Engaging Your Child's Brain

anat baniel cerebral palsy neuroplasticity special needs children Oct 24, 2023

The brain has a remarkable ability to change and heal.

That means hope for adults suffering from dementia, stroke, and other injuries and for children diagnosed with autism, Asperger’s, sensory integration disorders, ADHD, cerebral palsy, congenital brain malformations and other developmental diseases.   

Although this goes against popular beliefs and outmoded research, it’s been confirmed by the work of Marin County-based psychologist Anat Baniel, author of Move into Life: The Nine Essentials for Lifelong Vitality and Kids Beyond Limits: The Anat Baniel Method for Awakening the Brain and Transforming the Life of Your Child with Special Needs and other books.   

Baniel wrote Kids Beyond Limits to help parents and caregivers who are not willing to accept hopeless diagnoses and who are willing to do whatever it takes to help their “special needs” children move beyond their present limitations. 

That sense of responsibility led Baniel to participate in the Holistically Heal Your Child summit organized by holistic pediatric health coach Bettina Gross and held online through October 29.  Baniel is set to speak October 28.  To hear her and other speakers at this free event, sign up here.   

 For years there was very little in the scientific literature that confirmed Baniel’s theories, but repeated experience showed her that, given the right conditions, the brain can and does change.  Indeed the science of neuroplasticity —  i.e. the brain’s ability to reorganize itself and gain new skills by forming new neural connections  — is one of the most exciting new frontiers in science today.  

Most traditional systems attempt to force special needs children into standardized models of what they “should” be doing at set ages or developmental stages. War words like “conquer,” “overcome,” “stop” and “fix” are frequently used.  Although well intended, this approach is so intense that it typically leads to a loss of the compassion, openness, attunement and presence needed for caregivers to help the brain to repattern and find needed solutions

The Anat Baniel Method instead focuses on gently identifying and building on present capabilities rather than focusing on disabilities. The result is children awakening to themselves, feeling what is going on inside and outside  them in order to expand the boundaries of the possible. Many parents who were taught their children would never be able to walk, talk, connect with others or live independently find their children can do those things. 

Although many people use the word “miracle,” Baniel insists that the cases are not flukes. Nor are they the result of spontaneous healings or misdiagnoses. She does not see herself as a miracle worker.  She also makes it clear that the process involves a lot of hard work, patience, love and parents who are themselves wiling to learn and grow.   

Driven by the findings of her mentor Moshe Feldenkrais, Baniel believes “our only limitation is our belief that it is so.”  Baniel dedicates her book “to all the children I’ve worked with, whose ability to learn and grow in the face of real challenges is a continuing source of inspiration” and “to all the parents who never give up on their kids.”

To hear Baniel speak, join her at the Holistically Heal Your Child Summit on October 27.  Click here to join and see the powerful lineup of doctors and health practitioners offering practical tips on gut healing, attaining a healthy microbiome, gentle detoxification and other key issues for ill and special needs children.  I am honored to be speaking on lthe healing powers of broth. 

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