he became more curious and more aware of his surroundings and was able to figure out how to play with more of his toys. He was exploring the world around him. I fell in love with the method – so gentle, yet so powerful. Through this work I gained amazing tools to work with my son and at the same time rediscover what was very important not only for my son, but for myself and my family.
~Karinna, Teo’s mom
Note: Teo was diagnosed as being on the Autism Spectrum.
My son, Garrett, is 11 years, full of life, and a special needs child with unlimited potential. His ‘medical’ label is CP. But he doesn’t let labels hold him back. Being in a western medicine culture, we strived to find innovative ways to help Garrett other than surgery. What Anat has developed over the years is truly amazing and our work with her and her practitioners has been life changing. It’s not every day you meet people that can change a child’s life. Anat and her team did. Thank you!
~Rick, Garrett’s dad
The Anat Baniel Method has been our only type of therapy for my 5-yr-old daughter since she was 3. We made our way to the California ABM Center 3 times and are working closely with a practitioner in our area. We have seen the benefits of the method in many ways, but the most impressed reaction we have received was from her Orthopedic doctor. Given that my daughter has very low muscle tone and is non-mobile, her hips have begun to come out of the sockets and her scoliosis is becoming more pronounced. We did 6 months between x-ray check ups, fully anticipating the need for surgery in the near future.
The doctor was astounded at her flexibility and range of motion given her disabilities, as well as amazed that there had been no change in the joints or scoliosis. The doctor asked us point blank what therapy we do to keep her so healthy, I was PROUD to share all the goodness about the Anat Baniel Method. The nurse took down the website, and the doctor said he was going to research this method himself. THANK YOU Anat, for continuing the drive for healthy children, and allowing our children to reach their fullest potential!
~Kim S. and family
Alexander has been diagnosed with mixed-type cerebral palsy and scoliosis. He had been initially diagnosed with hemiplegic cerebral palsy at 9 months and had missed all of his major developmental milestones. He has received occupational, physical, and speech therapy since he was around a year old and except for speech therapy which ended last year, and he continues to receive these therapies today. While he has made great progress over the years with these conventional therapies, there were still areas of challenge that were not being addressed until we found the Anat Baniel Method. Alex has been diagnosed with a nine degree C-curvature of the spine in February 2006. His right shoulder appeared lower than his left and his right hip appeared higher than his left. He has some slight kyphosis with more rounded shoulders, winged scapulas, and some lordosis in the lower back.
Since starting lessons at the ABM Center in May 2006, we have seen many encouraging and dramatic improvements. Alexander’s spinal alignment has improved. His shoulders and hips are now more level. We have also seen improvements in his kyphosis and forward head projection. Alex is less awkward in his movements. He has much more flexibility in his trunk and spine than he previously had lending more freedom in movement and fluidity to his quality of movement that he did not have before. His weight is more balanced over his spine and he sits and stands straighter.
Alex is at an age where there is so much more growing to do. This future growth, combined with cerebral palsy as a contributing factor, creates the very real possibility that his scoliosis could become worse as he matures. With the Anat Baniel Method, we have hope that his prognosis for the future will remain bright and that he will continue to enjoy the ability to engage in the everyday activities and sports as other children. We are very grateful for the financial help from the Anat Baniel Method Foundation since we would be unable to continue with the needed lessons at the frequency he needs to make greater progress without that help.
~Valerie, Alexander’s mom
At 15 months our son, Jack, was diagnosed with being on the Autism spectrum. He wasn’t making eye contact, he was not babbling, and did not seek our affection. He played for long period of times by himself and he did not respond to his name.
After his first few lessons with Anat and Marcy, he hugged me spontaneously for the first time and began seeking contact with others. His movements became much more fluid and he began vocalizing. Now eight months later Jack is talking, engages in play with others and seeks to be the center of attention. His ability to move has improved dramatically and his pediatrician told us that Jack is no longer on the Autism spectrum.
~Patty, Jack’s mom
The Anat Baniel Method allows my daughter to continuously reach and redefine her potential: physically, cognitively, and emotionally. It is awe-inspiring to watch these transformations unfold, and to see the joy and inspiration on my child’s face as her body and her relationship with the world organize themselves in a whole new way.
