Have an iPhone? Click here to listen in iTunes
About Anat Baniel
Anat Baniel is the author of the bestselling Move Into Life: The Nine Essentials For Lifelong Vitality. Her latest book Kids Beyond Limits provides practical tools and describes how to apply her Nine Essentials to access the remarkable capacities of the human brain to change itself for the better and deepens the understanding of what children need to overcome special challenges and dramatically improve their emotional, intellectual, and physical abilities.
Sponsored Content: Winter Cyber Sale eCourse Bundle
This interview with Anat was part of a 42 video interview series, called the Autism Intensive, that we aired last January. (It was pretty popular, with some 30,000 people tuning in from all over the globe.)
People really liked this summit because these world renowned experts normally DON’T participate in online summits and podcasts–it was a unique learning opportunity.
To help you gain cutting-edge health knowledge and better reinvest in your health for 2017 and beyond; we’ve created a $57 Winter Cyber Sale eCourse Bundle.
Here’s what is included:
> Autism Intensive All Access Pass (42 videos + transcripts)
> Methylation Summit eCourse (8 videos + transcripts)
> Gut Hormone + Leptin MasterClass (8 videos)
> Hypertrophy Hacks Primer eCourse (10 videos)
This bundle normally sells for well over $297, but is on sale for just $57 until Monday, December 5th.
Learn cutting-edge tips and soundbites to improve your health [and also help support our video podcast :-)] with this rare Winter Cyber Sale eCourse Bundle
Books and Resources
02:16 Feldenkrais: In grad school Anat connected with Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, creator of the Feldenkrais Method. She had been looking for a movement-based mechanism to interact with people as part of therapy. Anat studied with him and then worked with him, working with adults and then with children.
06:29 Mindset and Intention: When we are born, there is no voluntary movement. It takes 18 to 25 years to get to a place of self-sufficiency, compared to the closest apes. Teaching and learning are two independent processes. Often they don’t intersect.
08:22 Autism: It is the job of the brain to make sense out of the nonsense, and create order from disorder. Children on the autism spectrum have a difficult time doing that. Giving a child an autism diagnosis, can close our minds to their genius and how to access their genius, even when it shows symptoms of severe dysfunction. We must determine how to help that brain do its job better.
12:47 The Mechanical Model and Informational Model: We try to impact our brain through our conscious or unconscious using the mechanical model. That leads to very limited outcomes and can lead to negative consequences. The information model is different. The brain turns stimulation into information by perceiving a difference. It is a stimulus to noise ratio. A newborn brain is very noisy, because it hasn’t created distinctions yet. It hasn’t created connections and patterns.
15:15 Perceiving Differences: The newborn brain is like a sensory soup until they perceive differences. People who have a concussion, a migraine, or other severe headache, suddenly may find it hard to see certain distinctions. Children on the autism spectrum have a challenge in their ability to perceive differences. An autistic child feels, sees, and notices things differently in a profound way. The way to help them is to help that brain get better at perceiving differences. Once you do that in ways that don’t trigger their limitations and their challenges, then very often there are remarkable outcomes. Intervention is not to rewire the brain. It is to wire the brain. A child is born with 22% of the later year’s size of the brain.
20:04 Movement is the Language of the Brain: “Movement is life. Without movement, life is unthinkable.” This was her teacher’s quote. “Nothing happens until something moves” ~ Einstein. Exercise is a very tiny subset of movement. Thinking is movement. Something happens in the brain. Emotion, it’s even built into the word. Everything is movement. Movement is the mechanism through which the brain grows, organizes self, forms patterns, action, expectation, and thinking emerges from that. Cognition emerges and grows hand-in-hand with the organization and evolution of movement. Movement starts initially with a child with the reflexes and random movement. The brain does those little firings and the baby twitches. A baby who does not have enough random movement will not develop properly. People mistakenly try to get the child to move in specific limited ways. By doing this, you kill off the rich source of information from which the brain quickly but gradually differentiates, integrates, differentiates, creates new connections, that this is a differentiation and integrates. Sensory perception is discrimination. Without it, the brain has nothing to work with. Movement creates all these experiences. A child with cerebral palsy has had some brain damage causing spasticity so that, for example, their arm cannot be used. Because of the spasticity, there is no randomized spontaneous movement. Working with these children, Anat gets them to experiences those random movements. If there’s any connection left, they can get full control of the arm.
24:24 Movement Creates Change: If you move your arm, it creates change in space visually, kinesthetically and sensationally in the joints. When people move automatically, they don’t learn. For that you must pay attention to the feeling of self. For example, if you receive verbal instructions in a movement class, you first listen to instructions, you translate them, and then pay attention to what you feel as you move. This drives a burst of growth of new connections in the brain, estimated in children to be 1.8 million new connections per second, roughly a hundred million a minute. That is enormous plasticity.
25:55 Variations in Movement: With variations of movements and outcomes, the brain lands on “success”. If you watch a healthy child move when they are 6 months old, a year old, they experiment. Movement with attention sets the brain to do what it’s built to do. To get the child to move with attention, discuss their movements and sensations during movement. Call attention to their movements, allowing, not forcing. The moment you get them hooked one time, the second time is easier for them to pay attention.
28:04 We Learn Our Experience: Paying attention is a skill that increasingly or decreasingly develops. Attention deteriorates with electronic devices.
29:54 Moving with Attention: Children on the autism spectrum are under differentiating movement. When healthy kids roll, their eyes follow an object and there is a very complex, perfectly timed process, where they move their head and twist the spine. The lower back muscles kick in, and they role. The children on the autism spectrum use the weight of the legs and the arms to roll. It’s a totally different configuration with much less differentiation. To Anat, kids with ADD, ADHD, and Asperger’s are under differentiated along the spine.
31:41 Subtlety/Reduction of Force: Subtlety is reduction of force, which increases the refinement of the system. The brain’s direction is from less to more complexity. Intentional movement requires an enormous amount of density in the mapping within the brain. To get there, you have to perceive differences, and you have to be able to refine more and more. The Weber–Fechner law, a neurophysiological phenomenon, is where the less intense the stimulus, the easier for you to perceive a change in the intensity of the stimulus. If it’s dark, and someone turns on a flashlight, you jump, but if I to go outside in full sun, and someone turns on a flashlight behind you, don’t perceive it. When there is not the perception of a difference, it does not exist. Children on the autism spectrum have a hard time perceiving differences. They have what’s called a noisy brain.
34:55 Reaching the Brain through Movement: The first way to get to that brain is through movement, but not through limited rote forceful movement. It is through any movement that you do in a movement or a wrong movement. The right movement to do with anyone is the movement that the person is already relatively easily capable of doing. Then you reduce the effort, and you add slight gentle variations around what the person is already doing. Anat varies the amplification of the movement to be greater or less to get the brain’s attention. A rough gruff undifferentiated action is easier, because it’s before the brain has evolved to more complexity and refinement.
