While working as an ABA therapist in San Diego, Aya T. found that a common trait in many of the children she worked with was a difficulty with balance and motor coordination. While searching for a physical approach to address these issues, she discovered Brain Gym (BGM) and Blomberg Rhythmic Movement Training. Since then she has been incorporating Brain Gym into all of her therapy sessions, having seen the enormous impact that physical movement can have on cognitive and emotional development.
Brain Gym, also called Educational Kinesiology, was developed for people with learning disabilities and emotional difficulties in the U.S.A in 1960. The BGM (Brain Gym) exercises directly activate areas of the brain, helping with transitions and communication between the left and right brain, the frontal cortex and occipital lobe, and the brain stem and midbrain. The BGM movements consist of 26 kinds of exercises, which are simple and enjoyable and activate brain function by repatterning neurological pathways. The founder of Brain Gym, Paul Dennison, says, “Experience which builds learning from movement makes our daily lives much richer.”
Focusing on the child’s strength
“If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Unfortunately, children with disabilities tend to think, “I’m not good enough” or “I can’t do anything.” This low self-esteem is often the result of educators not taking a view of the whole child to find the unique strengths in each individual. It is our responsibility to provide the opportunities and the right environment to draw out each child’s greatest potential. In order to do that, it is necessary to build up the experience of success and confidence gradually, through step by step acquisition of new skills and goals shaped to each child’s rhythms. It takes time to grow, but it is always possible with patience and encouragement.
Building Block Activity (BBA) : BGM for Children with Disabilities
We each of us have our own patterns of how to think, feel, behave, and use our bodies. Some children have a hard time focusing. Some throw tantrums when they are uncomfortable or anxious. Some children freeze up when they face difficult situations. Some lack variety in their play routine. It is important to introduce new patterns of thinking and behavior to encourage growth in all directions. Cecilia Koester, a special education teacher and BGM instructor, developed BBA for children with disabilities to create new patterns through massage, tapping, and movement.
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