It is my hope that someday all special needs children and their parents will have access to this work and its benefits. The Anat Baniel Method has not only transformed my daughter, but our entire family.
~Michele S., Lillian’s mom
Note: Lillian was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
My water broke at 30 weeks….Skyler and Max were born at 12:00 p.m. and 12:04. It was Skyler’s bags of water that were broken for those 12 days but he came out looking strong for a preemie.
The boys were in the hospital for one month. From the beginning I sensed that there was something going on differently with Skyler. My background is in psychology so I thought maybe he was autistic. The way he cried, nursed, and moved were somehow different.
As the months went by I sought out a diagnosis and finally at 11 months was told that Skyler probably has mild infantile diplegic cerebral palsy. With that news we got started on physical and occupational therapy. It was very stressful. We continued with the traditional P.T.and O.T. while also trying horseback, and eventually a swimming program without great progress. When Skyler was two-and-a-half we took him to Michigan for a conductive education program. It broke my heart to leave him at the program for 5 hours a day but I thought that if it would help him physically it would be worth all the tears – his and mine. By the end of the month Skyler stopped crying when I dropped him off in the morning although he continued waking in the night screaming and talking about ‘conductues.’
A friend of my sister told me about her friend who had a son with C.P. Her son had tried conductive ed. and was now doing the Anat Baniel Method. The next day I met Jacqueline and her son. I watched a 7-minute DVD about a girl named Elizabeth and tears of hope came to my eyes. Two days later I took Skyler to meet with an Anat Baniel Method Practitioner.
The beautiful thing is that the method is so gentle. Skyler was happy to get his lessons. Cheryl worked with Skyler on a low table that looks like a massage table and she did gentle movement with him. It was hard to understand how these gentle, little movements were going to do anything when I was used to seeing Skyler stretched vigorously be physical therapists. But I knew that the therapies we had done in the past weren’t the best for Skyler. We worked with a lot of great P.T.s and their hearts were in the right place but some of the things they did – like stretching to the point that he starts crying – that just wasn’t okay. We were told to do other things to like prop Skyler in a cardboard box with a towel inside in order to get him to sit up. Well those things didn’t work. So I was ready to put my trust in ABM and see what happened.
I was blown away with the progress Skyler made. Before Skyler started he was using a walker to get around – he wasn’t walking so much as tightening his upper body to hold on and dragging his feet to make the walker go. He was wearing leg braces and hip twister cables, which worked in vain to get his legs from turning in and tripping over each other. With in 6 weeks of working with Cheryl, Skyler was rid of the braces and cables and was walking with canes with his feet parallel. It was hard to get rid of the walker; the preschool staff said that without the walker he wouldn’t be able to keep up with the kids on the playground. I had faith and got rid of the walker and although he wasn’t as fast on the canes he was actually using his legs and walking.
We then started seeing Anat Baniel. She realized that one of Skyler’s major obstacles was his fear of falling. He had been propped up on a walked before he had a sense of balance and was so fearful he would get stiff and spastic. Anat actually taught Skyler to fall successfully. She got him to learn how to use his body and start trusting himself.
We continued seeing Cheryl, Anat, and her ABM team practitioners regularly. A few months later Skyler got down to one cane. And then after a fruitful series of lessons Skyler started walking. He had actually taken a few hesitant steps a couple months after starting but this time he was going for it. When we got to the hotel after his lesson Skyler walked around the hotel for 5 hours. He was so excited about being able to walk; he was going up to strangers and saying, ‘I’m walking for the first time.’
Skyler continues to progress in leaps and bounds. He has gained the ability to stand up from the floor, stand and balance, ride a trike, throw a ball while standing, kick balls, climb hills, run and so much more. The crazy thing is how the traditional disciplines continue to see him. I was recently going through an IEP process, as Skyler and Max will be starting kindergarten in the fall. I was told by both the O.T. and the P.T. that I should consider putting Skyler in a walker and wheelchair at school to reduce the risk of injury and fatigue. I couldn’t believe my ears. They wanted my son, who is running around all over the place to be in a walker or a wheel chair. I was so upset, I knew that there was no way I was going to have Skyler use a walker just so other kids wouldn’t bump into him and knock him over. He is a kid, kids fall and they get back up. I did consider if it would benefit him to have a wheelchair for field trips – but the thought just didn’t sit well with me. Why hold him back when he is continuing to do so well. I asked Anat what she thought and not to my surprise, she said no way. She found the idea absurd and said that life should adapt to Skyler. If they are on a long field trip he can sit down and rest.
