Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday, Special Needs Kids Blog...Connecting NOT fixing

This is from Monday's blog at

Alas, in our wish to "help" children with special needs, we often delay their progress, and make them miserable, by insisting that they do what they cannot do.

As Anat well says: "If she could, she would; if he could, he would."

A child who can't sit, plunked into the sitting position, might look like she is sitting, but she hasn't the skills to do it on her own, and she'll know that. She'll feel frustrated.

A child who can't roll over, being forced into "tummy time" is being put where he can't move to under his own awareness and skill himself, so he can't return himself to his back, and he is nervous as heck about what he is doing trapped there,  and will develop all sorts of unnecessary tension in his middle area.

A child who can't crawl, being plunked into the crawling position and told to go for it, will collapse in frustration. She doesn't have the hundreds of prerequisite motions and learnings and body brain wirings that would give her the pieces to really "go for it."

Since a child learns it's experience, the experience of being made to do something they ( or we, for that matter) can't do, always teaches that we are incapable, or to them, it teaches that they are good at failing.

This is not what we want them to learn.

How to make a child feel better? And learn?

Let him learn in small steps, something just slightly beyond what he knows.

Teach her something fun, that allows her brain to discover the information that all rich movement requires. Anat describes the "random movement" so crucial to every child's learning. With special needs children, big chunks of normal random movement are usually unavailable.

Coming to "lessons" is an opportunity for the child to be giving a short cut sampler of the most valuable of the smaller steps and even this isn't cookie cutter. I am feeling precisely and in the moment exactly what each child is capable of learning and expanding into at that moment.

At home, you can bring every down with the essentials, slow, variation, enthusiasm, ... we'll go through them one by one.... and the point is... you, too, as parents, can create conditions for learning.

You don't teach and they learn.

In my lessons, to adults or children, I don't teach and they learn. Brains and meant to learn and to rewire themselves. The Nine Essentials maximize the chances of this happening.

And with the nine essentials, we can begin to give digestible, delightful, exciting even, food to the child's brain. Food for learning new ways to move, to think, to comprehend the world in more rich and complicated ways.

In fixing, we do the work for the child, and the child doesn't make new connections inside. And the bad feeling in the child cuts off our person to person connecting.

In connecting, we meet the child where she is at, and find fun and interesting "next step" movements, or sounds, or words, or even ideas, for her to build upon.

In this connecting mode, life is simpler for the child, because learning is what brains love to do. It's simpler for us, because we need only just one bit of new and interesting information at a time to offer our child, and almost always that information is about distinguishing a difference, or making more clear a difference, or having fun with a difference.

The Nine Essentials ( Anat likes to capitalize them, and yes, they are brilliant and important) are pathways to help your child better find these differences.

Just remember: small steps, baby steps, one little doable, interesting, fun step at time.

Make your life easier.

Make your child's life a pathway of fun, learning, delight and connection.


Watch your child.

Something small and fun and easy will come to you.

And then the play/ learning/ connecting is on it's way.


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