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Lidia’s child Irina is a child with special needs. Lidia shares her story in her search for cure and help for her child and how the Child’Space Method has helped both Irina and her family. A blog in two episodes. This is episode two. You can read episode 1 here.

“I decided to go to the International Child’Space Training Amsterdam because I felt that when I could do something myself on a daily basis it will be more useful for my daughter, than rare lessons with a Feldenkrais practitioner. So I went in October 2014 to Amsterdam for the first segment of 10 days.

irina-4-years-oldFrom the second segment on I came with the whole family to Amsterdam and Irina got in each segment a lesson with Chava as a demo in front of the group. Those lessons were always an important source of information for us, as she is brilliant in noting everything and every time she gave us a very precise description on where Irina is now (I mean developmentally), and what should be next, not only in motor development, but also psychologically, cognitively, etc. It was very important for me and Sergei, to understand this «zone of closest development». The thing that I like very much in Child’Space as a whole and in Chava’s lessons in particular is that the focus is always on what the child CAN do, and not on what she CAN’T do. Here in Russia the common approach is the opposite.

Next to Chava’s lesson I took lessons with the assistants for Irina. These lessons always were a positive experience, I saw improvements in Irina’s balance, posture, muscle tone after each segment.

Irina was also in every practicum one of the kids. Students worked with her to get practise in the Child’Space Method. Mostly I was there as her mother. But also I worked with her under supervision of one of the team or I worked with another child and Sergei was with Irina as the parent. Those practicum lessons gave me the feeling of security, I felt more secured when I worked under supervision. When I worked with Irina at home I had nobody to answer my questions if they arose. Through the practicums I became more confident in my own work with my child.

I learned to respect Irina’s pace, to help her to move with more ease, to help her to calm down, if she is upset, and many other useful things. But I think that most important thing is that I realized that I can do a lot for her development myself because I know her better than any specialist. I think that this harmony in our relationships that we have now, became possible largely due to Child’Space.

An important part of the training are the movements in which we do the developmental movements ourselves, the Developmental Movement Explorations (DME’s). I try to do DME’s at least twice a week, and I always feel myself better after doing lessons. My posture, feeling of self and my mood always improve. My husband also mentioned this and sometimes he says “It seems that you’re not in a good mood today, I will take Irina for a walk and you will do your movement lesson, ОК?”

The changes we have made are difficult to remember per segment. I think that Irina became a much happier child and much more regulated. I would say that she learned to trust. I see a lot of other children in the same condition as Irina’s and I can see this difference. This summer we spent 2 weeks in a summer camp for children with special needs, and she was the only child who never cried during these two weeks. Other parents said to me “You’re happy, your child always smiles. Does she cry at all?” She wants to play, she wants to communicate, she even wants to move, although it is difficult for her.

I learned to notice improvements in her, even tiny ones, they happen every time. Now she can already sit on the child chair in the kindergarten without support, for a couple of minutes, but it is a great success for us. Her doctors say that she does not have contractures, and the range of movement in her joints is great for her quite severe case (Gross Motor Function Classification System 4). They think that this is because we do stretching all the time, but we do not, we do Child’Space!

As for other family members (Sergei’s parents, my grandmother) the situation is difficult. They say “she still does not walk, sit or stand – so about what success are you talking?”. They still want to find «cure» for her with immediate results and results for them are measured only in milestones, like sitting, standing. It’s very sad for me and Sergei.

Working with Irina

Working with Irina

In august I became a certified occupational therapist. It was a pilot project, as there were no occupational therapists in Russia before. I am among the first 20 occupational therapists. So I am going to work officially as an occupational therapists. I hope to work primarily with small children with different kinds of delays, so I’m going to combine in my work Child’Space and occupational therapy. My future employer knows about my studying at the Child’Space training and she is very positive towards it. She already suggested me to start conducting a sensory-motor group for babies soon, on the basis of the Child’Space approach”.