37:47 Repetition: The brain needs variation in order to learn. Repetition works the information into the brain. By the nature of how the brain is built, repetition works in the existing configuration of action, whether it’s a desirable one, or not. Within two repetitions, you can be instilling the limitation.
39:55 Andy – Writing: Andy was an 8 year old autistic boy who did not make eye contact and did not make sense of his world. Through working with Anat, he began making eye contact and his language improved. His school tried to get him to write by having him follow lines. This limited him. He did not perceive the lines. The school gave him blocks to write in. This did not work because it reduced variability. Anat wrote a big letter A and showed it to him. He recognized it. She asked him to write the letter A, but do it very badly. In order to write an A that is poorly written, you need to determine how it looks when it is well written. He wrote a dot. She asked him to make it bigger. She had him do a number of variations. She then drew a square. He know how to fail at this and was ready for failure. She told him to chose a letter and write it part inside and part outside the box. His response was “You’re kidding me.” This is the response of a healthy child.
43:52 The Learning Switch: Autism is a way the system organizes itself. It can organize it non-autistically, more autistically, less autistically. It is dynamic. Telling a child to repeat something over and over and over again is forceful. A research study from Israel showed that if you taught an autistic child a task, and did lots of repetitions of that task, it stopped them from the ability to shift within that task. It diminished their ability to learn. Anat calls this the learning switch. Once the child does something, they will repeat spontaneously to master it. After working with Anat on letters, Andy spontaneously wrote letters to master them. The pleasure of mastery is enormous. That’s how we do things over and over again to master them. That’s when you want the repetition, when you’ve figured it out, not before.
45:59 Creating Awareness in Speech Volume: Anat does not train children. She trains parents, so children can grow and learn. It’s not because parents are doing something wrong. It is a learning process for everybody. Often some children on the spectrum have a very loud monotone voice. Anat tells them that she cannot hear well and asks them to speak louder, then louder, and then ask them to speak as loud as they can. She then asks them to bring down the volume and up again. They learn the distinction between higher and lower volume.
47:17 Spencer – Pants Wetting: Spencer was an autistic boy who wet his pants. Because he wore diapers, he did not feel wet. Spencer did not feel the difference between dry and wet around his buttocks and genitals. There was a vague sensation, but it didn’t connect. Anat took two small towels, one was dry and one was wet. She touched him with the towels asking him to report to her whether it was the wet towel or the dry one. He misidentified them until she tried it on his face where he made successful identification. She varied it by doing it on different parts of his body. His identification became faster. When she tried the identification game on his buttocks, he could tell the difference. Spencer no longer wore diapers and no longer wet his pants. The way to increase the perception is to increase the subtlety of the input, rather than increase the intensity. The brain always maps its experiences. The more you do the same thing, the more you get what you already have.
52:17 Adult Enthusiasm: Adults have a better organized and more intelligent brain, not because it’s a better brain, but because it had more time to figure things out. When a shift happens, you have the opportunity to amplify the change. Show your enthusiasm internally. A brain that can see the difference is a brain that can pretty much solve almost all problems. Amplify it internally.
55:53 Detriments of Praise: When a delayed child is about to walk spontaneously, Anat advises parents not to congratulate the child or encourage them to do it again. It inhibits learning and distracts the child. Often they can’t do it anymore. When they walk for the first time, they don’t know what they did. It was spontaneous. The feedback system of the brain goes that worked. Then comes the complex process of figuring out how to do it again. When we feel inside that it was wonderful, our child feels that. You think it’s the words, but it’s a feeling that comes across. Falling has equal value, because if you don’t know what falling is, you don’t know what not falling is.
58:31 Throwing: When kids have little dexterity in their hands, they can begin throwing things. Anat gives them a bucket of toys, and begins to direct them to throw to different places. By learning to throw, they learn not to throw.
01:00:05 Hair Pulling: Anat introduces the child to what it feels like to have their own hair pulled. She also works with the parents to be more firm and articulate.
01:04:21 Neural Plasticity: Anat’s methods are a shift in belief systems of what works, and what makes things work. It is an emotional shift, in terms of willingness to stop seeing the child as wrong. It is an opportunity to use what we know, and see how much we can take the brain’s ability to rearrange itself, and use its own mechanisms to go from the no to the yes, from the impossible to the possible, from the seemingly impossible to the possible. Not every child will get everything, but almost every child can get better. We develop slower than other animals, not because something is wrong with us, but because it allows for the complexity, and the development of capabilities that no other animal has, like speech.
01:06:49 Anat Baniel Method Courses: Anat offers a variety of courses for parents, parents with their children and professionals. She is also moving into doing research alongside neuroscientists on stroke and shifting the ways rehab is done.
Mike: Anat Baniel, thanks so much for being here for the Autism Intensive.
Anat: Thank you. Thank you so much. I’m honored and I am pleased to for the opportunity.
Mike: We’re very excited to have you here. Your Kids Beyond Limits, very fantastic book. Every parent, teacher and human being with a brain should absolutely read this. You really connected a lot of dots and resonated with me on multiple levels. Being a parent, and you talked about skiing, and various things, but maybe let’s backtrack a little bit and tell us your back story, about how you got into helping people get more aware of their mind-body connection and neural plasticity.
Anat: Well, what I do is really helped people take advantage of the brain’s remarkable ability to change for the better under the right conditions. I got into it with my background in dance and clinical psychology. I also have a degree in statistics. I always had an interest in the brain, but when I started and I talked to neurologists a bunch of years back, I realized there was not much there a for me as a psychotherapist and looking to interact and impact people’s experience and the ability to think, feel, move and be in life. While I was in grad school, I connected with Dr. Feldenkrais, who was, in my world, a complete genius and a pioneer, not just in the area of the mind-body, and it’s not that, I actually think calling it a mind-body connection is I think is a misnomer. It is not a connection. It’s one thing. We don’t have one word to describe it. The emergence of motor control and the emergence of cognition and thinking are intertwined, and are basically a manifestation of one organism, living, breathing organism. I don’t talk about mind-body connection. I talk about the person, and the different facets of their functioning. I connected with Feldenkrais and I actually did his work, his movement classes with my dance teacher as a very young child, so I felt that impact on me. When I was in grad school and I was looking for a movement-based mechanism to interact with people as part of therapy, I tried a variety of things and none of it appealed to me. Then I remembered the work of my experience as a child, so I actually located Feldenkrais. He was the “it” for me. He was a physicist, mathematician, black belt in judo, and a genius that realized that it’s about the brain. It’s the brain, baby. It was long before people got it. He had the discipline and the brilliance of the true physicist scientist. He had the creativity, and the artistry of somebody who used movement, and had the freedom to really ask questions. So I studied with him, I then worked with him, traveled with him, assisted him, helped him with his training, I teach his last training. I first thought that I’d use what I learned from him and bring it to psychotherapy. It switched. I just took off with this and he turned me on to the work with the children, because he saw me with one child. I write about it in the book, how it all began with Elizabeth. That took a life of its own. Initially, I worked with adults and primarily with high-performers, because of my background. So I worked with dancers, musicians, athletes, and really the highly capable people. Then I got children with severe challenges and here we are today.
