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Movement is a BASIC, a non-negotiable, a fundamental food of the brain.

As we talk about Focus, Attention, Hyperactivity and Energy this season, join Kathy Shean Jones, NeuroMovement Practitioner and myself to understand what movement therapy is, and what it isn’t. Hint: Do hear this even if you think your child is moving well.

To check out Autism Supports that Actually Work, click HERE. It includes actionable activities that your doctor or therapist may not have shared with you.

 

 


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Disclaimer: The information in this Podcast is for educational purposes only. Vaishnavi Sarathy, Ph.D. is an educator, not a doctor, specifically not your child’s doctor. Please consult your physician before implementing any supplement or diet recommendations.

Audio Transcription: 

Vaish:

You’re listening to functional nutrition for kids, a short, sweet, always under 20 minute podcast hosted by me Vaish. I’m a chemist, educator, TEDx speaker, and functional nutrition practitioner. I attempt to move perspectives and this podcast from old research and dogma, and new traditions to new research and ancient food traditions. This is a podcast that talks mostly about food and the cut, especially the gut brain access. Today, however, we’re talking about movement, which is a huge basic. In other words, it’s a huge non negotiable.

Even though we often talk about food and nutrition movement is also a form of nourishment to the brain as well. And we have the most appropriate guest here to talk about it. Today’s guest guest is Kathy Shane Jones. Kathy is an Anat Baniel method, neuro movement professional based in Portland. She specializes in helping families with children who have additional needs, including autism, cerebral palsy, developmental delay, ATD, or ADHD, stroke and genetic disorders. She works with adults as well in need of neural connections. So welcome, Kathy. Yeah, I’m so happy that you’re here today. And I have a bunch of questions for you. And I just want to say before we get started that I’d spoken about healing the gut through food and the gut brain access. But movement is this huge gap filler in this in connecting, you know, the gut to the brain, in my opinion. But I’d like to start with asking you, would you mind defining what movement therapy is?

Kathy Shane:

I’d love to first of all, thanks for having me. I’m so happy to be here. And I love how you just said that movement is a non negotiable? I absolutely agree with that. Yes. And then secondly, I would gently ever so gently disagree with you, right and say that ABM is not a movement therapy, I wouldn’t call it a brain therapy. But all that being said, the term movement therapy is so crucial for a couple of reasons. So movement is absolutely crucial to brain development. Movement organizes your brain.

When I give my elevator speech, let’s say to someone who’s new to this method, I will tell people, I use movement as the language to talk to someone’s nervous system or to talk to their brain. So yes, it is a movement therapy, but it really, really the brain therapy. And where that term movement therapy can steer people in perhaps a wrong direction is to think of it as a body therapy, which leaves the brain out of the picture. And that’s not what neuro movement is.

Vaish:

I know what you said, By the way, you said it organizes the brain. And this is one thing that I’ve kind of found the hard way is that you can we can work on food and nutrition forever, we can eat the best diet. But if we’re not providing input to the different areas of the brain, if we’re not teaching them or working with them on what to do.

There’s only so far that just food and nourishment nourishment can go, right. So right, yeah, exactly

Kathy Shane:

another way I would describe ABM, so not bunny, all method can be called ABM, or neuromovement, is that it is a learning modality. So just like you were saying, The sessions are even called lessons. So again, movements, the language of the brain, it’s the easiest access to get to the brain. And when you understand that the brain thing, I can use movement to talk to the brain to help organize the system, but then the outcomes can be in so many different places.

Vaish:

That’s awesome. I think I’m gonna probably title this podcast, I love what you said about me being the language of the brain. And I feel like that that’s like a mantra that people can take away from this. I was actually, in the context of this podcast, going to talk about focus and hyperactivity, because the way that I’ve structured this podcast is in some form of seasons, and in this first season, we’re talking a lot about the role of nutrition, food diet, etc, on, on focus on hyperactivity on too much energy or too little energy. So in that context, if if parents are trying to help their child with these situations, improve focus, manage high productivity and manage their energy, what would the role of movement in general be? And you can talk generally about movement or specifically about an annual method or both?

Kathy Shane:

Okay, that’s a great question. One thing I’d actually like to just briefly explore is through just a little explanation of your son sitting by me. Yeah, so like as an example of how this might work I might be exploring with Sid how his ankles are organized. So with our movements together with my verbal instructions with my touch, I can provide feedback into his feet and a variety of positions so that he can feel where he catches his weight clearly or how he can shift weight from side to side.

How his ankles are working. organized currently, and where we can provide some new information to give him some more freedom, right. So that would absolutely help send have better balance or a more organized gait and have him do the physical things he wants to do more easily. But also, what we are currently experiencing with SIDS current series of lessons is that his vision and eye tracking are improving.

Vaish:

Yes, and I’m gonna cut and just see how cool I am. Because I was completely unexpected I was as looking for direct gains, right. And in movement, we often think that you do a and the immediate effect happens as a result, you fix the ankles and the ankles work better. And then but how is this vision getting better?

