Introducing Lucas Dassie, 4 years

What makes the center so special are the children and the parents that pass through and I want to start introducing you to a few of them.

Lucas first came to see us in April of this year and I had the honor to share his first few lessons with Anat. This is how his mother, Lisa, first described him;

He’s 4 years old. His waters broke at week 17 of my pregnancy, therefore his lungs did not develop. He is a twin, born at 28 weeks. He has chronic lung disease, asthma and is oxygen dependent. He has vision issues, wears glasses, goes to the Foundation for Blind Children to preschool. He has Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL), Cerebral Palsy, severe Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Sensory Processing Disorder and a severe oral aversion. He only eats by bottle. Lucas can crawl, pull to a stand, cruise furniture, side sit and walk poorly with a walker. He vomits in extreme hot or cold weather. He is very smart-he can play on a computer, understands everything I say to him. Grunts for yes and pushes away for no. He can do ‘more’ in sign language as well. He is a hard worker and very, very happy boy.

Lisa is very observant and noticed changes right from the first session, not least that Lucas was actually enjoying his therapy. One of the huge changes in the first week was that he started to see toys long distances away without his glasses. A few weeks ago, after his second visit to the center Lisa wrote this update;

Hi all,

I am so excited about Lucas’ progress, that I just can’t keep my mouth shut. Unfortunately those that have not experienced the method look at me like I’m crazy. So I find that I must tell you all how my fella is doing.

After our last visit to CA, Lucas came home sitting better, side sitting on either side, pulling to a stand much easier and crawling all over the house-exploring more rooms than before. His vision is remarkable. We have not put his glasses back on since our first visit to you and Lucas does not overshoot or undershoot anything.

He crawls right to whatever he wants. He reaches accurately as well.

We saw Geewon Waterman in June. Lucas came home using his pelvis to crawl-not all the time, but much more than ever. He stands flat footed now and with a straight back. No more curve even when sitting. WOW!!!!! He lets me touch his entire head and face and neck. He even lets me put my fingers in his mouth, not just to bite me anymore, but to explore his teeth and gums and tongue even! We went to my mom’s in IL last week and for the first time, Lucas went up and down 2 stairs consistently. Only took him 3 tries without assistance (he tumbled the first 2 times) and he got it. All my himself!! At one point we found him on the 5th stair to the basement with a toy…took it with him!!! AND, he’s been off oxygen the entire time as well. AWESOME STUFF! Lucas has allowed me to put a dab of whip cream in his mouth once too.

Last week we saw Michelle Turner for the first time. Lucas seems to be making more progress with these lessons cognitively versus physically-very interesting.

He goes to the TV and vocalizes when he wants to watch a show. He goes to the bedroom door and vocalizes when he wants to go to the fan, goes to the shower door and vocalizes when he wants to take a shower, goes to the piano and vocalizes when he wants me to turn it on for him, goes to his chair and vocalizes until I bring his bottle. (Lucas has ALWAYS been on a 2 hour feeding schedule because he doesn’t know when he’s hungry…now he does!) He actually chooses a DVD when I give him two choices instead of pushing them away. He no longer wants to watch Baby Einstein and Elmo, he wants Little Einsteins and Dora & Diego. He comes to me and reaches up when he wants to be picked up. He is much more social. He wants to love with me-he gives me big wet kisses. Huge difference. He let me put a grape to his lips and he smiled.

He let me put his fingers in my mouth and pretend to chew, bite, lick and suck. Then I put my fingers in his mouth as we did chew, bite, lick, and suck and he loved it and did it correctly! First time ever! He is still vocalizing more and more,

spending more time upright than just laying on his belly too. He knows his eyes, nose, mouth, head, hair, ears, chest, belly, knees, feet and can point to them on command with about 80% accuracy. When he gets up in the morning, I find him in his

crib sitting upright and already has his foot probe off, ready to get out! He is understanding more and more of what I say. Doing what I tell him, going where I tell him to go. I can’t think of everything, but these are huge…and still off oxygen.

I am so happy there are people like you to help people like my Lucas. He is still not wearing glasses and hasn’t worn his AFO’s, shoes or socks since our first visit. He loves his toes, chews on his knees and toes now. Not before. On and on I could go…thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I always hoped my kid would do these things, now I know he’ll do it all!!! Thank you!

Please pass along to everyone who’s had a hand in my fella. I don’t have everyone’s email.