Mike: This is fantastic. One of the things that you talk about in your book is the perception of those challenges, encouraging parents and society at large to change the way that we look at someone with special needs. Do you want to kick that off so we set the mindset and intention right?
04:44 Mindset and Intention
Anat: We all are born with huge special needs. Let’s put it this way. Every baby that’s born is completely helpless. There’s no voluntary movement. There’s no ability for self-care. It takes, in human beings, many years to reach a level of independence and social integration. It takes easily up to 18 to 25 years to get to a place of sufficiency, compared to the closest apes, it takes them a number of years, but nothing compared to humans. If we look at it this way, when somebody is not progressing in roughly the anticipated path, what is not happening, or what is stopping from spontaneous growth, and the spontaneous ability to learn? Most people make the mistake that they think they’re teaching something. Teaching and learning are two independent processes. Often times they don’t intersect. People don’t get that. If I to go to teach you that one and one is two and three and two is five, your brain is going to do with it whatever it is going to do with it. That’s what people don’t understand. We rely on the other, on the learner, to take our words and our gestures and our explanations, and somehow make sense of it. When I interact with a child, I look at what kind of sense are they making of what I’m saying, or doing with them, if at all, and how good are they making sense.
Anat: That right jumps into autism, which is that’s one of the biggest challenges. That’s the job of the brain, is to make sense out of the nonsense, and put order in the disorder. Children on the autism spectrum have a tremendously difficult time doing that. When we look at the child, and we give it the diagnosis, it could close our mind to the genius of that system, and how to access the genius of that system, even when it shows symptoms of severe dysfunction. Probably to say it in the most efficient way, I have realized over the years, that no matter what the symptoms or the limitations that I’m observing, it can be autism, it can be cerebral palsy, it can be genetic disorders, the brain is still brilliant. The job that’s left up to us is to figure out how to help that brain do its job better.
Anat: People tend to equate the quality of the brain with the symptoms as their severity that you see. For instance, Elizabeth was the first child I worked with in a serious way. It was what the entry to this whole conversation. She was diagnosed global brain damage. Pretty much, if you take that seriously, you should just walk out of the room and close the door and turn of the lights. When I interacted with her, I saw brilliant intelligence that was manifesting despite the enormous difficulties that were placed upon that little system. That’s what I interacted with throughout the years until she got to be completely independent and fully functioning. She’s missing a third of her cerebellum.
Mike: Which is profound. In some of your videos, which we will put the link below this video. Elizabeth now has two masters degrees, yes?
Mike: That’s profound.
Anat: And she is married and has her own little business and she has a life.
Mike: And her brother is envious of her learning ability, due to these early life challenges, which is really profound, so maybe let’s get into the practicalities of some of the modalities that you did there, and talk about maybe starting with your Nine Essentials, and movement with attention. What is that?
Anat: I think it’s important to say something ahead of that. I’m going to now focus on autism. Maybe every so often I’ll give the cited examples of other conditions. There are a few distinctions that I think everyone that is interested needs to make first. The first distinction is between a mechanical system and an information system. Our body, our “physical body”, I don’t know any other kind of body, but or physical body, that we are know-based and have experienced from the moment of conception on some level, right, as we were growing up we were advancing, and certainly from birth on, once we were in the gravitational field, that’s what we know. I know that if I push the pillow like this, there’s a little skwosh, nothing happened, but if I use more force, it is gonna slide forward. That’s the mechanical world. We experience our limbs the same way. We experience our body. If I’m going to start listing myself to the side past a certain point, I‘ll move the center of gravity away and away and away, and my muscles are not strong enough, I’ll topple over. We have learned that. We learn certain experiences, certain belief systems, and if I use more power, I’ll get more outcomes. When I’m very skillful, I can do things. I can do them fast. We know the physical world. When we try to address basically learning, or putting order in the disorder, making sense out of the nonsense, we’re talking brain. The brain is an information system.
11:02 The Mechanical Model
Anat: God did a great job of putting the brain in an enclosed case that we don’t have direct access to. If we had direct access to the brain, we would be toast. It would be over. We try to impact the invisible man. We don’t feel the brain directly. We are trying to impact that through our conscious or unconscious model of the mechanical model. That leads to very limited, and some outcomes, in terms of progression, and it can lead to negative consequences. Mechanical system, we know weights, levers, all that stuff, acceleration, deceleration, production of heat from friction, we are familiar with all that.
11:53 The Information Model
Anat: The information model is very different. Most people assume that the delivery of stimulation through the senses, internal or external stimulation, is the source of information for the brain. It is true that without stimulation there will be zero information. You have to have stimulation for anything to occur. However, stimulation alone, it does not have informational value, and that’s the big jump. That’s where the relevance for autism is infinite. The brain basically turns stimulation into information by perceiving a difference. This is it. This is the whole thing. Another way of saying it, for people to come from information systems, or people who deal with neurosciences, neurophysiology, it’s a stimulus to noise ratio. If you have “a noisy brain”, it’s not like auditory noisy, but you have a brain like a newborn brain is very noisy, because it hasn’t created distinctions yet, and it hasn’t created connections and patterns that create this versus that. It’s like a flood. It’s like…
Mike: The lights turn on too bright.
13:30 Perceiving Differences
Anat: Yeah, but it’s just it just like a soup. It’s just like you’re lying there and it is like a sensory soup. It doesn’t need to be unpleasant. For a newborn, they are hungry, and then they cry, and the parent says “Are they wet? Are they hungry? Are they…?” It’s not until we perceive a difference. If I looked at your shirt and I didn’t perceive the difference between colors and shapes, I wouldn’t see pink lines, vertical lines. I simply wouldn’t see it. People who have concussion, have a migraine even, have a severe headache, all of a sudden it’s hard to see certain distinctions that you normally just see like that. Children on the autism spectrum have a real challenge in their ability to perceive differences. Why it’s that way? I don’t know. I really just don’t know and I don’t participate in the conversation. Is it environmental? Is it hereditary? Is it nutritional? It’s probably a concoction, a combination of a lot of things, but I don’t know. I know that when I get a child on the spectrum in front of me, I know that what they feel, see, notice is different than what I feel, see, notice, in a very profound way. The way to help them is to help that brain get better at perceiving differences. Once you do that in ways that don’t trigger their limitations and their challenges, then very often we get very remarkable outcomes.
Mike: You talk about a lot of those outcomes in the book. That neural movement, I think, is really important for people to understand. Intuitively as parents and teachers I think, especially after reading your book, we go about it the wrong way. A kid, like you said, a child is trying to make order out of disorder, and acts out in a way, we want to restrain them and hold him down. But you know through different touching modalities to create that perception to rewire the brain. Maybe let’s talk about…
Anat: Not just rewire, to wire it. A child is born with 22% of the later year’s size of the brain. We are not rewiring. We’re wiring. We are in an intense process of wiring.
