Alternative Treatments and Strategies
If my son could talk, I’m sure he’d have a few words to say about all of the alternative treatments his adventurous mother has used with him. Shall we start with Doman Delacatto Patterning when he was only eighteen months old? How about he eighty wonderful, caring people who came to the house to move his limbs and encourage his crawling? After this treatment, he started to laugh, look at others and even say a few words. Then came the hours of therapy: physical, occupational, and speech. Jeremy has undergone many chiropractic treatments, as well as acupuncture, diet changes, homeopathic remedies and supplements.
The alternative strategy I would like to tell you about, however, was administered when Jeremy was 32 years old, and it was, by far, the most important and effective treatment of all. This was the H.A.N.D.L.E. approach which stands for Holistic Approach to Neuro-Developmental Learning Efficiency. A big name with a big result. After only one day, there was a perceptible change in Jeremy’s alertness, focus and ability to stay calm. I thought I might be imagining this change until it was noticed by his bus driver, care givers and speech therapist. So, what exactly is this HANDLE approach?
The HANDLE Program is a drug-free approach to addressing the root causes of challenging behavior and difficulties in attention, learning and social interaction. It was developed by Judith Bluestone, who overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles of her own, and who taught her approach to others through the HANDLE Institute. HANDLE has provided countless individuals with hope of improved function and a better quality of life. The approach is useful for addressing inefficiencies in the nervous system that lead to learning disabilities, attention challenges, developmental delays, as well as those issues that stem from neurological trauma such as brain injury. The HANDLE program was validated in the July 2006 issue of the Journal of Neuro Imaging. For more information about HANDLE, go to www.handle.org
So, what changes have I observed in my own child and in some of my students? First of all, Judith Bluestone taught “gentle enhancement”. This means that one must remember to speak to the person with the challenge in a respectful and gentle manner, never pushing, but rather moving gently at the child’s pace. This has made all the difference in my ability to accept and encourage continued development well into my son’s adulthood. It means understanding that there are times when a child is not ready to move forward. Pushing is not the answer. Encouragement opens the door to possibilities. After Jeremy’s first HANDLE assessment, I observed that he was no longer perseverating on single words, was visually alert and connected, and was able to be around others without anxiety and emotional upset. In other clients the results have been profound. Some children have suddenly become intelligible, started to create sentences, and demonstrated the ability to learn with enhanced ease.
Judith Bluestone’s passing was a great loss to all of us. It is my commitment to keep her information and ideas alive.
Donna B. Wexler, M.A., CCC-SLP , Speech/Language Therapist
Parent of a special needs young adult
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