It’s the brain, not the body, that is the basis for physical therapist Carla Reed’s practice.

Her patients have suffered some form of brain injury that causes physical limitations, so the brain is where Carla goes to start their rehabilitation.

They come to her practice, Movement to Wholeness in Sterling, Virginia, with diagnoses that include cerebral palsy, cognitive, motor, or speech delays, complications of extremely premature birth, traumatic brain injuries, and other physical manifestations of disability.

But whatever the cause of their challenges, the program of treatment at Movement to Wholeness starts with that which is limiting the brain’s ability to control function.

Carla’s work combines two systems that she has found successful over a lifetime of working with children with special needs: the Feldenkrais Method®, and the Anat Baniel Method® of NeuroMovement.

Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, a Russian-born physicist, developed the approach to learningthat bears his name by combining physics and biomechanics with innate knowledge of learning and human development.

Anat Baniel worked with Dr. Feldenkrais for years before his death in1984 and evolved his method under her own name.

In her work helping brain-damaged children manifest their potential, Carla Reed has adopted both Feldenkrais and Baniel principles along with techniques and tools accumulated throughout her 50 years in the field.

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Carla Oswald Reed

A physical therapist for 50 years, Carla Reed’s work with children who have brain injuries concentrates on “neuroplasticity,” the brain’s ability to learn throughout life.

For a more complete story of Kate’s treatment, click here.

 

 

 

The science behind her approach is called “neuroplasticity” or “brain plasticity,” the concept that connections in the brain are capable of change throughout a lifetime.

For children with brain damage, it’s a matter of tapping the potential of brain plasticity and putting it to work improving movement.

“I believe in using the brain’s natural capacity for learning to change how a child’s brain organizes habits of sensing, feeling, thinking, and acting,” Carla said. “It is a subtle approach that consistently produces more positive outcomes.”

She uses tools the same way she uses the clinical methods that she has learned, and an AlertSeat™ is part of her arsenal.

“How can I give a child the experience in gravity that he or she needs to stand up,” she said, referring to how she uses the AlertSeat. She referred to her work with Kate (not her real name) as an example of something that worked in the life of one little girl.

Born with multiple brain injuries, Kate was nine years old and had never stood up. Carla used an AlertSeat to help the child organize herself to make that happen; learning while sitting, to apply the concept of neuroplasticity.

“To sit on the AlertSeat, she had to sit erect, pelvis forward, spine straight, feet on the floor” Carla said. “Those things put her in a position to stand and she did.”


An AlertSeat™ helps Carla Reed’s patient learn to organize herself for the ultimate goalof standing, something that the nine-year-old has never done on her own.

“Every child is different,” Carla stressed, suggesting that the exact experiences that cued Kate to stand for the first time would not work for every child but variations on the theme could benefit many children with mild to moderate CP or other developmental challenges.

Explaining her approach, she said, “I have developed a process of carefully tailored interaction with a child using speech, touch, and movement to tap into the child’s brain, which stimulates easier movement and significant improvement in function in all areas of development.”

To learn more about Carla Reed and Movement to Wholeness, check out her website.

See how schools and practices like Movement to Wholeness throughout the country are using the AlertSeat™ and AlertDesk™ in regular and special education classrooms and in clinical settings, visit our website at www.alertseat.com and select Product Reviews and Articles.

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