Mike: For folks that have children that act out, or can’t focus, and things along this line, let’s talk about the basis of neural movement.
16:11 Nine Essentials
Anat: Absolutely. I defined what I call the Nine Essentials, because I looked at the difference. I am just thinking about it now for the first time in that way. I worked with high performers. I was in Chicago and working with the some people, Joffrey Ballet dancers and mine was the training group and then I was working a few lessons with children with special needs, and then some of those kids were doing a lot better. Their vibrancy and their qualities were very different than most of the adults I was dealing with. I actually looked for the difference between a healthy child and an average adult. I was sitting on an airplane, and I just had that thought. I took a piece of paper and I wrote down 19 qualities that were in children that adults seemed to lose. I just knew that maybe one day I would use that. A couple years later, or a year later, I can’t keep track of the time, but I fished that paper out when I was looking to write my first book which is Move into Life, for adults. I worked for a year to define those qualities. I came up with the Nine Essentials. The Nine Essentials are what I figured children do to get their brains to do, and brains do to get the child to do. It is one integrated system when things work well, and then figured out that adults that work well need to continue doing the same qualities. Of course, children with special needs, in this case specifically autism, they have a real challenge with a spontaneous manifestation of those qualities, nine qualities, which in all children with special needs, could be like cerebral palsy, it shows up in their motor development. It also shows up in the motor development in the children on the autism spectrum.
18:19 Movement is the Language of the Brain
Anat: So let me talk about some of those qualities. The very first things that the live being does and babies do it in utero and out of utero, is move. “Movement is life. Without movement, life is unthinkable.” That’s my teacher’s quote. “Nothing happens until something moves”, that’s Einstein. It’s really true. It’s not exercise. We want to differentiate between movement and exercise. Exercise is a very tiny sliver, a subset of movement. There’s that physical movement. I’m moving my arm. Thinking is movement. You start somewhere, you get to somewhere. It’s a form of moment. Something happens in the brain. Emotion, it’s even built into the word. Emotion, feelings, everything is actually movement. It is constant movement. Now I’m going to just go back to the physical movement. So now that we hopefully agree that everything is movement, I phrased it at a certain point that movement is the language of the brain. Movement is the mechanism through which the brain grows, organizes self, forms patterns, action, expectation, and thinking emerges from that. Cognition emerges and grows hand-in-hand with the organization and evolution of movement. Movement starts initially with a child with the reflexes and random movement. The brain does those little firings and the baby twitches. That’s the basis for all future movement. A baby that does not have enough random movement for one reason or another, will not develop properly. The brain will not be able to develop properly. One of the big mistakes of therapy, if a child has problems like a brachial plexus injury, spasticity, stroke in utero, whatever that limits the movement, the mistake that people do is they try to get the child to move in specific limited ways right up front. Huge mistake, you kill off the source, the rich source of information from which the brain quickly but gradually differentiates, integrates, differentiates, creates new connections, that is a differentiation and integrates. Perception of a difference, sensory perception is the discrimination. Without it, the brain has nothing to work with. Movement creates all these experiences. It happens all the time to the child from their own random movement, from the movement that happens around them, that they are being moved. If I talk for a moment about cerebral palsy, the reason the child that had some brain damage and has spasticity cannot use the arm, if we just limit it to the arm, is not because there is spasticity in the muscles. It is because of the spasticity, there is no randomized movement and there is no spontaneous movement. The brain has zero information to work with. When we work with those children, it’s never just the arm, but we allow the system, in the YouTube channel, we have a bunch of those kids with brachial plexus injury. You allow them to experiences those random movements. Guess what? If there’s any connection left, they get full control of the arm. The thinking has to change. What we do is, we try to control the limitation by creating more limitation. That’s done a lot of kids in the autism spectrum.
Mike: That’s too bad. It is really important to talk about how you highlighted in your book this random movement becomes ordered movement over time, because you’re wiring. Maybe talk about that and that whole plexus.
22:39 Movement Creates Change
Anat: Movement creates change. If I move my arm, it creates change, first of all in space visually, kinesthetically; sensationally in the joints, pulls on the different weights, there is an enormous amount of stuff going on with every movement. What I found out, actually first with the dots I worked with that I trained, and I’m going to other people’s trainings, and I go like, they are like mashed potatoes. They are not really learning. I’m after learning. My thing is learning-happenings, learning-happenings, learning-happening, because this is that the tool I know to work with and I know that that’s a tool we will rely on to have a life. I realized that when people move automatically, they don’t learn. Unless you pay attention to the feeling of self, to the feeling of the self, I mean, if you get instructions, verbal instructions, in a movement class, you first listen to instructions, you translate them to whatever the teacher meant, but from there on, paying attention to what you feel as you move, drives enormous burst growth of new connections in the brain, estimated in children 1.8 million new connections per second. That’s about 100 million roughly, in those larger numbers, who cares, roughly a hundred million a minute, enormous plasticity.
Anat: Do all those connections stay? No, but they become a source from which through, and that’s one of my essentials, variations of movements and outcomes, the brain lands on “success”, what it consider success. If I do this, it doesn’t push the pillow. If I do this and it doesn’t push pillow. If I do this…If you watch a healthy child move when they are 6 months old, a year old, they experiment. They do an enormous amount. They approximate. This is a phenomenal process of approximation to where they figured, that worked well enough. Then they go for it again and again and again, and that happens at the speed of light. It is almost instantaneous. If you don’t watch it, sometimes you don’t get it happened because it is so fast. When it doesn’t work everything slows down. You try and you pull the arm. It’s not working, not working or you try to get the kid to look in your eye, or your prompt them to say “Good morning teacher”, such low level. You take this most ingenious system in the universe and you treat it like a tricycle. It’s such ridiculous. Movement with attention, it’s kind of like sets the brain to do what it’s built to do. How do you get the child to move with attention? One of the things is if you move them and you pay attention to what you feel as you move them, and you can even say “Oh, look. This is bending. Can you feel, oh your…Is this squishy?” This is a person, right? You just go and you say “Oh, my god, you just looked over there.” You don’t force them to notice. You don’t force it. You just allow it. The moment you get them hooked one time, the second time is easier for them to pay attention.
