in collaboration with Paola Ponti and Michela Turrini
Making Connections is an international project born in 2019 from an idea of Thomas Greil and Anka Sedlackova, and aimed at children/children, parents, educators and therapists with the belief that real change to take place must occur in the entire constellation of relationships around the person.
The project is therefore addressed not only to children and adults with special needs and psycho-physical fragility, but to all those who are involved in this experience, both as family members and as professionals, offering a space for mutual recognition of skills and the possibility of exchange and encounter between them. Making Connections is based on the principles of Body-Mind Centering® and other somatic approaches and is characterized by a gentle, non-intrusive approach to embrace the wholeness of the person and the process involving parents, family members and caregivers.
The objective of the Making Connections project is to create a space for sharing and meeting with families and collectives (associations, cooperatives, schools, etc.) that live the experience of disability of one of their members, to address a systemic look at the resources and skills already present in the context of life as well as the mode of interaction with the wider social environment, the perceived needs and the necessary mediations.
The emphasis placed on the sensory sphere and on the perceptive configuration – and not on pathological categorization – of the person, allows access to the uniqueness of body language, training the ability to read and listen to what is expressed in non-verbal communication.
The somatic approach has as a background the kinesthetic dimension, that is, it invites to cultivate the awareness of movement and orientation in the space of action, starting from the most basic daily gestures.
The process of neuromotor development in developmental age offers a general framework for reading movement coordination in relation to the environment and its stimuli: a living and constantly changing web of sensations, thoughts, emotions, images.
The pedagogical tools used – elementary exercises, guided sensory experiences, interaction games – draw on a variety of movement arts and somatic methods of which the practitioners are certified teachers. It is in this environment of dialogue that new possibilities for approach, gaze, and encounter in the caring relationship can be cultivated.
The project is developed around three programmatic axes:
- Individual sessions with children (with parents present)
- Individual sessions with parents
- A somatic education/BMC workshop
Individual sessions with children (45 min)
The first weeks and months of life create the foundation for later learning, for how we shape our perception and action in the world. If certain evolutionary milestones are not accomplished during this period, there is always the possibility of returning to it at another stage of life. The deep understanding of development makes our view sensitive to present and unexpressed potentials, rather than to problems. There is always something new to discover, regardless of ability or limitation, and beyond any conformity to a norm.
An individual session offers listening and support to the specific needs of children and their families. Through this approach, it is possible to find answers to the doubts and questions that may arise from the first months of life of the child, as well as during the course of growth, regarding the psychophysical, cognitive and emotional development. The therapist offers his experience to accompany the educational choices, support effective communication, recognize early signs of discomfort. He uses a systemic approach and includes in his reading and analysis also the needs of the family, building together with the parents a reading of the situation in which the child is involved, and without neglecting the details regarding the living environment and the relationships already established with other care providers.
Individual sessions for adults (1 hour)
There are specific situations in life that demand to be listened to and understood. We need to slow down, to become aware of ourselves, our feelings and emotions. In BMC we often say “support precedes movement”. In a one-on-one BMC session, we explore a particular issue together, often prompted by a structural or functional problem (it can be as much a limitation of movement as a feeling of tension or discomfort), to find out what’s behind it. Working with an educational touch, the practitioner intervenes to release tissue and bring more fluidity to certain areas of the body, and encourages integration of experience through movement and practice of specific exercises, repeatable at home. There is no set number of sessions, but a minimum of three meetings is recommended to get an idea of the work, and understand if it is in accordance with your needs.
Somatic education/BMC workshop (duration 3 hours or more)
The 3-hour workshop is a meeting to explore sensorimotor development from the somatic perspective of BMC. It is open to anyone who wishes to sharpen their awareness of body experience: parents with infants and toddlers who are beginning to take their first steps, children with disabilities or developmental disorders, expectant parents, people who work in the context of caring for or caring for a family member, and generally anyone who is passionate about movement research. In this workshop, we explore the crucial value of movement and tactility for development.