What is HANDLE®?
At its core HANDLE is an approach, a way of seeing. It teaches us that “people show us what they need” and that our behaviours are the key to understanding the state of our underlying neurological systems. As well as promoting a deeper understanding of human functioning and development, HANDLE uses specifically designed and individually tailored activities to help address issues with these underlying systems, based on the person's own motivations.
HANDLE activities might involve particular massages, movement sequences or games- some may need simple equipment and others can be done anywhere.
One of the things that sets HANDLE apart from other approaches is the recognition that stressed systems do not learn or develop efficiently. We practise Gentle Enhancement® by stopping activities immediately in response to subtle signals of stress, such as changes in breathing, dizziness, or just wanting to stop. Understanding the simple idea that ‘less is more’ can prove life-changing for HANDLE clients and course participants, their families, and the people they work with or who work with them.
HANDLE is an acronym for Holistic Approach to Neuro-Development and Learning Efficiency. It was originated by the late Judith Bluestone who discovered a unique and compelling view of learning and learning difficulties which she preferred to call 'learning differences'. Combining her own personal autistic experience with academic research and more than 40 years of clinical practice she founded The HANDLE Institute® in 1994.
At Brighton Learning House we are all certified Affiliates of The HANDLE Institute, which continues to apply, develop, research and teach her work.
Judith Bluestone talking about the approach she developed.
Kevin Eccleston sharing his experience as a HANDLE client with Sean Williams
What is Feldenkrais?
The Feldenkrais Method® is a unique and practical educational method focusing on learning and movement, which can bring about improved movement and enhanced functioning. People have found it brings relief from tension and muscular pain, greater relaxation and well-being, improved performance in sport, dance, music and drama, more ease in everyday activities and increased vitality. It is named after its originator, Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984), an engineer and physicist as well as a Judo teacher.
Feldenkrais can be taught in group classes (called Awareness through Movement) or individual lessons (called Functional Integration). Feldenkrais can also help children and adults with learning differences to maximise their potential through simple and gentle movements.
This video gives a great introduction to the Feldenkrais method from the perspective of both practitioners and clients.
What other approaches do we use?
Bal-A-Vis-X is a series of rhythm-based Balance, Auditory and Vision eXercises developed by Bill Hubert of Kansas, USA, using sand-filled bags and racquetballs. There are around 300 exercises with varying degrees of difficulty including lone, partnered and group activities. See here for some examples of Bal-A-Vis-X in action.
Sherborne Developmental Movement was created by Veronica Sherborne based on Laban's Movement Theory. The approach involves physical movement and play activities to develop awareness of self and awareness of others, working to enhance overall learning, communication and the ability to form relationships.
The Listening Program® is a programme that involves listening to recorded music that can improve auditory processing and associated abilities. For example it has been known to help with speech, reading, sleep, balance and social skills. It can be particularly helpful for people who are hypo or hyper sensitive to sounds.