26:19 We Learn Our Experience
Anat: Paying attention is a skill that develops more and more, or less and less. There are ways to deteriorate. They give the children iPhones, iPads, and those kind of repetitive, flashy attention-grabbing video games and stuff like that, act to really desensitize the system, and create, this research now, quite a bit of it comes from Israel, that shows that there’s a real the very divergence between kids that got a lot of it between age 1 and 3. They tested them at 5 and those of them that didn’t get any of it, or very little of it. The brain responds to experience. It is a brilliant system, and it is a completely stupid system, in the sense that it doesn’t say “Oh, I shouldn’t do this because the conditions I need are not the right ones”, so don’t get traumatized, just don’t get over whatever migration of nerve cells and connections, no, no, no, don’t migrate those nerve cells, because this is not going to be a good learning, no, no, no we are going to learn our experience. When I when I wrote my book, my editor said, there is a sentence that said, “We learn our experience.” She was very nice. I love her. She said “You probably meant to say “We learn from our experience.”. I emailed her back and I said “We wish”. We do or we don’t, but we learn our experience. Movement with attention is the first core essential.
27:59 Moving with Attention
Anat: There is more and more research that shows that kids who end up being the autism spectrum, are under differentiating movement from the word go. It’s not like you know, qualifies as an NIH scientific research, but they’ve done observations for videos, and they showed that children on the autism spectrum, when they went back to the childhood videos, those who learn to rollover, rolled with very little differentiation. Healthy kids take their time, but then when they roll their eyes follow an object and there is a very complex, perfectly timed process, where they move their head and twist the spine, the lower back muscles kick in, and they role. They don’t use the legs or the arms to push on their rollover. The children on the autism spectrum used the weight of the legs and the arms to get themselves. It’s a totally different configuration with much less differentiation. In my expense with kids, ADD, ADHD, Asperger, MASD, all are under differentiated along the spine, the freedom of relationships between the parts. It’s not like it is stiff. They look robotic because they there under differentiated. Moving with attention would be the first thing.
Mike: Very powerful stuff. I think there’s a lesson that we can expand upon to help our listeners. Just by you folding the pillow, you hit on two other essentials, and that’s subtlety, paying attention to the subtle details, and the enthusiasm at which you folded the pillow, that was palpable for me sitting across from you. I think those are important aspects. As parents sometimes you can be frustrated if your child’s not doing what you are trying to teach them, or you can clap and say “Don’t do that”. Maybe, let’s go into subtlety and enthusiasm.
29:56 Subtlety/Reduction of Force
Anat: Subtlety is actually reduction of force, which increases the refinement of the system. Refinement of the system, really the brain’s direction is from less to more complexity, not complicated, but complexity. In order for me to do this movement, it requires enormous amount of density of mapping in the brain, for me to be able to move like that intentionally. If somebody has specifically, there is no way they could do it because there is not enough differentiation to allow for this tiny tiny tiny intentional regulating and adjustment of the movement to just be like that, for example. To get there, you have to perceive differences, and you have to be to refine more and more. Those essentials, in many ways, are either counterintuitive to our mechanical model, more primitive approach to ourselves in life, and they require personal evolution to be able to apply them. It’s like you don’t kick the radio. It doesn’t work. Information system, try to kick your computer. That’s what happens. The subtlety is reduction of force, and the reduction of force, that’s where the Weber–Fechner law. It is a neurophysiological phenomenon. It’s a law that has been put in physiology books, I think for over 100 years. I don’t know when it came out, but I think it’s probably already over 100 years. It’s just not being utilized intentionally. It’s there. It is part of how we are built, which says that the less intense the stimulus, the easier for you to perceive a change in the intensity of the stimulus. If I want to perceive the difference between this and this, it is easy. If I am outside in the noisy street, and I go from this to this, I won’t hear it. I won’t the sound at all. It’s too soft. Same thing with light, if it’s dark, I turn a flashlight, you jump, but if I to go outside in full sun, I turn a flashlight behind you, don’t know I turned it. You don’t know it happened. That’s what I mean. When there is not the perception of a difference, it does not exist. It’s gone. It’s so important to understand when working with the children on the spectrum, or working with any child for that matter, working with anybody. Let’s go back to, because children on the spectrum have a hard time perceiving differences. They have what’s called a noisy brain.
33:10 Reaching the Brain Through Movement
Anat: The first way to get to that brain is through movement, but not through limited rote forceful movement. It is through any movement that you do in a way that they can perceive, feel and notice what’s going on. There isn’t a right movement or a wrong movement. The right movement to do with anyone is the movement that the person is already relatively easily capable of doing. Then you reduce the effort, and you slight variations around what the person is already doing. You do it with gentleness and sometimes with those kids, sometimes I literally get their attention, I’m very good at getting their attention. I’m a perception of differences walking machine, right. That’s what I do. That’s what I work with. I have enormous freedom and variability in how I can do it, but sometimes they would move and I would move with them and then I amplify what they do and I amplify to the point where they can perceive a difference. You can’t make them go down, because the already have the intensity they have and they don’t feel it. They don’t know. It’s just like fish in water, right? I amplify it and once it is amplified to the point where they can notice it, then I amplify it some more. Then I say little less and I go right back to more, because it’s easier to do. A rough gruff undifferentiated action is easier, because it’s before the brain has evolved to more complexity and refinement. To say “You’re either for me or against me”, is a lot easier then to actually have a complexity of seeing that there might be danger in there. Thinking needs differentiation. Emotions need differentiation, but it all starts with the movement. Reduction of effort, very very very very important, mechanical physical effort is the easiest place to recognize it and do it. Reduce the emotional intensity. If you are starting to work with your kid, and somebody in school thought you’ve got to teach them math, and you get all irritated, back off. Hire somebody to do it. Apologize to your child. Say “Oh, my God, I was really intense, now, wasn’t I? Now, let me see, can I get more intense? Can you get more intense? Now let’s get less intense.” Any perception of difference will improve the ability of the brain to perceive differences, any. It’s not the right perception of difference; it’s that perception of differences. This gives enormous freedom and an openness.
Anat: Another form of subtlety versus force is repetition. Were you ever told to do something over and over and over again as a way to either punishment, or because it was your job…?
Mike: Or to get better at something…
Anat: Yeah. Do you remember how miserable that was to try and do that? Do you know what the brain needs in order to learn? It is another one of my essentials, variations. Variability, that’s what it gives itself when children are growing up, an enormous amount of play, mistakes, consequences don’t matter, because there are adults watching that you don’t run under the truck. Repetition is an attempt to get the person to move from not being able to, to yes being able to. In my world, in my universe of understanding, it’s one of the most stunning mistakes people are making. Repetition grooves in. By the nature of how the brain is built, repetition grooves in the existing configuration of action, whether it’s a desirable one, or not. For example, if you ask a child on the autism spectrum to do something and they go “aaahhh” and you go “No, no, don’t do this”, two times the brain already associates one with the other. If you ask somebody who just had a stroke and the arm is like this and say “Try. Try to stretch.” In two repetitions, you’re grooving in the limitation. You’re grooving in the disruption. You’re grooving in the distortion, and you’re denying the system, at the same time, what it needs in order to have a chance to do something different. Healthy children create enormous amount of variability, and only the amount of force that they can handle. That’s it.
