Report of Transnational Meeting # 1

September 20-21, 2013, Golden spiral, Drienova street, Bratislava

Supervised by Thomas Greil and Gloria Desideri

Babyfit: Anka Sedlackova, Angelika Kovacova, Saska Streitova, Roman Javilak

First aim was to explore the work with parents as an integral part of the work and understanding of the situation in families with special needs and also supervision of our previous work with them. We wanted to create the space for meeting of our clients and our partners from abroad as well as families with children with special needs among them.

Because of a high number of families, we devided them into two groups – the first day and the second day. Original criterium was ability of children to move, but than we had to take to consideration the organizational possibilities of the families. We invited the families from our previous clients, we included also two families who showed an interest just a few days before meeting.

We were also considering the number of participants from our teachers and other specialists. We wanted to respect familiar atmosphere, and that is why we limited the number of invited people.

First day – Friday, 14.00 – 18.00

Three families with children participated:

Tana and Martin Bednarik with daughter Zinka (2,5 years, genetical disorder), Martina and Roman Kubiscak with son Tomas (2,5 years, cerebral palsy), Alenka Uhlirova with daughter Lily (5 month, hydrocephalus caused by cyst). Also Candice came, who is the mother of son with Down syndrom and they work with Saska, but now she came alone.

Other visitors: Claire Doyon, France, Iveta Prielozna, Slovakia, Marta Olle, Slovakia, Walburga Glatz, Germany.

Thomas introduced the concept of the meeting and described its form. After half an hour Gloria joined in, she came directly from the airport. We introduced ourselves in a circle, parents talked about their children, shortly about their health conditions and experienced therapies. Thomas introduced some basic principles of Body-Mind Centering, he used simple and understandable examples, the scope of the material was very appropriate. After that he invited everybody to explore some principles in the couples. Everybody found a partner, children stayed by their parents or some of us were playing with them. The partners were exploring in standing. Thomas spoke about the relation of touch and movement, a principle of reciprocity – when I touch the partner, in the same time the partner touches me. This is very interesting especially with children with the special needs, whose reactions are often limited. This concept can strongly support their communication with a parents and for parents it might be good approach to everyday handeling. Through this principle we can perceive the concept of independency of a child with the special needs.

All the couples dived into an exploration, we felt a deep involvement and a cellular resonance in the space. The parents were thankful that we created the conditions for them to explore and took care of their children. At the end we shortly shared our experiences. The children also enjoyed explorations of their parents.

Than we had a break with a small refreshment, during which a lot of discussions and dialogues took place among all the participants. It was clear that everybody enjoyed this part and the parents were happy to be able to talk with other parents. Sequentially we continued with the second part – a work with children. Gloria began to work with Zinka. She worked with a midline, a spinal pattern. She followed repetitive pattern, which Zinka uses and she was looking for the way out. Anka, who has been working with Zinka already since december 2012, was sharing her experience. Zinka´s mother Tana expressed her observation that despite of the fact that Body-Mind Centering has the same base, its form can be different by each facilitator.

Thomas worked with Lily, stimulated a vestibular system by turning her to the sides, while Lily found her midline. He moved her lying on her back and prone as well when he had her in his hands. Lily was peaceful, in some moments she showed her disagreement with an activity, but soon she calmed down again.

Martina, the mother of Tomas, said that lately Tomas was afraid of men, so it seemed logical that Gloria will work with him. She worked on strengthening of a midline, releasing his legs, she was trying to put a toy to both his hands in the same time. She worked with focusing through perception of sound, which is for Tomas very strong mean of communication and it opened an entrance channel. Roman, father of Tomas, was holding him in his hands and was trying to help and emphasize offered stimuli. That was probably the consequence of a certain nervosity of a special situation they were in. Despite of everything, Tomas was doing really well, especially when just a few months ago he was very afraid of more people.

After the work with the children, the parents could talk about their observations. Reactions were really positive, they often mentioned the trust they felt towards Thomas and Gloria. Candice was talking a lot about her experience and excitement of this approach. She thinks that BMC should be offered by each hospital as the first choice of therapy. The parents appreciated a positive approach of an educator, perception of the child as the whole personality and strong respect towards the child and the parent.

