Some of the most challenging questions that parents of children with special needs ask themselves are:
Am I doing the right thing for my child?
Should I be doing more?
Is my child progressing?
What should I be expecting?
Awaken Your Child’s Brain to Learning
When trying to help children overcome their special challenges, the thing that matters most is that your child’s brain is awakened to its highest potential for learning. When the brain is provided with information it can use, changes begin happening right away.
Your child’s brain needs to form the patterns that control all the movements of the body, thinking, feeling, emotions and social interaction. All children with special challenges need to develop skills just like typically developing children do.
Learning Should Be Empowering for Your Child
The process of learning and growth, when working well, is pleasurable and empowering for all children.
For any intervention you choose for your child, we recommend that you look for the following:
During the sessions, your child appears absorbed and pays close attention to what is being done with her.
Your child seems happy and eager to participate most, if not all of the time. Crying and resistance should be the exception.
You begin seeing some changes, perhaps “small” ones at first, right away. You should certainly be seeing some changes in your child after the initial three sessions. And of course, the changes are positive ones.
Over time you observe how the changes continue building, and that your child is clearly continuing to progress. There is ongoing learning, improvement, and maturation in movement control and dexterity, cognitive functioning, emotional well-being and social adeptness, even if not all at the same time.
Your child begins doing new things at home, without being coaxed. He spontaneously does not only what he was able to do in his sessions, but also exhibits surprising new skills no one has taught him.
Expect fluctuations in the rate of change, and occasional regressions due to illness, growth spurts, your child not receiving sessions for an extended period of time when she still needs them, and the natural fluctuations in the process of learning and growth. However, if your child has hit a plateau for more than a couple or so weeks, you might want to explore more closely what might be the cause.
If your child is not progressing despite all the work being done with him, it most likely means that your child is not learning, that his brain is not able to create the new patterns and organization that will lead to progress. When this happens, we recommend you look for other ways to try and help your child, ways that provide the brain with the conditions it needs in order to do its job well.
Anat Baniel, founder of Anat Baniel Method® NeuroMovement®, is the author of two highly acclaimed books about this transformational methodology: Move Into Life: NeuroMovement for Lifelong Vitality and Kids Beyond Limits. Anat’s work is at the forefront of the emerging brain plasticity field, helping wake up the brain to its greater potency for learning and change throughout life.
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