Anat Baniel Method for Children (sm)

Anat Baniel Method for Children

The Anat Baniel Method for ChildrenSM is a learning modality.

Special Needs Kids: For more than 15 years I have worked with children who have special needs and their families, creating the conditions for learning and improvement ~ physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Movement is the language of the brain

Given the conditions for learning, the brain can form more than a million new connections per second.

The Anat Baniel Method for ChildrenSM helps children perceive differences as they are guided to move within a small and comfortable range in many variations that are available to them.

These movements begin to fill in the brain map in a similar way that healthy children do with random exploratory movements. Having a variety of movement options not connected at first to a goal gives the brain a message of possibility rather than limitation. The child can begin to happily explore their world within their own range of comfort. As they continue, this range can enlarge naturally and intentional movement becomes easier.

Intentional movement does not occur in any healthy child by doing things the right way, they have a rich base of information that allows them to hone in on the approximate. They “do it wrong” many times in many ways before they become proficient. Children with special needs need this rich base of information. Given this base, the brain can take off. When the pressure is off, learning happens in an optimum way. The child learns their possibilities rather than their limitations.

Parents report new learning right away with ABM

New learning includes: new movements, vocalizing, bonding, exploring, improved sleep and rest, improvements in cognition, improvements in mood. The Anat Baniel Method for ChildrenSM is derived from the work of Moshe Feldenkrais and developed by Anat Baniel and colleagues for more than 30 years. I have worked with children in Gainesville, Florida, USA since 1998.

Children who have neurological disabilities learn to:

Let go of unnecessary holding and contractions
Explore many variations of movement
Use their skeleton in more and more efficient ways to make movement possible and to move with greater ease

Staying within their range of easy volitional movement – children learn through success.

Through this safe and playful exploration, children learn – not the “right way” to move – but their own variety of ways to utilize gravity and interact with their surroundings.

Reaching to Learn

For over 30 years Anat Baniel and her colleagues have proven that children with disabilities can learn to move far beyond expected diagnostic limitations when given the information that the brain needs for learning. Before placing a child in a sitting or standing position when they don’t yet have the neurological information, we try to help them put the pieces together. We make sure that children have enough information to move in and out of each new position with minimum effort.

Given the conditions for learning, the brain can form more than a million new connections per second.

Conditions that hinder learning are:

Feeling overwhelmed
Being expected to learn one set way
Feeling powerless or not capable of the task
Feeling unsafe due to past trauma

Learning can be optimized by first looking at what the child can currently do and helping the child build on that. By staying with the childʼs current understanding of movement and helping them to feel the success of each step, we build on those successes.

Children with learning delays may initially reach learning goals later than other children, and without the foundation of their own experience they stay behind. However, given small initial successes in learning, their development can later move exponentially to the point that they not only “catch up” but can be free to excel and develop their own talents.

ABM helps children perceive differences

I help children learn various combinations of movement such as using the levers of the skeleton efficiently. I help them compare difficult and easy vectors of movement. Given these possibilities in an atmosphere of gentle and playful exploration, their nervous system is free to learn and choose movement combinations from an informed self image rather than by conforming to an outside demand for the “right” way to move.
Parents report new learning right away with ABM.

When a child does something on their own for the first time, I am careful about not making them self conscious. The new learning is fragile and can be inhibited easily. Rather, I give the child the space to continue inventing combinations of movement so they can feel what works for themselves. Parents and teachers are asked to give children plenty of “floor time” so they can explore and build on their new learning.

Questions and Answers

Who Can Benefit?

All children can benefit from this method. Some of the diagnoses are listed here:
•    Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum (ACC)
•    Autism
•    Brachial Plexus Injury
•    Cerebellar Atrophy
•    Cerebral Palsy (CP)
•    Down’s Syndrome
•    Failure to Thrive
•    Fragile X Syndrome
•    Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
•    Partial brain loss
•    Premature Birth (Preemies)
•    Stroke

What changes are seen when children receive lessons from a practitioner trained in the Anat Baniel Method for ChildrenSM?

This method provides children with experiences that give them an opportunity to upgrade their nervous systems. Anat Baniel Method for Children practitioners seek to wake up children’s awareness of feeling what they are doing so that they can do what they want.

Parents report:

•    Improved sleep
•    Better mood
•    Longer attention span
•    New movement choices
•    Improved balance
•    Improved problem solving
•    More vocal sounds

What to wear or bring to lessons?

Children wear comfortable clothes and bring a snack and a favorite toy or comfort item. Please let me know ahead of time about any special considerations for your child such as a feeding tube or shunt, etc. Lessons are gentle and can seem like play to the child. I try to engage the child’s own interest/ curiosity to find ways for them to initiate movement variations.

How often do children need lessons?

Because the method is all about learning, I encourage parents to schedule groups of lessons with a week or two off in between for the child to explore, practice and invent movement. An ideal lesson schedule is for three to five days in a week with two lessons a day. Together, we try different ways at first to find the best schedule for you and your child.


One of the great changes in Mason since you worked with him in July is that he now lets me rock him at night without his usual resistance to being touched, held closely, etc. Of course this is huge for me (emotionally) and I think for Mason also, or at least, I hope so. Thank you again Josie.
Blessings, -Mary


Autumn did something new today!  She got on her knees upright and started walking around on her knees, fast! She had never done that before!  She was trying to get to me quickly because I had been gone all day.  It was so awesome.  I’ll have to video it for you next time. :)  She has also started holding her own cup, every time she eats and surprised me yesterday by eating an apple.. whole, skin and all!  She has never eaten fruit before because the chewing and biting coordination was just too much.  We can’t wait to see you in the future.  -Liz


We head to Gainesville again for ABM. This time we only can afford to do 2 sessions so we go up for the day. The next day we put Mattie on the floor as we always do since she is not mobile and walk away. 10 minutes later I find her ½ way across the room! She can roll!! Not just from belly to back like she had been doing but a full on back-belly-back to actually MOVE ACROSS THE ROOM ROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I started crying and laughing and crying some more. I have never felt more proud of her in the past year as I did at that moment. I felt like everything we had been doing, all the sacrifices we had been making were finally paying off!
 -Jess (From her blog)


Another brain and body hard-at-work moment— simply brilliant! Imagine how easy it is to touch your finger to your nose or move your hand to your ear…..for Hayden, he has no concept. Now think, hmmm crawling- what is that? Why? Where does my body go? We must train his body to talk to his brain to move. Here is another miracle! Hayden is in the crawl position.
Thanks for all your support- Go Team Hayden!!! -Toni (From her blog)


I just want to tell you that I really appreciate all you ever did for Michael. You will see he’s doing really well when he comes back to see you again. -Maureen


Video Link: Anat Baniel on The Nine Essentials 

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