I opened Moving Well in Seattle in 1998. In 2010, I moved my full time practice to Bainbridge Island, WA.
I was a little girl with images of ballerinas dancing her head. I had the opportunity to study ballet for a couple of years when I was 8 or 9 and again picked it when I went off to college. Ballet became an avocation for many years. I never expected that dance would be my career, but that training instilled in me a fascination with how elite dancers and athletes moved with such ease and grace.
I studied Kinesiology, the science of movement, in college and then physical therapy as a more direct route to actually supporting myself. As a PT I privileged to work with many dancers ranging from those not quite in their teens to members of Pacific NW Ballet. Working as a physical therapist who tended to attract patients with more complex problems I saw the need to add something to my “tool bag” that took a more person vs. diagnosis perspective and an overall more holistic view.
I joined a Feldenkrais® training in 1999. There I developed a body-based expertise that I could integrate with what I already knew to help people move with greater ease, comfort and effectiveness—be they special needs children who have yet to master basic movement skills, folks who need to regain them because of a neurological condition, folks with musculoskeletal pain from injury or overuse, or performing artists and athletes who want to get to the next level.
Fast forward circa 2009. I met a very special boy who I’ll call OKM who, sadly, is no longer with us. He had severe cerebral palsy. Though I had tools to work with a full range of conditions, I was called to learn more about working specifically with special needs children. In 2010, I completed Anat Baniel’s Children’s Mastery program. (Anat worked very closely with Moshe Feldenkrais when he was alive and went on to evolve her variation of his work.) By the time I completed that certification I was convinced that I wanted to work with more special needs kids.
Anat has a way with words. I remember one day she said, “Movement is the language of the brain.” Then I remember observing Anat work with a girl who had a significant scoliosis and was trying to avoid bracing and/or surgery. The girl’s mom mentioned that since she had started the work with Anat, her math grades had significantly improved.
There was also a session with a 10ish year old boy who was relatively high functioning on the autism spectrum and also happened to be failing math. Anat made a “mash up” with her hands on movement work and a story with action figures to represented the relationship between actual quantity and the numeric symbols. End of story, the kid finally got math.
I’m a pretty curious person and challenged myself to learn as much as I could about how movement, non-motor learning, and ultimately school success relate. I read numerous books and did several courses and conferences about how neurodevelopmental movement supports learning of all types.
I developed new understanding and ways to integrate some new tools into my existing work, particularly to help children develop the sensory and motor underpinnings of school success. This includes assessment of balance, proprioception and neonatal reflex integration and programs to address areas where there is room for improvement.
There are so many kids out there who aren’t labeled as “special needs”, but still struggle because their sensory and motor foundations are weak. I am dedicated to increasing awareness of this and helping more of them.
If you have a child who struggles to move and/or learn, I would love to help.