This is a guest blog by a parent who wishes to remain anonymous.
HANDLE opens the door…
Excuse the ridiculous pun, but it really does. It opens the door to possibility and insight.
Possibility that difficulty could become eased. In my experience it has a sort of domino effect; once you have learnt about HANDLE, you view the world differently.
Let me explain.
It all started 2 summers ago when I met a mother who shared that her son went to a HANDLE school. (I had no idea what type of education this was, but it got stored in a file in my memory).
The next piece of the puzzle came when I passed a poster for a HANDLE talk in my local Newsagent window.
It stirred my curiosity.
Over the following year, my son’s focus and concentration both at home and at school started to wane, and I began to wonder if his bouncy 7 year old boy energy was standard, or whether there was anything deeper going on. I started to look around for possible solutions, and clues about his development and learning.
I decided to research HANDLE. I read that it achieves neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to change), to tackle anything from sleeplessness, poor memory and social anxiety, as well as the more documented full on behavioural ‘dis’ orders. I knew there were links with nutrition (I was hot on nutritional supplementation being able to counter many deemed ‘incurable’ mental conditions) and Feldenkrais (that body system I had heard of). So one sunny autumn afternoon I found myself visiting a beautiful house in Brighton to discover more.
I haven’t looked back.
I felt slightly nervous as I arrived for my HANDLE Assessment as part of a special training weekend for new Practitioners. I wasn’t on the spectrum, or I hadn’t received a diagnosis- was I using valuable time and space of someone more deserving? I knocked on the door…
I was warmly greeted by the team, and Sean himself.
Sitting comfortably, herbal tea in hand, the next couple of hours of activities began- some random, some downright bizarre, and some fun!
The assessment tools certainly weren’t boring and are, I imagined, designed to find out about motor/ coordination/ memory/ cognitive dexterity.
Unlike any traditional tests; there was no right or wrong answer, and when really struggling to wrangle my brain round some of the tasks, whilst speedily accomplishing others, all felt completely easy to participate in.
After all I had no idea what the assessment criteria was, all I knew was that it would culminate in a set of tailor made exercises to perform daily/weekly, to enhance my experience of managing life. I’d particularly flagged up sleep and memory as pertaining issues.
Another thing I liked about the tasks was that because they were so seemingly random, there was no way of second guessing what the desired outcome (if indeed there was one!) would be. A relief to an analytical person like myself.
A few hours of bits of paper/ pens/ and string later, I was ready to go home.
I did experience some entirely unexpected emotional responses to some of the activities. This really took me by surprise, as I had imagined they’d be all housed within the intellect/mind arena. It however makes complete sense to me that as a holistic system addressing us as a whole, this could happen.
I was reassured that this wasn’t an isolated response.
If behaviour is neurological, and our whole life experience is mapped and stored within the body and the subconscious, then when systems overlap it is not really surprising.
My overall experience though was one of wonder. That Judith Bluestone had surmounted odds stacked against her, to develop such a comprehensive system, and that people like Sean have the compassion and insight to deliver such a rigorous and beneficial programme to benefit people who struggle to navigate this complex world we live in.
Day 2: I now found myself looking forward to receiving feedback, and learning more about this fascinating approach.
So, now having learnt the approach, and clutching my activity programme, I will follow the regime until my son has his own Assessment later in the year.
I think he will enjoy the activities.
Bring it on.