Kathy Shane:

Right, it’s amazing. It’s, it’s so beautiful, because it’s this dynamic creative system that’s nonlinear. And I imagine it’s also challenging because I can’t say, Okay, bye, we’re gonna work on suits, ankles, and you’re gonna see XYZ, right? So it’s, it’s this beautiful dance between, you know, providing this information and then wondering, where is it going to go with Sid or with whoever, so that that’s where it’s, it’s so fun. Me, you know, guessing every single person is new and different. And the change can go anywhere that the brain is going. So that’s, that’s just a little tidbit of how the movement is the language of the brain, right, and how using movement to organize his, his movement, his physical movements can actually improve other parts, like we can have so many different outcomes.

Vaish:

So when you when you provide feedback to help the brain organize itself, you’re saying that depending on what the child needs, so if, if that need his focus, and, and perhaps that focus, or tell me if I’m interpreting this, right, perhaps that focus or hyperactivity is coming from a lack of organization in the brain. So as you provide this rich input through the body, that organization happens, and therefore results in a child who is more focused, if that’s what they need.

Kathy Shane:

That was beautiful, you couldn’t have said that better. So you know, having a neuro movement lesson if it feels good, and so think about it, when you move better, you feel better. And we don’t often think about the quality of our movements, or how we just do. But if you stop and think about a time, when you move beautifully, or gracefully or comfortably, it feels really good. So when a person is, you know, quote unquote, hyperactive, I would venture to say that their system is disorganized. And they can get stuck in a physical loop and neurological loop us, you see that with stimming witnessed so many different ways. And what they need is more information so that they can choose something new or create a new option. And that’s where the movement comes in. And so I can help them feel themselves more clearly and feel where they are moving or how they are moving. And then their brain can create new options from a more organized place.

Vaish:

And I think that the next question that I’m going to ask in this context, you have probably answered partially, but I’m going to ask it anyway, because this is one area of resistance that I encounter, often. With Syd, he doesn’t really move very well or very much at all. So he’s very restricted because of his muscle tone, etc. So it was a no brainer to me that even though I didn’t really understand at the time, what ABM was that I must seek movement-based therapy. But many children that have labels of hyperactivity, etc, are usually moving too much. And they are moving in all possible directions. So they, their parents often think that, um, what else could movement therapy do? And I know you’ve answered this already. But would you mind coming back to this point about why would a child who is moving I mean, I’ve seen children hanging upside down from trees and jumping off tables? I mean, why would they need therapy?

Kathy Shane:

That’s an excellent question. And again, you sort of answered it in your explanation. So you don’t really need me here. But they’re moving and they’re moving a lot. But the question there I said, are would be are they moving? Well? And so that’s really, I’d like to say that again, are they moving well, and take let that sink in a little and, and that can be hard for a parent who doesn’t have the same training that I’ve had to really see, you know, moving is moving, but perhaps some of these children’s children had limitations and how they developed from birth.

Perhaps they skipped some developmental quote-unquote, milestones and that’s a whole other question, but they missed some valuable movement opportunities, because of a limitation whether that is a physical limitation or emotional limitation. A neurological limitation, it doesn’t even matter, but because of limitations in their life experience, there could be pieces missing. Right? And how it manifests can look a million different ways. So they’re moving and moving all the time. But are they moving well, and when you can feel yourself more clearly, it’s calming to your system.

I love how my teacher or not on y’all describes this. And I’ve had this experience as well in my training and with clients that I’ve worked with adults who are able to really express what they experience. But it’s a feeling of coming home to yourself, when you have a neural movement lesson, when you know, you just, you know, I have felt calmer, I have felt more present. And just more grounded, those are all, you know, terms that have been used to describe how you feel. So then going back to when you move better, you feel better, you think better, you improve. So that’s that, that, yeah, they’re moving, but how are they moving? And are they organized to move in a way that works for them? Or if it’s not working, then there needs to be more information and there needs to be changed.

Vaish:

So More movement isn’t necessarily better movement. Right? Correct. Absolutely. A couple of things that stand out from what you said, one thing I really liked about the limitations you were saying was that a child could not just have physical limitations, because that’s the only thing we think of I mean, like, I think often I think of movement is a child as muscle tone issues. But you mentioned, I think you mentioned emotional and neurological limitations. Okay. That’s very awesome that you mentioned that, like, I mean, so even those could have an impact on the quality of, of movement and input that goes into the brain. Therefore, in terms of neurological organization, yes,

Kathy Shane:

Absolutely. Okay. Actually, this would lead right into, I’d like to tell a little story about someone I’ve worked with. Yes. And I’m going to call him John, to, you know, maintain his privacy. And just to give a little history, this was way back in, I think it was 2010. So right when I launched my business in Portland, and I had this cutie come to my way. And he was my first case of, you know, ASD, autism spectrum disorder. And he was about three years old at the time, I knew that he had outbursts, and was having trouble with the transition. And so he came into my little office. And he wasn’t ready for me to really to start touching and moving him. And he, he had one word that was very clear. And that was No, and that’s what he said to everything. So any, you know, Hey, would you like to come to the table? No, anything was no. So I had to take a little deep breath. And I knew that he had an interest in cars and trains.

