I have been working with Israel periodically over the last two years. Until now, I had never intensively worked with him because of his surgeries & some sicknesses. Recently, Israel’s labored breathing has been a major concern so I suggested that we do a series of sessions.
I explained that seeing Israel every once in awhile only allowed me to make him feel more comfortable but didn’t allow me to teach him to function better. After some thought his parents called me and scheduled Functional Integration® lessons for three consecutive weeks for him. I was excited to see how this learning opportunity would unfold for Israel who has had two hip surgeries and is diagnosed with cerebral palsy & torticollis. Following is a short description showing his growth during that time.
Week 1: Since Israel would not allow me to touch his feet or legs I concentrated on rolling him from his back to each side with my hands initiating the motion through his rib basket. I knew that this action would passively roll his legs as I moved him back and forth. By the end of the week I was able to roll him from side to side easily and I could foresee that it would be possible to eventually roll him onto his belly. I became very encouraged realizing that rolling from the supine position to prone is a very powerful way to soften the chest which will allow breathing and head turning to become easier.
Week 2: My foresight came true early and I was able to roll Israel onto his front. I was pleasantly surprised when he allowed me to touch & move his feet for the first time since I’ve met him. He became relaxed like most people do when I move their feet. This gives me great hope for his future because since his surgery he
has not be able to bend his hips. I understand that each tiny movement I do with each foot is duplicated in his hip.
By the end of this week, Israel learned another new motion and lifted his head while he was on his belly. The positive effects of this important developmental movement softened his hands and chest better than I have witnessed for him to date.
Week 3: Israel learned to move his arm from underneath his chest on his own whenever I rolled him onto his front. He became very comfortable lying on his belly making him doze off one session. When I help him turn his ribs & pelvis he can now turn his head from his left to right side while being on his stomach. His shoulder girdle is becoming more flexible from spending time moving on his front like this so his head lifting is becoming more efficient. He now invites me to touch his legs from his toes all the way to his hip joints. This will bring him new awareness that will change his self image.
What I enjoy most is watching Israel at the end of a session while he senses himself in supine. His facial expressions show signs of curiosity, wonder and surprise each time he discovers he can roll his head more freely. It must feel weightless after dealing with torticollis for so long.
All of these essential movements have given birth to other benefits and you can hear this in his Mother’s words:
“I have noticed so many changes in Israel in the last three weeks, even more controlled breathing. I think the biggest and most important change is that he is more comfortable in his own body. He is more relaxed and is smiling more. His movements are more controlled and he has more of them. He is also more alert to his surroundings, including the people and animals around him. He is just so much more present.” ~Danielle Newswanger
If you would like support Israel and attend the Izzyman Golf Outing on Sunday, Oct. 9, click here. To donate money towards Israel’s Feldenkrais® sessions you can make a check out to Israel Newswanger and mail it to my office. Thanks for your support!