One of our biggest aims here at SMC is to show that early intervention for children with severe disabilities can transform their learning trajectory. Many of the symptoms associated with cerebral palsy, genetic disorders, and other disabilities are often considered an integral part of these conditions. For example, spasticity and hip subluxation in children with CP are often considered non-treatable conditions with the only recourse being surgery. But we have often found that these conditions are easily treatable through somatic techniques, especially in early childhood. In our previous post we showed how Mark, a young boy with CP was able to avoid surgery through bodywork administered by his untrained mother, June. In many other cases, we have found that children can learn to overcome many stereotypical symptoms of their condition if they are given physical intervention early in their lives.
Perhaps the biggest culprit for motor learning delay is frustration. Children with severe disabilities often reach a roadblock in their motor learning process which prevents further progress from happening. The roadblock may simply be a spastic arm that prevents a child from rolling. Or it may be a weak torso that prevents a child from sitting. Or it may be legs that have never learned how to extend fully, which prevents a child from standing. Each of these small roadblocks can easily be treated if a somatics practitioner can locate the area of difficult and provide creative ways around this block for a child.
Awakening the Joy of Movement: Daniel’s CP Story is a short documentary of a two year old boy with CP who came to the Spiral Movement Center in November of 2021. Daniel is non-verbal and has difficulty moving his head and limbs. His movement limitations have caused him deep frustration and the challenge for his parents, Olivia and Andres, was to find a way to awaken his body. This film documents Daniel’s two-week intensive through Adapted Spiral Praxis and how, with a focus on his inner experience, Daniel began to beautifully harness his body’s own natural flow and find ways to explore and embrace movement. It is an intimate, heartfelt documentary which clearly shows how the motor learning process can be activated in children with disabilities if they are given the chance to become more aware of the perceptions and possibilities within their own bodies.