Skyler walks with a gait, some people don’t even notice, to others it is obvious Skyler has C.P. What I have learned through working with Anat and her students is that those things don’t matter. Skyler is continuing to improve his ability to use his body more easily, with more control and greater fluidity. He has so much belief in himself – he knows he can tackle anything he puts his mind to. He’s even starting to skate board. He rides on his tummy and he loves it. I feel so passionately about the Anat Baniel Method that I am going to take the professional training program starting in January so that I can help facilitate Skyler’s growth and share this work with other children in need.
~Jilli, Skyler’s mom
At birth Aaron came out in a curled position, his legs bent up to his chest and arms completely bent at the elbows, unable to straighten them, lie on his back, straighten his legs, or arms, or move his hands. Before we started with the Anat Baniel Method, for the first 5 months of Aaron’s life, he had physical therapy three times a week, which consisted of a lot of stretching. This only seemed to hurt Aaron. He would scream and cry and we would have to take breaks to calm him down. I was then suppose to stretch him three times a day, which was a very painful experience for both of us. There was hardly any improvement with the stretching. I was completely distraught and depressed and felt that my son was never going to walk or do anything that a ‘normal’ child would do.
Discovering ABM has changed my life, and most importantly has changed Aaron’s life….Very quickly Aaron’s body completely changed from a stiff curled position to a looser one able to move. In a few session he can lie flat on his back, he can move his hips, his legs are straighter, his arms move so much more, he turns his head all the time and he is so much happier and so am I.
All of his doctors are in shock with his progress and can’t believe how much he has changed in so little time. It is truly amazing. It is a miracle, in my eyes. The best part is that he continues to improve every time we have a lesson with Marcy. I want to get the word out about this amazing Method, so that all children, like Aaron, can get the extraordinary results. I do believe now that one day Aaron will walk and it will all be because of Marcy and the Anat Baniel Method.
Note: Aaron was diagnosed with Arthrogryposis.
Our son, Joshua, is a charming and playful boy. At age two, however, he does not walk or crawl, and he does not have any formed speech. Joshua is struggling with the effects of cerebral palsy, due to a brain injury at birth.
Just seven weeks ago, at age 22 months, Joshua was able to sit up, but only in long sitting position; his back was very rounded; his balance was unstable and he often fell over. Once on his side, he was stuck, unable to manipulate himself up back up or down, he would just lie there. His right arm was particularly spastic, which meant that it remained bent at his side, with hand in a fist, at most times and he rarely used the right hand. He hated to be on his tummy and would cry if put in that position. He could only tolerate pureed food, and would gag or choke on any lumpy food. He was struggling with leg braces and eye glasses and was being encouraged to walk with a walker.
Since starting the Anat Baniel Method six weeks ago, Joshua has become much more mobile and seems to enjoy experimenting with new motor skills. The Anat Baniel Method has given him more flexibility and more confidence. Their first instruction was to stop trying to make him stand and walk, until he is able to do it on his own.
Instead we should just allow him to play on the floor. After the first Anat Baniel Method lesson Joshua learned to move from sitting, slowly and carefully down to his side; he then rolls over and pushes himself up to sit with relative ease. Over the past six weeks we have been overjoyed to see Joshua reach a number of other developmental milestones. His arm has loosened up and he will now chose to use his right hand for some things. He now spontaneously sits up straight some times. He has learned how to move from sitting on his bottom, into side sitting and then into crawling position, on his hands and knees! Once on all fours, he can move his arms up and down, and then will often push himself back so that he is in kneeling position. From kneeling position, he can then either play with banging both hands to the ground, back into crawling, or he will twist into side sitting.
At times, he will now play on his tummy without crying. Over the last six weeks he has begun to experiment with all different textures of food. Overall his balance has improved tremendously, and he will now also sit alone in side-sitting and cross-leg position.