See you soon I’m sure!!! Lisa Dassie


Shana Tova!

May the New Year bring you peace and joy,
From everyone at the Anat Baniel Method

Love them, hug them, put them down on their back

I am publishing a comment made by a mother on yesterday’s post with my response because it is such a valid and important question.

“I was wondering if the use of stationary baby saucers (play centers) or free standing jumparoos should be used by infants. My six month adjusted son has both and LOVES to jump in them. I am however concerned that it will hinder his development. His neuro says his legs are tight and I don’t want to hinder his ability to overcome his cerebral palsy symptoms. My son is super at unsupported sitting, should this be encouraged or discouraged? I wasn’t sure if this was considered a “unnatural” position due to his age. Also will Anat ever come to the NY area and be able to have sessions with children? We saw her in Manhattan and it was awesome…to us it was like seeing a celebrity!


Dear Melodi,

Thank you so much for your question. The short answer is no to the use of the saucer and bouncer and no to unsupported sitting. This is true for children with and without issues.

We are planning to write an article to give parents advice on “normal” child development in practice. There are many reasons for these answers which we will address and it is SO important because so many parents do these things with the best of intention and, as you say, the children LOVE them. Anat often says there are a lot of things that you could give them that they would love that are not necessarily good for them! A basic rule of thumb is never put a child in a position that they cannot get in and out of by themselves. So my best advice for the time being is put your little boy on the floor surrounded by toys for him to reach for and hang out with him. It is fine for him to be in your lap leaning against you but he should not sit unsupported until he has learned to get there by himself. This will make the work that Donna Panarello is doing even more powerful.

One of my favorite sayings of Anat’s when parents then ask “Well what CAN I do then?” is, “Hug them, love them and put them down on their back.”

As for Anat seeing children in NYC, it does happen on occasion. I would recommend seeing Marcy Lindheimer in conjunction with Donna. Marcy is an amazing practitioner with incredible experience. She is also the only trainer qualified to train Anat Baniel Method  practitioners other than Anat herself and is in the process of building an Anat Baniel Method Center in New York. When Anat sees children in New York it will be in conjunction with her. She also mentors other practitioners and would be an invaluable resource to Donna AND for your son.

I am so glad you were able to get the NYC presentation and that it made such an impression upon you. I wish I could have been there and cannot wait to hear from Anat how she felt it went.

Thank you so much for your participation in our blog and your enthusiasm for our work born out of your love and dedication for your son.


We want your questions and suggestions

One purpose of this site as it evolves is to have a forum for debate. As such we would love to have comments and questions from you to which Anat, myself and the rest of the team of practitioners can respond, in addition to the material that we will continue to post.

Your views are important to us and we look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,


Brachial Plexus Injury

This e-mail just arrived in our inbox;

We are interested in setting up a Camp for those affected with brachial plexus injuries, and or their families scheduled to take place the summer of 2009.

We will be looking into various areas of the Midwest and Florida for the location.

We thought we would send out an e-mail message to see if this is what the brachial plexus community would like to see happen.  If you are interested in attending, helping out, and or making a donation for the event, please let us know.



Wisconsin Brachial Plexus Injury Connection


P.O. Box 23

Larsen, WI 54947

Here at the center we have treated a number of children very successfully for brachial plexus injury allowing the development of full function without needing to resort to painful and often ineffective surgical intervention.

What is the brachial plexus?

The brachial plexus (BRAY-key-el PLEK-sis) is a network of nerves that provides movement and feeling to the shoulder, arm and hand. The nerves supporting the arm exit the spinal column high in the neck; those that support the hand and fingers exit lower in the neck.This nerve complex is composed of four cervical nerve roots (C5-C8) and the first thoracic nerve root (T1). These roots combine to form three trunks. C5-C6 form the upper trunk, C7 continues as the middle trunk and C8-T1 form the lower trunk.

Each trunk splits into a division. Half the divisions globally supply flexor muscles (that lift and bend the arm). The others supply the extensor muscles (that straighten the arm and bring it down). Symptoms of injury may include a limp or paralyzed arm; lack of muscle control in the arm, hand, or wrist; and a lack of feeling or sensation in the arm or hand.

What causes a brachial plexus injury?

