Marcia Washington, OTR/L, has been practicing pediatric occupational therapy for 20 years. In 2009, in her hometown of Pontotoc, MS, she launched KidSense, a clinic that specializes in pediatric therapy, includes a sensory motor gym, and serves clients from over a 70 mile radius.
Marcia and her husband, David, have 2 biological daughters, Mattie – 14 and Ella – 10. In 2014, they adopted a 2 year old boy from Poland. Marcia helped Gehrig improve his language and overall motor skills using Rhythmic Movement, Integrated Listening, NeuroNet Learning program and the Alert Program “How Does Your Engine Run.” Yet core strength, posture control and unintegrated reflexes persisted to the point of causing inattentive/impulsive behavior in preschool.
That’s when she started to use Move With Me Yoga Adventure DVDs and flash cards daily. She was so impressed with the results that she wrote us a thank you note. We were so touched that we invited her to speak about her experience so we could share it with all of you.
Explore the Value of Play with Expert Dr. Larry Cohen
Play is often called the language of children. It is through play that children naturally relate to and learn about the world. Dr. Joseph C. Pearce, author of Magic Child and Evolution’s End, described play as “nature’s biological plan for learning.”
Why is playfulness such a powerful quality? I believe, per the work of Fred Donaldson, founder of Original Play, that because free play is non- competitive and without winning/losing, right/wrong, it is an innate way of connecting, growing, processing, and generating love and joy.
In addition to lighting up the whole child for optimal development and learning, play is essential for addressing and healing the mental and emotional issues of children.
Who is Dr. Larry Cohen?
This week, Leah interviews Lawrence J. Cohen, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist specializing in children’s play and play therapy. In addition to his private practice, Larry Cohen is a speaker, consultant, teacher, and author. He is well known for his books, PLAYFUL PARENTING and THE OPPOSITE OF WORRY. Together with Anthony DeBenedet, he co-authored The Art of Roughhousing. He is also a co-author of Best Friends, Worst Enemies, and Mom, They’re Teasing Me.
His books are about using play to nurture close connections, solve behavior problems, and grow children’s confidence.
Dr. Cohen attended Haverford College and received his doctorate in clinical psychology from Duke University. After an internship at Tulane University, he began a research and private practice career in Madison, Wisconsin. His treatment innovations have included the first groups in the country for husbands and boyfriends of sexual abuse survivors. Dr. Cohen also started one of the first therapy groups for male survivors of sexual abuse. All of his work — with children, parents, couples, abuse survivors, and families — make him a true expert in the universal language of playfulness for cultivating loving human connections.
In this informative interview with Leah, Vanessa shares about her work with children with special needs and how the MwM cards and video classes have supported kids become more confident and self-regulating.
Vanessa Kahlon has been working with children with developmental and learning challenges for over fifteen years. With her extensive training in DIR-Floortime, Sensory Integration Disorder, Early Childhood Mental Health, and Trauma, Vanessa directs and supervises in-home Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) programs for children on the Autism spectrum and facilitates social skills programs using Yoga & Self-Regulation in both school and community settings.
A yoga & movement advocate, Vanessa developed YEAS: Yoga Education for Autism Spectrum, a national program in which she trains other professionals to use yoga in their work with autistic children. She is a sought after lecturer and teacher in behavioral modification for teachers, parents, and other educators. Recently, she was awarded Women of the Year 2014/2015 by the National Association of Professional Women.
Vanessa holds a degree in Clinical Psychology, is a registered Yoga instructor, and serves on the Board of Special Place Foundation, a residential-vocational community seeking self-sufficiency for adults with disabilities. Passionate about keeping families together, communicative, healthy, and happy, Vanessa’s approach is professional and relationship-based, always including purposeful challenges that stretch them beyond their current capacity.
When we launched Move with Me Yoga Adventures 3 years ago, our first official customer feedback came from Mike Russo, Early Childhood Center Director, Davis-Munson Air Force Base. He wrote:
The MwM Yoga Adventure Programs are so much more than kids exercise DVDs. They are a terrific enhancement to our curriculum by truly supporting all developmental tasks and standards. We use them for PE and motor skills, early literacy and creative thinking, direction following and concentration as well as social-emotional learning and impulse control. Teachers are also using the “Adventure Skills” throughout the day. Now, kids are not just controlling their impulses, they are learning how to redirect their thoughts and choices in a positive way, which really shifts and empowers them.
His words burst my heart. I was so happy that in new hands, the resources were working as planned. Since then, though we’ve had lots of enthusiastic and appreciative feedback, fulfilling our mission to increase the quantity and quality of movement, play, and embodied self-regulation skill building in classrooms has been slow. Physical and social-emotional activities still seem to take a back seat to standard academic ones, though brain, development, and education research tells us to flip that priority, especially in early childhood.
The good news is that I am feeling the tide turning. Recently, the Education & Mental Health Director of a Head Start Association in PA told me that her team is seeing more and more attentional, behavioral, and learning issues. They know they need to support the children they serve with more movement and mindfulness and are ordering curriculum for all 23 centers. Another OT supervisor in VT has all 5 schools in the district onboard to implement use of the yoga/movement story video classes, health & self-regulation skills, and mindfulness games and activities. I was even interviewed for a Mindful Class Management Tele-Summit!
To inspire and support more of you in turning the tide in your classroom, we are including the interview here and offering a special bulk discount on summer orders.
Be a healthier, more active and mindful classroom this fall. Help your students BE BETTER AT EVERYTHING!
In this video, Leah Kalish interviews Brad Chapin of SelfRegulationStation.com
Brad Chapin is a Masters Level Psychologist with a passion for helping others learn the skills necessary for success and happiness. He is a Best-Selling author and Nationally Recognized Speaker in the area of Self-Regulation.
Brad created the Self-Regulation Training System from a practical, research-based foundation. His strategies have helped thousands of people develop real-world skills for success and happiness. Self-Regulation is directly related to success in academic/job performance, relationships, and overall wellness.
Become a Movement & Mindfulness Curriculum Teacher!
“Your training always took us back to self-regulation and coherence in ourselves, which enabled me to feel both personally inspired and professionally confident to share the Movement & Mindfulness Curriculum program with children!"-Erin McFarland, Teacher, CA