In our minds there is no question that the Anat Baniel Method has made a huge difference in Joshua’s growth and development. We are so thankful to Anat Baniel Method Foundation for the financial support to allow Joshua to continue to receive this wonderful treatment.
~Danielle, Joshua’s mom
My son, Marlow, was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at 10 months. We quickly researched every possible therapy treatment and were thrilled to discover the Anat Baniel Method a few months later. Within the last year, Marlow has received a number of lessons with Anat, Neil, Maralee and Cheryl at the ABM Center in San Rafael. Thanks to the Anat Baniel Method Foundation, Marlow was able to receive these lessons and has shown much improvement because of them. We have tried a number of therapies, but none show the results like the Anat Baniel Method.
~Shannon and John, Marlow’s parents
Our daughter blossomed once she started getting lessons at the Anat Baniel Method Center. She had Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy for 2 years before taking her for ABM lessons and we did not get very far with the traditional therapy. Once we tried ABM, she gained developmentally and her alertness and awareness improved greatly.
~Carla, Dean, and Ashley
When, at 8 months, our daughter was diagnosed with motor development delays my husband and I were looking frantically at everything that could be done to help her develop to her best ability and to minimize and eliminate any limitations or impairments for her future. Very soon we heard from someone about Anat Baniel and her lifelong dedication to helping children with special needs. We saw Anat for the first time when our daughter was ten months old….which gave our daughter the best possibility to learn how use her body in new functional ways.
While there is still a long way to go in terms of all the motor development challenges we are facing there were some significant gains made in the past 7 months. Since we started receiving lessons, our daughter gained better control of her hands (her fists which were clenched closed most of the time) are now open and she can lift her hands to shoulder level while in my arms. Our daughter can now roll from her back to her belly and from her belly to her back. Sometimes while she is on her belly she can creep forward a little towards a toy she likes. While she is still not speaking, the ABM lessons really influenced her vocalization and she is now babbling much more (especially after an ABM lesson). Finally, our daughter used to suffer terribly in car rides. Now that she is better organized with her body the screaming in the car stopped completely and she is actually happy if we tell her that we are going for a ride….
~Iris & Ariel
My daughter is one and a half years old now. In her early months, she showed a head tilt that indicated a possible torticollis per her pediatrician. With ABM lessons, her head tilt is not very noticeable, and she is developing well. We feel very fortunate that Amalia was given the opportunity to develop as fully as she can with a freedom and variety of movement that ABM lessons taught her. Furthermore, her speech also made leaps after ABM lessons. It is such joy to witness her pretend talking on the phone or just chatting for the pure fun of it.
These lessons offer so much possibility, learning, and health for young ones that bright futures lie ahead for them.
~Josephine, Amalia’s mom
My son is six years old now. He was born premature and has compromised motor skills, With ABM lessons, he started to move around more freely, and even began crawling! We feel very fortunate that Abraham was given the opportunity to develop as fully as he can with a freedom and variety of movement that ABM lessons taught him.
These lessons have helped Grace so much with her motor development, and have helped me as a mother. Before attending ABM Lessons, Grace was walking, but it was only 3-5 steps at a time, and then she would fall. Now she is able to walk as her primary mode of transportation, to and from cars, into buildings, and around the house and playgrounds. This is very exciting for Grace and our whole family, as we see her great progress every day.
We believe that these therapies have really contributed to her development and her happiness, too. I know I am much happier since I began being immersed in ABM, as I now see that there are possibilities, and I look for these each day. What a joy it is to live this way!
~Charlotte, Grace’s mom
My son was newborn and was diagnosed with Brachial Plexius. Upon the first meeting with Anat Banial we noticed enough improvement to continue…A lifelong gift has been given to my son, who is now doing wonderfully….
Thank you so much for the incredible work you and your practitioners did with our daughter, Plum. When we first came to see you, Plum was 11 months old. She could sit if put in that position, but could bring herself to sit and could not crawl. She had rolled over at four months but now was only very rarely rolling over. Her pediatrician suggested that she may be fine or she may not and that there was nothing to do but ‘wait and see.’ Luckily, we discovered you work.
Her first lesson with you was fundamentally transformative. You recognized a base problem—that Plum had no idea she could move on her own in space, and worked with both me and her to teach her that she had the ability to move on her own. She had three follow-up lessons with Maralee and, within a week of these lessons, she was not only bringing herself to sit but crawling around the room.