That was information I had gathered for a month ahead of time. And so I had some toys ready in hopes to spark interest and create a connection with him. I had my three little cars ready. And so I asked, Hey, John, do you want the red car? And of course, he said, No. And I said, Okay, would you like the yellow car? And of course, no. And then I said, Okay, great. You chose the blue car. That was the third one left. And so I didn’t give him an option to say no, I was excited and enthused about the whole thing, but I did not allow no. And then I asked, Do you want to push the blue car? Of course, he said, No. So I said, Great. I get to push the blue car. And then I was standing by my table, and I shoved it across the table. And it made a big loud as it crashed on the other side, and it really caught his attention. I caught his nervous system at that moment.

He giggled a little and we kind of laughed. I mean, who does that? Who throws toys across the room? Right? And we connected at that point. He laughed a little then he got on the table. We started moving, I was touching his spine. I was moving his pelvis. So you know, we started having a little conversation. And you know, I would ask him questions, and he would answer yes, no. And about halfway through the lesson. His mom was so quiet and she just was sitting there watching the whole time. And she just leaned forward and she gently said, he doesn’t say yes. And yet he was with me. And that, you know, again, it was my first lesson with him.

We were just getting to know each other. But that was such a huge, you know, aha moment for him and for me, and what we were doing there is creating meaning for the word no. And yeah through this interaction that I had and it wasn’t moving. It was a voice, it was our conversation, it was this little connection that we created that helped him understand no. And then they became he and then he had no one. Yes. And that opened up his whole world. So it, it really is about his system. So I knew what no meant, but he didn’t have no, so no and yes, became red and blue became Do you want the barking or the boiling, or the, you know, then I could just create more and more variation for him and give him more options. And then if you fast forward, the reflection I got later was that he potty trained, he’s transitions were easier. Either that he just had more choice in more say in who he was at that moment.

Vaish:

Or you brought in the awareness of differences, right. So you’ve got a variation and a differentiation, which I know is, is very key to the work that you do even on the body.

Kathy Shane:

Absolutely. So again, you’re it’s like you’re taking the words out of my mouth by noticing differences. That is what a brain needs. Yes. For learning, you need information. And when you can perceive a difference. That’s when the learning has occurred, it doesn’t matter if I perceive the difference, or if grandma perceives a difference. It doesn’t matter if anybody else in the world perceives a difference. If you don’t perceive the difference, it’s not there for you and your system. And once you understand that, it’s quite simple. You provide differences, you provide the opportunity for a system to experience that understanding of a difference. And that’s when you have learned. And that’s when you have growth,

Vaish:

visit sense is such a huge takeaway.

Kathy Shane:

That is key providing differences. And then the question there the takeaways might be how, like, what are some ways to make it easier for a brain to perceive a difference? Slow down? So fast, we can only do what we already know. Right? It’s just if you can’t do something new, yeah. Right. So can you if let’s say your child is in diapers, can you change their diaper at least once a day? Slowly, right? I get that moms are so busy, and we’re doing to our children often. But what if you take your time, and you might narrate what’s happening, I’m listening to your legs, and here’s the diaper under your bottom, and oh, is the air cold? Or is the white call that, you know, having that beautiful connection time with your child, but taking time, so that that system can feel something different. And actually, that helps you as the parent your system when you slow down and let’s just say change your child’s diaper slowly. You notice differences too, you might learn something about yourself. So that’s one way that the brain can perceive a difference more easily is when you slow down variation.

Actually, I can use an example for my own daughter when she was learning the clarinet. And she was struggling with the notes and the fingerings and was crying and it was just frustrating. So we played with variation, and we played with how to play it wrong. And so I had her switch her hands and I had her lay on her back and I had her put, you know, like tried to turn the clarinet and funny different ways. So first of all, it made it fun for her. And so laughter and it just ease the whole emotional frustration. But when you try to do something, quote-unquote, wrong, what you’re really doing is providing variation so that your system can find what’s right for you. Right and it’s the more information you can give your system, the more the system your brain can find optimal organization for you. And so that slowing down and providing variation are two huge ways to easily access your nervous system and help that system perceive a difference.

Vaish:

Thank you, Kathy, thank you so much for being here. I’m hoping that we can connect again on this podcast, maybe a variation that we haven’t covered today. But yes, and you can find Kathy at is it move abilities.com

Kathy Shane:

That’s right.

Vaish:

Okay, so that’s the word move followed by abilities www.moveabilities.com. And if you have any questions, you can post them at facebook.com/functionalnutritionforkids and I will make sure Kathy gets them. So thank you so much for listening and I will be back with a new podcast next Thursday. Bye.