38:10 Andy – Writing
Anat: I will give you an example, very brief. I worked with this wonderful child. He came in and he was almost 8 years old, Andy, lovely boy, autistic, an expert in autism. Doesn’t look in your eyes, doesn’t make sense of his world. Very sweet, but just like… and can’t do math and can’t read and write. We worked with him. I think it was probably half a year. They come from out of town. They come for a week. They go home. He was progressing, progressing, starting to look in the eyes, language got better, and one day it came to the point where we could look at school work. Andy has problem writing. I say “ Bring what he is writing on.” So the mother explained to me, first they get them to write the letters between the lines. He was like, lines no lines, forget it, right, all over the map. When that didn’t work, they created squares for him. Now they limited him. They tried to reduce variability both from lateral and top and bottom. Exactly the opposite of what the system needs. He cannot put it between the lines, because he cannot see it. It is not like he is blind, but he doesn’t perceive it, he doesn’t see it, just like you won’t see the light behind it turning on under full sunlight. What happened was, first of all, movement, all the other stuff that we do so we get a brain that’s a learning brain. It’s a vibrant brain. It’s a brain that expects to learn and expects is better at putting order in the disorder to begin with. You don’t go to math when you can’t make sense of your world. First of all, I wrote the letter large. A and I showed it to him on the clipboard. He turned and said “Oh, A”. I went like, okay, he can recognize it. Perfect. The first thing I ask him to do, I said “I want you to write the letter A. but I’m going to ask you to write it really badly, so be hard for me to recognize that it’s an A.” I am talking like an intelligent human being and what am I asking to do?
Mike: You are pushing him into a different direction…
Anat: No, no, what do you have to do in order to write the letter A badly? How do you know if it’s sloppy? You have to create a letter A that’s not sloppy. I’m tricky. I don’t know what he creates, but he was thinking and thinking and thinking. I get a kid who starts thinking. Wow, that’s a win. He holds like this the marker, goes to the day and does that, a dot. I say to him, “That’s a perfectly bad A. It’s so bad I could never guess it was a letter A or any other letter.” That’s the size of difference, he could start with. That’s the size of difference. Then I said “Can you make it just a little better, that there is a chance I could know it’s A?” so he had to think and he did something. I said “That’s better.” I did a bunch of variations, and then I drew a square. I look at the kid and he is holding his breath. He already expects to fail, because he has failed at this. Now he is an expert. The brain knows exactly how to fail trying to write the letters inside the square. So I said to him “Andy, choose a letter.” He chose a letter. I say “One condition, you are going to write part of the letter inside the box, and part of the letter outside of the box.” He flips his eyes, looks me straight in the eye and says “You’re kidding me”. I said “No, I’m not”. That’s an autistic kid. Was he autistic when he said “You’re kidding me”, not at that moment. At that moment, he functioned just like a very healthy child.
42:07 The Learning Switch
Anat: Autism is also not a thing. It’s a way the system organizes itself. It can organize it non-autistically, more autistically, less autistically. It is dynamic and you gradually move it out, as much as you can, out of it. Reducing the force, because trying to put it in this way is forceful. Telling a child to repeat something over and over and over again is forceful. And by the way, all I’m telling you is now supported by tons of neuroscience research. One research just came out of the Weizmann Institute in Israel that shows that, they did it with the dots on the autism spectrum. If you taught them a task, and did lots of repetitions of that task, it stopped them from the ability to shift in that task. It actually killed off their ability to learn, what I call the learning switch, which is one of my essentials. It’s a beautiful clean research. I’ve been saying for years, don’t do repetitions. Do variations. Once the child does it, they will repeat spontaneously to master. All children do it. After that lesson with Andy, I said to the Mom “Don’t do any school work with him”. He will probably spontaneously sit down and write letters. He did. He took those pages with lines and for an hour and a half; he just did it because it was a pleasure of him all of a sudden knowing what was asked of him. The pleasure of mastery is enormous. That’s how we do things over and over again to master them. That’s when you want the repetition, when you’ve figured it out, not before.
Mike: That’s beautiful. Great information, Anat. One thing that I found interesting in your book was a practical way to train children, and help them understand the perception of difference and talking in a lower voice, and raising your voice to concrete that. Talk to us about that in the context of outbursts that parent’s struggle with.
44:14 Creating Awareness in Speech Volume
Anat: Sure. I would like to change what you said, train children. I am actually looking to train parents, so the children can grow and learn. The focus is on the child, but very often a lot of the training needs to actually happen with the parents, not that they are always happy to hear that. It’s not because parents are doing something wrong. It’s just a learning process for everybody. When a child, and very often some children on the spectrum have a very loud voice and it’s monotonous. It doesn’t have a lot of variability in it. If I hear the voice like that I know it’s a child on the autism spectrum, like in my waiting room when I hear it from my office. People tell the child sometimes, inside voice, you have an inside voice. What does that mean? The child has no idea. They just don’t know what you want from them. The more agitated they get, the more they will do what they’re doing already. I’ve done it numerous times now with children when they are very very loud and they don’t have the freedom. They have no variability there. I just tell them that I don’t hear very well and could they be a little louder. I get myself so I match them and I get louder, so they can hear what I’m talking about, because they don’t know what I’m talking about. They don’t know louder, less loud, so they go louder. To be asked to do more of the “wrong thing” is such a very variation, it’s perfect. Secondly, they get what you want from them, so that they can do it. We all want to figure things out. They’re happy to figure it out. Then I say “Maybe a little louder”, and I go louder, they go louder. Then I go to pretty much as far as they can go, and then I say it’s a little too much. Maybe because now they went louder they have a range, so I can ask them to go back to where they were. Now they have the distinction of louder and softer. Then I go louder, and then I go a little bit under where they were. They now can follow.