Subsequent lessons with you, Maralee, Cheryl, and Neil have helped improve her balance and range of motion, allowing her to move more comfortably in her body. We continue to do lessons with Neil to help her transition smoothly between movements.
This weekend was Plum’s 2nd birthday. She spent the day running around happily, jumping, kicking balls, swinging and sliding. We can not thank you enough for all your work. Your insight, methods, and ways of practicing are unique and uniquely needed.
~Rachel and Jason, Plum’s Parents
We have been here for 2 months so far and have had lessons with Anat, Joseph, Neil Maralee ,and Cheryl. Dido is 11 years old, and we have been trying to get a visa to come and visit the center for 2 years since first hearing about the work. Dido has no specific diagnosis. He uses a wheelchair can understand much but does not speak more than a couple of words. After a month of lessons here he stood up for the first time in his life. He is now able to transfer himself form his chair to the table, loves his lessons and is making progress physically, mentally and emotionally in ways that I scarcely dared hope….
~Hoda, Dido’s mom
Agustin is the fourth of six children. He was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.
In July 2007, we met with Anat for the first time. Anat told us to remove Agustin’s leg braces and to stop the eye patch therapy for his lazy eye. It took only a few lessons before he started to walk with ease without his braces and a few more lessons before he was able to pick himself up off of the floor to stand and walk. When he had his braces, we would have to put him in a standing position when he wanted to walk. And when he fell, he could not pick himself back up due to the rigidity of the braces, and his lack of balance and strength….
His former school was so impressed with his progress that his former teacher is interested in becoming a practitioner. His former principal has said that she would like to see her staff trained by Anat as well. The Anat Baniel Method has also impressed family and friends….
After one year and three months, a total of 176 lessons, the boy who could barely walk, now walks up stairs, walks backwards, twirls himself, pulls himself up to a standing position from the floor, picks things up from the floor while remaining in a standing position, squats, walks on tip toes, and even runs! As for his lazy eye, I honestly can’t even remember if it was his right or his left. We are currently working on speech.
The Anat Baniel Method has certainly made a big difference in the life of our son, as well as our entire family.
~Christine, Agustin’s mom
Lucas is a beautiful five year old boy, full of vitality and curiosity. However, he was not always been that way. Lucas was born with a congenital heart defect that required immediate surgery after birth. After a very difficult surgery, Lucas suffered a massive stroke. The next two and a half years were a whirlwind of 18 surgeries, lengthy hospital stays, and countless interventions that helped to heal Lucas’ body but greatly affected his spirit.
We first heard about the Anat Baniel Method when Lucas was about two and a half. At that point he had already been in the therapeutic system for two years. Physical therapy was not getting the results we hoped for, and we were told that it was very likely that Lucas would never walk unassisted. Therapy was an incredibly traumatic experience for Lucas. It got to the point where we simply did not want to put him through it anymore. Thankfully, we decided to take Lucas for a visit with Anat Baniel….
Lucas was and continues to be absolutely transformed by the work of Anat and the practitioners that she has trained. After only six months of the Anat Baniel Method, Lucas walked on his own for the first time. Everyone in his life, including the therapists that knew him before, were blown away by what they saw. Lucas’ movement has surpassed all of the highest hopes we held for him. He can walk, run, and play just as any “normal” child can. However, it did not stop there. Lucas experienced a huge transformation in his spirit. He went from a fearful, withdrawn child to one who takes on every challenge he can find! He loves life!
He is a brilliant child, and it was the Anat Baniel Method that helped him to recognize his brilliance again. Today Lucas receives lessons to help him primarily with his speech. As recently as a few months ago Lucas was unable to speak, even though he understood everything we were saying to him. With the help of the ABM lessons, Lucas now is talking, his sentences are becoming longer, his diction keeps improving and perhaps most importantly – Lucas initiates talking without any prompting on our part.
Things change in so many ways when a child with special needs comes into your life. This has been an incredible, moving, and difficult journey over the last five years….To know that there are those in this world willing to make a difference in the lives of such beautiful children fills us with gratitude.
~Jackie, Lee, and Lucas