Margery – just WHAT is developmental movement therapy?
Yes! Such a wonderful question. Many people have zero clue what this is, and others are fully invested and benefitting from its effects. Let’s break it down, shall we?
Whole Movement is a space where infants, children and parents (and adults–individually and in classes) can explore natural developmental movement. Natural movement develops in patterns that sequentially build strength, balance, ease, spatial dynamics, and each child’s signature style and (psycho-physical) ways of approaching life.
When a child misses a step in the sequencing of developmental movement, they are missing the underlying support for the next stage in development. This may impact learning or neuro-physical integration. Helping children through early developmental patterns ensures that they not only have the building blocks for organized movement but also organic support for optimal sensory, relational (attachment and bonding) and neurological development.
The result is a child that is happier, has better digestion, experiences more satisfaction, and develops a healthy sense of self as a person that can move themselves through life out of their own initiative.
So…infants and children learn THROUGH moving?
Yes! At early ages for all humans (you included!), all learning is manifested through movement. We believe in gently supporting a child through these important stages to allow them to experience themselves at their highest potential while enjoying therapeutic playtime with the Movement Therapist and their Mom, Dad, or caretaker.
This means that any child can benefit from developmental movement therapy sessions.
And if your child has a developmental delay or neurological challenge, then in the same gentle, supportive way, movement therapy can increase your child’s capacity to learn and integrate the delayed movement patterns so your child can continue moving towards their optimal development.
Can movement therapy help me connect with my child?
Oh absolutely. All families benefit from movement and bonding play sessions, because the sessions strengthen attachment and connection. If there has been an interruption in bonding (due to post-partum depression, challenges during pregnancy, illness, adoption, or foster placement), both children and caregivers benefit from the interactive coaching and relational foundations of the sessions while building competency in the child.
Developmental movement therapy organically builds a useful, self-sustaining, and dynamic movement vocabulary. This becomes the foundation for a natural and joy-filled movement experience that will last for the rest of your child’s life.
How do I know if my infant may be experiencing imbalance?
Symptoms of imbalance may be:
stiffness or becoming limp when being held
discomfort in tummy time
difficulties bonding and settling with caregivers
strong startle reflex
only turning or rolling to one side
crawling using only the right or left leg
scooting on bottom to get around instead of crawling
lack of eye contact or weak visual tracking
sound sensitivity or sensory issues
I am dedicated to creating a space where parents and children can experience support for their connection to one another and learn and thrive. Here, we use developmental movement as a medicine for healing and organizing the symptoms of imbalance.
Catching these symptoms early and providing developmental movement support is not only one of the best things you can do to support your child’s development, it also frees your child to make their own movement choices based on their strengths rather than compensating for underlying weakness and inefficient movement patterns.
Is it too late for my child–or for me, for that matter?
This question makes me smile. No, absolutely not – your body is living and thriving. Which means developmental movement also supports older children, adults and seniors in much the same way: by providing underlying support to any movement choice the person makes. Whether it be public speaking, tennis, or ballet, they will have this multi-dimensional foundational support as they move forwards in their life.
Each body system (skeletal, neuro-muscular, organs, glands, blood and fluids, energy, digestive and sensory) has its own movement dynamic and contributes to optimal development and movement. When out of balance, these systems can be called upon through coaching, movement and hands-on bodywork to benefit and support health and healing.
The qualities of the body systems are integrated through touch and play, tone of voice, music, rhythms, and creating a safe space for the child to express themselves at all stages of development.
I emphasize whole child centered therapy and the body-mind connection. Whole Movement means holistic, and we highly believe in collaborating with medical and alternative health practitioners to create the best possible team of support for our clients. We have seen it work over and over.
Here are some examples:
Someone who moves stiffly and is frequently injured will be invited to learn flowing and continuous movement qualities supported by the fluid systems of the body.
An individual who has trouble standing up for themselves, setting boundaries, and having energy for playful physical games would be invited to experience more full-bodied muscular movement while integrating the support of their skeletal system.
Constriction, lack of energy and digestive issues: Organic movement choices incorporate the support of the organs which can be life changing for infants, children and adults with digestive issues or those coming out of restrictive environments such as orphanages or an office job, trauma, illness, or the stillness of depression.
We work with constriction in the lungs, ribs, and diaphragm to aid fuller breath for clients with asthma.
All manner of developmental delays
Can you see why I am so inspired by this work?!
By incorporating all the bodily systems as creative and energetic resources, infants, children and adults can be immediately engaged in a dynamic and revitalizing practice of rebalancing themselves from the inside out.
Developmental movement and bonding and Body Mind Centering® are illustrated maps that bring the ‘client’ back to themselves as a source of inspiration and natural healing, empowering each individual, no matter how very young or old, to be the source of their own life-spring.
If this speaks to you, please check out the opportunities for growth and movement on my website www.wholemovementcenter.com and tell me how you would like to engage with developmental movement.