46:32 Spencer – Pants Wetting
Anat: I have a video of Spencer. I think it’s on YouTube, that was five years old on the spectrum wetting his pants. They had pull-up diapers, and the school, wonderful school, wonderful teachers, actually really wonderful, tried everything, nothing worked. It occurred to me that perhaps Spencer does not feel the difference between dry and wet around his buttocks and genitals. He just doesn’t feel it. Because of the diapers, they also pull the fluid out, so he feels a change in weight that doesn’t bother him. He just doesn’t know he’s wetting his pants. It is a vague sensation, but it doesn’t connect. It’s convenient, so it’s done. What I did with him, and you can see when you watch this video, it’s all of maybe five minutes, four minutes. I did what I do normally the movement, you wake up the brain, up the learning potency of the brain. I took two little towels one was dry, one was wet. I told him that I was going to touch him with a wet towel and a dry towel. That he’s not going to see. I said “You’re going to tell me if it’s dry or wet.” First I did it on his legs. He had shorts and he misidentified. He misidentified the dry. He misidentified the wet. Guess what? I wasn’t going to continue doing that, because I don’t look to teach my clients their mistakes and limitations. I don’t do repetition on what doesn’t work. I went to his face, because the face has a lot more integration. When I did it in the face, he was a little slow in the beginning, but the perfectly identified it. That was trial one. Trial two, I did a couple more dry/wet what they did twice wet dry once twice, I varied, but just very few, but he did it perfectly. I went to his back and lifted up the shirt. I did it on his back and he got faster and faster. Wet, dry, like that and then he goes dry/wet because my towel touch both the wet dry side and the dry part. He was ahead of me. Now we are probably two, two and a half minutes into the whole thing. Then I got the mother’s permission and I told him, I’m going to pull your pants down a little bit, so I did it on his buttocks. I did it once or twice, a couple three variations in his buttocks. He was present perfect identification. I said, “I’m done”. He learned it. I’m not going to keep drilling. It’s done. I said to the mother, “All he needs now is to just wear underpants.” The little one says “No, I want diapers”. I said “No, you’re not going to have diapers any more. If you’re going to pee in your pants, you are going to feel it.” He says “No, no, diapers are a good thing.” He’s trying to negotiate. It’s so cute. He never wet his pants again. I said to him “You know what you’re going to do when you pee in your pants? You are going to run to the bathroom. You’re going to feel it wet and you’re going to run to the bathroom and pee.” And that’s all. He could not feel the difference between wet and dry. Once he did it, he could, but for some reason, that wasn’t there, because that brain is challenge with perceptional differences.
Mike: So just that subtle difference between wet and dry wasn’t able to…
Anat: The difference between wet and dry is not subtle when you perceive. It’s just when you don’t perceive it, it’s subtle. The way to increase the perception is to increase the subtlety of the input, rather than increase the intensity, which is force, repetitions, because you’ve got a brain that gets noisier and stupider, and second it’s learning it’s limitation, because the brain always always maps its experiences. The more you do the same thing, the more you get what you already have.
Mike: That’s profound. Using that thought process, when a child when one is yelling at you, talking quieter is that going to…?
50:33 Adult Enthusiasm
Anat: No, no, no. If you talk quieter, you drive them crazy. Sometimes people try it. Again, it’s a form of control. What I do with those kids, I don’t call it yelling. If they yell, yell, I always say “Oh, my God. You have a big voice. Wow, you are a strong little boy.” I observe it. I give them a distinction. “Now let’s talk louder”, “Now let’s talk how you talk”, “Now let’s louder”. You match them. You join them. You don’t fight them. You don’t try to change them. I don’t try to change the people I work with. I do help them change. That’s the second chapter in my book, From Fixing to Connecting. You connect. You connect your brain into their brain, helping, the adult hopefully better organized brain and more intelligent brain, not because it’s a better brain, but because it had more time to figure things out. I like to use this image, an adult dolphin swimming with a baby dolphin. It’s about three months that they have to non-stop swim and there’s an adult dolphin there. The reason there’s an adult dolphin is because, if you take away that adult dolphin, the baby dolphin will sink and I die. They can’t swim by themselves. They need the current to be able to practice swimming and floating and all that stuff. This is the adult brain or brains around the baby brain or a child brain. In order to implement the essentials, you have to be doing them. You have to perceive differences in your child, which leads me to another essential, which is the enthusiasm essential. When a child is like, whatever is going on and it’s not what it should be, and let’s say you use the essentials and there’s a shift, and it’s a subtle shift. You at that moment are positioned with a choice. Are you going to invalidate the change and say “Yeah, but I don’t know because sometimes it happens by itself and when it’s Sundays and after they’ve slept, they are not yelling, and I don’t know if what I did made the difference.”, you are killing off the opportunity to amplify the change. We are not trying to prove anything to anybody. We’re trying to empower change. You do the enthusiasm internally. I say to people in the workshop, I say “ You are developing the generosity of spirit, that when you see a small change in the brain, no small, no big change, it is a quantum system, change or no change, but when there is a change that is small in terms of the final outcome that were looking for, you internally get thrilled. You go like “Oh, my God. This brain is starting figure it. It just noticed a change.” A brain that can see the difference is a brain that can pretty much solve almost all problems. You amplify it internally.
54:08 Detriments of Praise
Anat: If you get all excited, I train parents if kids don’t walk, I train them to walk. I don’t train them to walk. They get to walk as a result of the work, please eliminate that one, but the first time they walk spontaneously, because that’s the only way they walk in our center is when they walk. I don’t walk them. I know it’s coming close. I tell the parents no clapping, no “good boy”, no “Do it again”, because when you clap or create a big excitement on your end, it distracts the child and very often they fall or they can’t do it anymore. They don’t know that they just did it. It’s spontaneous. If you ask them to do it again, they can only go into what they know. Very often you inhibit new learning, and I’ve had one case that I can think of now that I could not get the child to walk again. I warned the family. I knew the situation and she was just petrified.
Mike: Interesting. Carol Dweck talks about that in her book, Mindset, how you should praise effort, not praise success because then people can get scared of like…
Anat: I won’t go beyond that. Don’t praise. Do you think dogs get praised to learn to do something? It’s an inherent, success, the feedback system of the brain goes that worked, I’m doing that again. When we internally go look at someone and we say inside we feel, go like “Boy that was really wonderful” and you look at the person, you can feel it. You think it’s the words, but it’s a feeling that comes across. There is research that shows now that that accelerates myelination and grooving in of that thing. The brain has to select what to grove in and what not. I take it a big step. I name it, but not right away. I name it equally. If a kid holds something and it falls on the floor, I go like “Oh, my God, that just fell on the floor. Do you want to get it again? Do you want to pick it up again?” or if they hold it and they look at it and say “This time it didn’t fall. This time it fell.” Equal value, because if you don’t know what falling is, you don’t know what not falling is.
Anat: I have kids at a certain point, especially kids didn’t have dexterity in their hands, they start throwing things. I give them a bucket of toys, that are not breakable, and I say “Do you want to throw another one? Let’s see how far you’ll throw it. Let’s see. Oh, that was a strong throw”, then I have where the camera is, I say “You’re not going to throw it over there.” I give them the distinction. If they do, I say “Sweetheart, no.” and I get them to feel the direction and I say “You can throw here, here, here, but not over here.” That’s how they also learn how to not throw things at people, but it’s equal. If they insist, I say “Sweetie, if you do it one more time we are not going to throw anymore today.” Guess what? The craziest most misbehaved, if they are motivated to throw, then their brain goes, here, here, here versus here. “Here is camera” I say “This one you go over here is a camera. We don’t throw to the camera.” But if it is a six month old that throws, or an eight month old that throws, I just put somebody in front of the camera. I protect the camera. I’m smart. I’m reality based. It’s not about good and bad. I tell parents, when a child does something they say “Good boy”, I say “What is behind good boy? A bad boy” If you do it you’re good, if you’re bad. It has nothing to do with being good or bad. You don’t want to burden it with this nonsense.