A birth brachial plexus injury is thought to be caused by a stretch injury involving the child’s brachial plexus during vaginal delivery, but this is not always the case as such injuries have also been reported following Caesarean sections. This excessive stretch results in incomplete sensory and / or motor function of the injured nerve. According to research, a brachial plexus injury was found to occur in 1.5 of every 1,000 live births. Traumatic Brachial Plexus injuries may occur due to motor vehicle accidents, bike accidents, ATV accidents, sports, etc. Nerve injuries vary in severity from a mild stretch to the nerve root tearing away from the spinal cord.

Free Children’s Clinic

Hello all!  I want to introduce the Free Children’s Clinics.  I founded these clinics in January 2004 so that other parents would have an easier time finding out about ABM and getting the kind of information that would help them decide whether the ABM is something they wish to pursue for their child.

As the parent of a special needs child, one of my challenges was finding out which options I wished to pursue for my son.  Back in the early pre-internet days it was even difficult to discover what those options might be.  Most of the traditional avenues for information, such as my son’s pediatrician or physical therapist, provided little to no knowledge about modalities that were not mainstream.  Traditional therapies were not providing what my son needed, yet I knew of no alternatives.  It was our good fortune to contract for lessons with a physical therapist who had also studied Dr. Feldenkrais’ work.  During his 5th lesson with this practitioner my son sat up for the first time in his life.  At 7 years old, with severe CP, I knew this amazing outcome was not a coincidence. My son has continued to receive this work since that time, and is now a college student living in his own apartment making his own decisions about how he wants to live his life.  The work that Anat teaches has made a major contribution to his ability to be an independent  learner, thinker, and problem solver.  I can’t imagine not finding this work.  My son has a wonderful life, and I have an amazing career.

The Free Children’s Clinics are a “no risk” way for you to explore this option.  At these clinics Practitioners travel from all over the country to donate their time and expertise.   Families with special needs children receive a FREE ABM Lesson from a certified ABM for Children practitioner and have the opportunity to ask questions and receive suggestions for their child.  Visit our website at to find out about upcoming clinics around the US and in Canada.  We have 7 more clinics scheduled between now and the end of the year.  Schedule an appointment to find out what ABM can do for your child.

Also, if you do not have a clinic listed in your area and would like to find out if one can be organized contact me at:

New York, Chicago and Marin

As I announced yesterday, Anat is giving a presentation in New York today at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan, The Samuel Priest Rose Building, 344 Amsterdam Avenue @ 76th St, from 4.30pm to 6.30pm. You can call 646-505-5708 or to book tickets.

One mother who is planning to attend wrote;

“We have been working with Donna Pannerallo out of Red Bank NJ. It’s an hour trip each way 2xs a week but so worth it. He went from a socially unaware baby with no movement in his trunk to a wondeful boy who can sit unsporrted and even catch his balance at 9m actual 6m corrected. His neuro said yesterday that he doesn  have cp…although his therapists believe if he does have it it will be mild. With work I think Anat Baniel Method will help him to overcome his inability to move his right arm in unision. He is so special and perfect in everyway! Thanks Anat and staff for spreading the seed of this method so other moms can find it!”

The following just arrived from Claire Conley, one of our practitioners in Chicago;

Hi all, Anat did a great job at the Chicagoland workshop this past weekend. Suzi Marks and Kathleen Aharoni sponsored the event and it was held up in
Highland Park at the HP Community House. Wonderful seminar, lovely
late-summer weather and the participants were really enjoying the
experience. She spoke at Cove School on her work with children on Friday.
It was terrific to have Anat here and I hope she will come back again for
another public seminar. It is a great way to spread the word.

Over and out —

Anat flies back to California on Thursday to rejoin us in the center in Marin. It is an exciting time for us as the community continues to grow and the center with it.  In the past couple of weeks we have had children visiting the center from Egypt, the UK and Australia as well all parts of the U.S. On the weekend of September 13/14 we hosted a Free Children’s Clinic on the Saturday which Anat oversaw and during the midday break fielded questions. On the Sunday we presented a public workshop for professionals and for parents and caregivers of children with  special needs. It was the first time we had hosted a clinic in San Rafael. The combination of the 2 events worked very well with many of the parents from the clinic able to experience the work first hand and get a better understanding of how we are able to help their children. It is a formula that all those involved are keen to repeat.

Tomorrow we will have a post from Andrea Bowers explaining in greater detail about the Free Children’s Clinic and how it came about.

Finally, thanks to Sharon for class tonight and some feedback from one of our students about her teaching, “It was glorious! It opened up my right side…it felt like sun rays could come out!”