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Amy & Carl Geib - Anat Baniel Method Children's Practicioners
Kalamazoo, Michigan
 
  
 

 
 

 
 
Christopher's Story

Our son Christopher was born in April of 2005. He was a beautiful, healthy baby and we were overjoyed to welcome him to our family.

However, early on we suspected something was different about Christopher. He is our second child, and thankfully we had our daughter’s development as our guidepost. His eyes seemed to roll around and he didn’t appear to focus on anything. At his eight-week visit, the pediatrician agreed Christopher needed to be seen by both a pediatric ophthalmologist and pediatric neurologist. Both specialists did extensive diagnostic testing but neither could find anything abnormal with his brain or eyes.

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At around this time, he began showing signs of developmental delay. He began physical therapy at around 11 weeks old. At first, Christopher didn’t seem to mind physical therapy. He was a very passive baby. However, by about five months of age he started crying during his therapy sessions. It got progressively worse to point that he would begin wailing at the sound of the physical therapist’s voice. He wasn’t really making any progress and we were getting more and more frustrated.

At six months old, an ophthalmologist told us Christopher’s eyes were structurally fine, but he was blind and would need to learn Braille and would walk with a cane. We left that appointment and switched to a new ophthalmologist, believing the prognosis underestimated the potential of his brain to form new connections.

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Despite the dismal predictions, we remained hopeful for Christopher’s future in large part because of a both an acupuncturist and a cranial sacral osteopath. To our good fortune, we had begun working with them both when Christopher was about 4 months old. They saw a bright future for Christopher. The D.O. suggested we begin working with a Feldenkrais practitioner in his office who was in the process of completing training in the Anat Baniel MethodSM (ABM) for Children. We agreed to see her and were completely amazed at how happy he was with his lesson. He never once cried. Quite to the contrary, he laughed and squealed with delight. Even more amazing, after his second lesson, at ten months old, Christopher rolled from his back to his stomach, something never accomplished through physical therapy. We would soon be celebrating his first birthday and imagine our joy at his accomplishing this developmental milestone.

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Additionally, we saw a playful, curious person emerging in Christopher. He began reaching for toys, touching our faces, and interacting in the world. It was then that we realized he was an incredibly bright child.

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While we were delighted in his progress, we felt pressure to continue with physical therapy. He was still very delayed in his gross motor skill development and we were being told he needed to be placed in upright positions. But, when placed in sitting or in a stander, he would wail. It was just too painful to see him so upset. We found ourselves questioning what was right for Christopher. We ultimately decided to stop physical therapy and only pursue ABM lessons. It was a stressful process to get to that point, but it left us with peace once we made the decision.

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We began augmenting his lessons with other Anat Baniel MethodSM for Children practitioners in Michigan and California. We watched him learn to get into sitting,  “commando” crawl to get toys, play with his sister and dog, and cruise anywhere else his curiosity would take him. While crawling is still his preferred method of movement, he walks with a walker or with our assistance. He has also been standing for progressively longer periods independently. His vision has also drastically improved. He is fully sighted and after his last visit to his ophthalmologist does not need glasses at all!

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During the first three years of his life, Christopher received home visits from therapists and teachers through our county’s Early On program. All of these wonderful people were so committed to his development and progress.

Christopher has also had lessons with Anat and enjoys learning from her. We are amazed at how happy he is during his lessons and the changes we see during and after them.

In addition to ABM lessons, Christopher attends school at The Montessori School in Kalamazoo and loves learning from all his teachers. We give thanks that he is cognitively intact and is a healthy and happy child.

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We realize our journey with Christopher is progressing at a slower-pace than that of other children his age, but we are blessed to have such talented and dedicated practitioners, as well as loving and supportive family and friends as travel companions. There are so many people who have touched our lives and we will never be able to thank them. But we think of them often as we see our child thrive.

As Anat said, and we fully believe, “Christopher will lead a fulfilled life.” He already does!

  • Brother & Sister May of 2009 Brother & Sister May of 2009 Our future is so bright we have to wear shades!
  • Christopher August 2009 Christopher August 2009 Sliding by himself for the first time!
  • Hide & Seek November 2009 Hide & Seek November 2009 Big sister knows all the best spots!
  • Family Dance January 2010 Family Dance January 2010 Slow dancing with Sis!
  • Snowman February 2010 Snowman February 2010 Learning to stand with a little help from Frosty.
  • Ready to ride the wake June 2010 Ready to ride the wake June 2010 Not afraid of anything (especially when I with my Mom)!
  • Digging the Beach July 2010 Digging the Beach July 2010 Let me loose in the sand & I'm happy!
  • Truckin along July 2010 Truckin along July 2010 Every five year olds' dream
  • Family boat ride August 2010 Family boat ride August 2010 We all love our big Dog Payton!
  • Fun @ Speech Therapy January 2011 Fun @ Speech Therapy January 2011 Bubbles are a blast (and so is speech with Ruth)!
  • Beach Race June 2011 Beach Race June 2011 My sister is my best friend!
  • Tunnel Fun July 2011 Tunnel Fun July 2011 Happiness makes life more fun!
  • Onekema shirts August 2011 Onekema shirts August 2011 "I'll be standing by my sister she'll be standing by me!"
  • Field trip September 2011 Field trip September 2011 Pickin fresh apples & I get to take some home
  • Halloween October 2011 Halloween October 2011 Clownin around with my big sis!
  • Christmas photo November 2011 Christmas photo November 2011 It's easy to smile with Christmas right aroung the corner.
  • Springtime walk May 2012 Springtime walk May 2012 A new walker but the same heart warming smile!
  • Fall photo September 2012 Fall photo September 2012 Best buddies pose for the camera. Closer everyday to standing by myself.
  • Gymnastics April 2013 Gymnastics April 2013 Just like Ellie, I'm a gymnast too!
  • Tunnel climb May 2013 Tunnel climb May 2013 Sliding down is easy. I'm climbing up!
  • School field Trip June 2013 School field Trip June 2013 Sitting tall in the drivers seat!
     

Christopher’s story and the progress he has made have compelled us to become ABM practitioners. We want to offer the hope and possibilities to families of children with special needs to achieve what might otherwise seem out of reach.

 

 
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