After the end of „organized“ part, there was a very alive discussion in the smaller groups. We thought that parents would hurry up because of the children, but they stayed an hour more in the very alive talks. This was very clear sign of „success“ of the meeting for us, which showed that parents and their children felt good and relaxed.

The second day, Saturday 14.00 – 18.00

Four families with children took part:

Tana a Martin Bednarikovci with daughter Zinka (2,5 years, genetical disorder), Vladimira Paulovicova with Dorotka (5 years, cerebral palsy), Jana Lowinski with Leo (2,5 years, cerebral palsy), Eva Mosovska with Sandra (1 year, hydrocephalus).

Our foreign partners of the project also took part in the meeting: Férenc Kálman, Ildikó Báta, Szucs Sándor from ArtMan, Hungary, Claire Doyon, Emeline Seyer, Carla Bottiglieri from SOMA, France, Laura Banfi from Leben, Italy.

If we compare it with the first day – a difference was bigger amount of visitors and also the fact that we did not know Vladimira with Dorotka as well as Janka with Leo before (Leo had one session with Anka some time ago). On the other hand we could build on the experience from the first day and Tana with Martin and Zinka represented continuity in work with children and we could see that they came already tunned into the atmosphere of the meeting.

Anka opened the meeting – she welcomed the participants and introduced SPARKS project. It seemed as a good model, because it made clear that Babyfit initiated and hosted the meeting.

We introduced ourselves in a circle, the parents spoke about the children and their health issues including the experienced therapies, other participants also talked about their experiences with Body-Mind Centering.

Thomas was speaking again about BMC principles and introduced the topic for exploration. In couples we worked with a common touch, now more with a focus on a transition and shifting the weight. All the couples were really concentrated, Janka worked for some time with Leo in her arms, what brought another type of experience. We could see, that Tana and Martin really enjoyed exploration, when it was already second time for them. After that the partners had time for a common sharing, which showed that this topic really made them interested. Also the cooperation of the other participants and the parents was very supportive.

From the beginning Dorotka took her space, she felt as at home and entered into relationships with the different participants of meeting. There was a nice moment, when she wanted to look for something and asked Angelika to join her. When Angelika stood up, Dorotka wanted to do the same and it was diff icult for her. So Angelika joined Dorotka in crawling and they went together to the space. In a certain moment Dorotka started to play with Carla. Martin, the father of Zinka, joined them as traslator. Later they showed us how they were playing – first Carla gave a massage to Dorotka and than they changed each other. Dorotka was guiding the whole game. Carla brought Dorotka to her back, where Dorotka could rest and Carla could work with her. Dorotka really enjoyed the attention of the others as well as an opportunity to communicate in English. She invited us to clapping, singing and initiated international cooperation between the participants – as well on behalf of children, who could not express their experiences from the meeting so well.

The work with children:

Thomas worked with Sandra – he helped her to find the weight and release in the organs, a middle line, they worked on a baby ball. Eva, the mother of Sandra, kept the open space for Thomas, but in the same time she was there as a support of her daughter.

Gloria worked with Leo, while Janka, his mother, was holding him on her body. In a specific moment Leo was working with his mouth and imitating the movement of Gloria and a vocalization. Mother Janka was very relaxed, what she showed verbally and non-verbally. In one moment she became the part of Leo´s movement and naturally she followed and supported him.

Anka was also working with Dorotka on a weight-shifting through lifting her to the air. After that Dorotka showed us how they had played with Carla and Martin. She was very clear in the details and the comments.

After the „official“ end, as a previous day, a lot of talks in a smaller groups took part.

We evaluated the whole two-days meeting as a very positive experience. It is hard to put its multilayered character to few words and the sentences. Our main focus was to work with the parents and be open for the opportunity to work directly with their body. This was fulfilled in a very relaxed and inviting way. The possibility to see how Thomas or Gloria worked with their children gave them the opportunity to better understand the principles and a concept of the BMC. The best sign of how the parents and the children felt was to see that they did not want to leave. They enjoyed the common discussions, very openly entered the relationship with the other parents and the participants. More of them said, that it was interesting for them to become a part of an international group at least for a short time.

Babyfit offered to the parents the possibility to take part in a regular continuation of the meetings of the families with children with the special needs. They all seemed to be very interested.

After the meeting we asked the parents to answer few questions through email. Their answers were very interesting and they showed the importance of this kind of meetings.

The meeting was videotaped by Roman Javilak.