I Am the Child
by Cecilia Koester and Gail Dennison
Using Brain Gym with Children who have Special Needs
This book is the story of eleven children who have complex developmental needs.
Over a two year period, Koester journaled her experiences as a teacher in a public school classroom, drawing out the gifts of these children.
The result is this remarkable book which invites the reader into a unique world of the child who has multiple challenges. This book offers a simple, commonsense approach to the fulfilment of sensory and perceptual needs through the activities known as Brain Gym®. The author shares with us an authentic story of the human spirit––one filled with joy, frustration, compassion, and growth and the adaptations of the Brain Gym method that she used successfully to meet the needs of eleven children who have multiple challenges which include deafness, blindness, cerebral palsy, Angelman's Syndrome, mental retardation and autism.
Cecilia Koester, is internationally known for her work with children and adults who have special needs. She has worked since 1979 with children of all abilities––typically functioning, attention deficit/hyperactive, emotionally/behaviorally challenged, autistic, developmentally delayed, Downs Syndrome and severe handicaps. The remarkable and provocative book, I Am the Child: Using Brain Gym with Children Who have Special Needs, published in 1998, journaled Koester’s experiences over a two-year period as a teacher in a public school classroom, drawing out the gifts of eleven children who had complex developmental needs. This book is an inspirational book that offers the reader insights of the kinds of things that can be done with children who have severe physical challenges to improve their quality of life.
Since 1998, Koester has been teaching workshops throughout the United State, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Australia to teachers, counselors, occupational therapists, physical therapists and parents. These workshops have been based on Brain Gym® which is a program of 26 easy and enjoyable targeted activities/physical movements that enhance learning and performance in all areas. Through these years, Cecilia Koester has developed a movement-based learning curriculum that specifically addresses children and adults who have special needs. This curriculum specifically teaches adults how to work with any child/adult–– resistant, unable to walk or talk, a typically functioning child who is having difficulty focusing or reading or any adult who is challenged with daily life activities. The uniqueness of this Brain Gym® for Special Needs Providers grows from the methods and techniques that are offered in her workshops. These “new tools” empower and guide the adult into an awareness of how to assist all children and adults in their journey. Perhaps Cecilia’s greatest gift is being able to show you how/where she begins. Her grounded teaching style makes the information easy to assimilate––she teaches verbally and then demonstrates visually and physically how to use what has just been learned. Cecilia has taken the work of Brain Gym® and blossomed the information into working with children/adults of all abilities through providing a foundation of developmental building blocks.
“This Brain Gym® for Special Needs course gave me unique tools to use with the kids when the traditional P.T. stuff doesn’t do the job or help me help the kids reach their goals. Cece, you are the best instructor I’ve ever had for any type of class. Thank you.
- Cindy. Physical Therapist
Cecilia Koester has published another book, Movement Based Learning for Children of All Abilities. (Also available on this site). This practical book offers the developmental building blocks that Koester has gathered over the years to enhance the skills involved in the areas of comprehension, organization, physical mobility, the ability to focus or communicate. Somehow, by an exquisite synthesis of What Was and What Is and What Might Be, Cecilia creates a new form. This form is addressed in a clear and easy to implement style in this book.
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