“He doesn’t want to talk or do anything. He seems anxious.” ~Dad of Justin, Age 5
Justin was sitting, holding his arms across his chest with his head down and a frown on his face. His parents communicated his lack of interest in playing or speaking to others, saying, “He seems anxious and afraid.”
I then noticed his foot tapping in place. I began to tap my foot with his. I told him, “Let’s start like our feet and see if we can pretend to see where we would go.” As we did this, we looked like we were walking together in place. We agreed to take a journey with our bodies, and he expressed a desire to pretend to go “to the water.” In response, we increased our movements and started to swim with our bodies, moving our legs, arms, and heads as if in the water.
Justin then stopped and pretended like he was floating. He stated, “I am a turtle.” As we moved like turtles, I noted to him that he had a protective shell and that he could peek out his head and explore when he wanted, on his own time. He then led me around the room, peeking out and looking at the various medical instruments and areas in the room. We took turns leading and following as we moved around the room. We moved slowly at first, eventually making the choice to increase our speed and playfully become acquainted with the room.
What is so inspiring about this session is that with the support to move, the child came up with the idea of being a turtle and of using the movement qualities safest to him to feel comfortable and get used to the environment. The use of movement permitted Justin to gain control over his body and advocate for his own timing and exploration of his surroundings. He transformed what seemed to be an anxious feeling about his environment to a place that he could feel comfortable.
Movement for Integration & Connection – Let’s All Move Together!
All names, ages, and identifying information has been changed to ensure confidentiality and safety for all individuals involved. The events are a composite of related scenarios used to illustrate the work; bringing understanding to the benefits of supporting children through a mind/body connection.