58:20 Hitting and Hair Pulling
Anat: But it’s order and the brain has to create order, otherwise the suffering in lack of some kind of configuration in order is unbearable. That’s why they hit, because they feel it. They yell louder because they hear it. They yank on somebody’s hair, and they keep yanking on the hair, because when they yank on the hair, there is a strong enough reaction that something happened that they can notice and they go for it again. It gets reinforced. Not because they are looking to create havoc. It’s because that’s all they perceive. When I get a kid that does that, I get permission from the parents first, and then the next time, and I’m quick, as long as I’m very quick, I’m going to do it. They move their arm, and I catch the arm just before they get to the hair. They move, and I get it. And I said “No, no pulling hair.” Trust me, I get every autistic child’s attention at least for a few seconds. I don’t hurt them, I just stop it. It is abrupt. You notice it. If a child won’t notice that, I truly couldn’t work with that child, because if the brain is so gone, could happen with children that have a lot a lot a lot of seizures, and then I just won’t do it. I just say to the mother collect your hair and put it in a ponytail, protect yourself. Put a hairband around and whatnot. I said “No” and then very slowly I say, I move their arm towards the hair, and I say “You were going to pull” and I do the movement of pulling, and I say “No” I said “This is your hair”, and then I hold and I say “Pull hair”. So we are doing it together, except I’m pulling. I don’t yank hair out, but let tell you, nobody pulled on their hair before. They feel it. I said “That’s pulling hair.” I know that they don’t know what they’re doing. People assume they know what they’re doing. They have no clue or they assume they don’t know what they’re doing, they have no control. They don’t know what they’re doing, but they’re doing it because it works, in the sense of creating perceptual differences. Then I put the head down and I keep talking. I know exactly what will happen. The hand goes yank to the hair, but this time it’s an intentional action. I still catch it. I said “No, no pulling hair” and I go through the routine again, except this time I go straight to their hair, and I go “That’s pulling hair. That’s mommy’s hair. No.” I take the hand and I go “No”. That doesn’t hurt at all, but it’s abrupt. I go “That’s pulling hair.” Then the third time, almost always some kids I need one more time. They start moving. They look at their hand and they look at the mommy’s hair. Now they have this distinction. My hand, mommy’s hair, my hand, mommy’s hair. This is such a win, you can’t even imagine. The brain is starting to do its job. They stop. I have it on video numerous times. They stop, and then they kind of start moving the hand, and some of them get sad. It is kind of like they lost something they used to like to do. That’s fine. They can be sad about it. Then it pops out of them automatically again, and they stop themselves, and that’s it. The parents, because they go back to the environment, I said if you did too wishy-washy mushy, if you said to long sentences, no. Catch the hand and say “No, no pulling hair.” I am very passionate about it, because it’s so clear to me.
01:02:36 Neural Plasticity
Anat: Once people start adopting this, what I’m talking about is going to evolve in amazing ways that we can’t predict now. It’s a shift in mind. It’s a shift in thinking. It’s a shift in belief systems of what works, and what makes things work. It’s emotional. It’s a big emotional shift, in terms of their willingness to back off, and to stop seeing the child as wrong, but as an opportunity to use what we know, and see how much we can take the brain’s ability, that’s where the plasticity comes in, the brain’s ability to rearrange itself, and use its own mechanisms to go from the no to the yes, from the impossible to the possible, from the seemingly impossible to the possible. Not every child will get everything, but almost every child can get better. As long as we continue with that, they get better. We need to continue to get better ourselves. Adults that stop evolving and developing are pretty sad, and not very wonderful for the people around them. As Stephen Jay Gould wrote in his book, Antecedents of Man, we are born to die unfinished. We develop slower than other animals, not because something is wrong with us. It is because it allows for the complexity, and the development of capabilities that no other animal has, like speech. There are 5000, depends on where you read, or 7000 languages and dialects. Any brain, depends where you put it. People can learn different languages, mathematics, and poetry. That doesn’t mean other animals don’t have intelligence, but it’s a whole other order of magnitude. It would be a wonderful opportunity if we moved towards using our intelligence in slightly more intelligent ways.
Mike: These courses are offered for parents, and also healthcare practitioners, is that what we’re saying.
01:05:04 Anat Baniel Method Courses
Anat: I offer a variety of different courses. I did the first time a five day course for parents, where I had them bring their own child. Half the day was with the child in the room. I brought 20 additional practitioners; because that’s a lot of kids and a lot of parents, and half the days without the child, where I work with the parents, take them through movement lessons, take them through feeling it in themselves, and learning the essentials and what they mean. I’ve been asked to do this for many years, and finally this past June, we did it for the first time. It was spectacular. It was one of the most challenging things that I’ve ever done in my life, and one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever done in my life. I’ve already have people ask me to do the next one. I won’t do another one, maybe one in the fall of next year. We’re moving into doing research on stroke and shifting the ways rehab is done, with a number of different wonderful neuroscientists and people, just amazing people. We will see how that goes. We’ll do one of those. What I also offer is seminars to the general public, for parents and professionals that work with children special needs and others. It’s just for adults, for the general fitness, or things like that. I’m going to have some actually in November, the latter part of November. If people see that they can come on my website anatbanielmethod.com and see that. The big event, the longest kind of training is training practitioners in Anat Baniel Method Neural Movement. That happens every, not regularly, its every couple three years, we open a training. One opens in March 12th of 2016. That’s really a remarkable opportunity, for professionals, physical therapists, OT’s, PT’s, speech therapists, massage therapists, special education teachers, and behavioral specialists, psychologist, you name it, because it gives the tools and understanding of how to take advantage of the brain’s own mechanisms and how to integrate movement the way we do it, into anything you do.
Mike: Sounds fantastic.
Anat: Also for parent’s, a lot of parents take the training to work with their kids, and in then they end up working with kids in general, or with adults. We have professionals that just want shift profession. We have some people to come just for themselves. Most of them end up practicing, but they come for their own well-being. That’s it.
Mike: Great information. We will have those links right below this video, so folks can learn more about that.
Anat: I have a website for the profession training, anatbanieltraining.com, so you can have a link for that and for the website and for the YouTube and FaceBook.
Mike: Anat Baniel, I really appreciate you coming on the program here and your book is amazing, Kids beyond Limits, any human with a brain, but particularly parents, teachers and children with special needs. I think athletes and performers, executives would benefit.
Anat: Huge. I have done lots of work with high performers. That was at the beginning of my career. Thank you for doing it. I just want to mention, there are Nine Essentials. People practicing the essentials get better themselves, because you have to be subtle to pursue subtlety. You have to be free to do variations, and be playful, and make intentional mistakes, to be able to generate it for your child.
Mike: It really is a great synthesis. It took a lot of different mindset and mind-body awareness, and being present and mindful. I love it. And then movement, which is pretty powerful.
Anat: Movement is the whole thing. It’s the heart and core of everything, is movement.
Mike: That’s fantastic. Thanks again for coming on.
Anat: Thank you.