The Moving Center

Unlocking Joy and Development: A Journey with a 6-Year-Old with CP and Autism

boy with CP and Autism neuromovement therapy session

I want to share with you my recent experience of an incredible journey helping a remarkable 6-year-old boy facing challenges of cerebral palsy (CP) and autism.

This young boy initially struggled with limited movement, resorting to jumping and leaping on his knees without reciprocation. However, after a series of lessons with me, his communication improved, and he even started climbing – something he never attempted before.

The first notable change that happened in our lessons was the boy’s joy. It acted as a gateway to a cascade of positive transformations. This joy became a doorway, a vehicle, for many changes that followed. This is the approach that me, Andrea and Matty at The Moving Center have been developing, practising and sharing with the families – understanding the child holistically, beyond just focusing on functions. This is key to unlocking a child’s full potential. It’s not about mechanically finding solutions but about using keen observation, forming a genuine connection, and actions that stem from that connection.

Our approach goes way beyond filling gaps in a child’s development. Rather than adopting a sequential intervention, we are interested in finding joy in the present moment, viewing it within the broader context of the child’s overall development, engagement, and capacity to understand.

The significance of playfulness in real learning takes center stage in our approach. And it’s not merely about engaging in play; it’s a powerful vehicle for transformation. It goes beyond surface-level laughter. For instance, when a child, especially one on the autism spectrum, discovers happiness in something previously unnoticed, their curiosity is sparked, leading to increased interest and awareness.

The beautiful changes in the child I worked with happened after our second intensive. Our lessons were filled with unconventional activities, playing with expectations, altering rhythms, and incorporating elements of anticipation. Through this, the boy began to show changes in his communication and understanding, waiting for the next activity. The ripple effect was astonishing – improved leg movements, climbing stairs, and even the emergence of new sounds.

In our approach, movement and attention are intentional tools used to engage the child’s brain, creating an environment that fosters exploration and discovery. While movement is a crucial aspect of the lessons, it goes beyond functional levels – it’s about understanding what interests the child or, in the case of autistic children, what they might be trying to escape from or what might be bothering them. We play the role of a detective, delving into the intricacies of the child’s self, identifying their current stage, and deciphering their investments and actions. 

My journey with this young child is showing again the transformative power of joy, playfulness, and a deep, connected approach to understanding the intricacies of each child’s unique developmental path. It’s not just about movement; it’s about awakening potential and fostering an environment where every child can thrive.

Eytan Lerner

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