Anat Baniel Method Day 3

Our 2nd day at the Anat Baniel Method Center started off very positively. Nathan saw Neil in the morning.

At the very beginning of the appointment, it was apparent that Anat and Neil had spoken about Nathan and they had decided on a treatment plan. Neil was doing things slightly differently from the day before. I’m not sure what exactly they discussed but from the very beginning something seemed different – better.

A few minutes into the appointment Nathan turned to his side (his only functional movement) and started eating his hands. He is absolutely addicted to hand eating. Neil noticed and decided Nathan wasn’t allowed to put his hand in his mouth as it would make him “check out” and would prevent him from paying attention to the lesson.

So in a stern but loving voice he said, “NO”. Nathan’s face and reaction to this simple word was CLASSIC. He looked SHOCKED that someone dared to say no to him. Let’s just say that NO is not a word that is often used in our house. After a couple of moments and a bit of whining, Nathan realized that Neil wasn’t going to give in like mommy and daddy.

I could almost see a switch turning on in Nathan’s brain. He recognized Neil’s gentle authority and decided that he was going to work with him. Don’t think that he gave up – he still tried many more times to overtly and covertly get his hands in his mouth – but every single time Neil pushed his hand away and said “no” until the message was VERY clear.

Why am I spending so much time talking about this – because I had never realized how important this relationship is between the therapist and client. I feel that this single incident opened the door to the possibility of learning in Nathan’s brain. From this moment on, Nathans was listening and willing.

Neil proceeded to work on many movements with Nathan. He worked on teaching Nathan how to roll to his tummy. He showed him how to bend his legs underneath him, drop his bum down, push up with his arms, and end up in a bunny sitting position. He taught him how to bend and stretch his arms.

Another amazing thing happened during this session.

Once Neil had Nathan in this bunny sitting position, he played this game with him where he would lift him up so he was sitting on his bum and then he had him bounce with his hands touching the table. It’s hard to describe. The key is that Nathan LOVED it!

So Neil asked him if he wanted to do it again. Nathan said “Yeahhhhhhhh”. It was sooo clear! So Neil did it again. And then Nathan said “Mo”. I couldn’t believe it! It happened again and again and again!

By talking to Nathan as if he was all there, listening, and in control, Neil was able to get so much out of him. I was shocked at the beginning of the session when Neil asked Nathan to bend his legs, and he did. He would ask him to give him his hands, and he did it. I honestly didn’t really know if Nathan knew his body parts and I had no idea that he could bend them, move them, etc on command. Neil figured this out withing 5 minutes of the session.

Of all of the sessions we had that week – that 2nd session with Neil (3rd overall) was the most powerful session to me. I felt so positive and so excited about the treatment after witnessing such an amazing outcome!

In the afternoon Nathan worked with Sylvie, who is also amazing. She also talked to him and caught his interest, but in a gentler way. Nathan was super responsive to her and, like in the morning session, follower her requests.

During that session Sylvie worked on showing Nathan how to feel his back. She also taught him about short arms and long arms. She taught him that if he wanted to use his arms he had to use long arms to reach. His tendency is to bend his arms inwards when he wants to do something. So she corrected him over and over again, asking him to do soemthing and saying, no, that’s short arm, give me long arm – to get him to stretch his arms out. I could tell how hard it was for him, but Nathan was listening and learning.

She reinforced some of the movements that Neil had taught Nathan in the morning, and it was apparent that Nathan had retained the information. The moment she got him on his belly, he was trying to bend and get into bunny sitting position. He remembered the movements and was trying to perform the same movements he had learned.

As we left the office that day we ran into Linda and Thomas. We had met a couple of years ago through one of the Yahoo groups that I read. They are also friends with the wonderful family that brought us to CME and who was kind enought to host us while in Toronto. Linda and I had spoken on the phone a couple of years ago. Small world eh!

Linda and I ended up meeting up at a wonderful Spanish restaurant after the kids had all gone to bed. We had an amazing time talking and eating – so much so that we had to get kicked out of the restaurant at closing time! How quickly time flies when you can sit around and chat about all these topics that you normally don’t get to discuss with real live people!

Anyways, I think this was my favorite day of all. I think in the future this day will definitly signify a turning point in how we treat and work with Nathan. He learned so much and we learned so much about him – thanks to these 2 amazing loving caring therapists.


  1. Love it! Charlie is like that in Feldenkrais–Ev will ask him to do something and he just responds perfectly and I’m thinking, “I didn’t know he could do that!” The discipline thing with the teacher is so great–when I was a regular ole classroom teacher, I got so much more mileage when I was firm then when I was wishy washy. Kids respond really well to that.

  2. :-). The smile should be my only comment. As I have tried Feldenkrais myself and I attended a great workshop wit Mia Seagal, I simply know what’s going on but I am not at the level to do that with Oliver. Even I try to play with him on the Feldenkrais principle. I have seen many videos with children and I simply love this therapy. Even my husband has tried it and was very surprised and liked it too. We are looking for a good therapist with children in Europe. As so far it looks like impossible. I still believe to find one.
    I am so glad for Nathan’s progress.

    🙂 Listening. I got the lessen when Oliver was 14 months old. He was very noisy while my husband was talking with one great doctor. And she asked him very firmly to stop that she was talking with his daddy and when she stops then he can talk. And he was quiet at the very moment. When she finished, she allowed him to talk. And he started to “talk”. I was impressed and never forget this lesson. 🙂

  3. Hi Marcela,
    I have been following your and Nathan’s journey for a while, but this is my first time commenting. I have a son, 5 1/2 , who has spastic triplegia CP. One thing I loved about this post was how it highlighted a sometimes unrecognized part of the special-needs-parenting-experience: not only is it amazing when our children have those moments of insight, when they finally “get it,” but it is also amazing and gratifying when we, the parents, have those moments. Sometimes I forget that this experience is not just Jonah’s journey, but also my own … Thanks for reminding me!


    PS: Nathan is truly a beautiful child!!! Thanks for sharing a piece of his and your life with us!

  4. Impresionante todo lo que cuentas en esta aventura,que bueno que ha medida que pasaban los dias las cosas marcharón cada vez mejor,eso és lo realmente importante,me alegra mucho saber que Nathan esté tán inteligente y dando sorpresas lindas,como reaccionar en el conocimiento de su cuerpo y además entender perfectamente un “NO” creo que és muy importante en lo que tú señalas con respecto a cualquier terapia o tratamiento,que el entrenador o terapista se comunique con el niño y se preocupe de ver la forma mas apropiada de entenderse con el paciente,eso lo encuentro genial,bién Nathan eres un chico muuuy inteligente!!!
    La mejor parte, no puedo creer que casí cerrarón el restaurant y tú….conversa que conversa!! jajaja me encantó.
    Un abrazo.

  5. What a fantastic post- Bravo Nathan!

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