Special Needs

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Kristin 1 month ago.

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  • #12639

    creativemarmee
    Participant

    Hi
    I’m trying to find more information on how to approach parenting/education when a child has additional challenges. I’m particularly interested in adaptations for children who have physical limitations yet are extremely intelligent and how that might fit with Waldorf ideas about development. Is anything like this featured in the new version of Joyful Movement?

    #12645

    Donna Simmons
    Keymaster

    The new Joyful Movement book is definitely a help–and I have a free recording on Therapeutic Waldorf which also might help (scroll down to find it):
    https://www.christopherushomeschool.com/product-category/audio-downloads/free-recordings/

    #12647

    creativemarmee
    Participant

    Thank you, Donna. I listened to the Therapeutic Waldorf recording last night and agreed with much of what you discussed in terms of rhythms etc with autism – it certainly mirrored my own experiences.
    I’m still feeling quite stuck with the effects of physical disability and how living with pain has “woken” my son earlier than ideal. With less opportunity for movement he’s much more in his head.
    I’m hoping to dig a little deeper into how to move forward when things can’t be corrected.

    #12652

    Donna Simmons
    Keymaster

    I wonder about your phrase ‘when things can’t be corrected’–obviously, to a large degree, we all go through life with challenges and burdens. For some people this is more dramatic and is called a ‘disability’. But healing is always possible. Life means to be in a dynamic state of change–and healing, which sometimes is not obvious, is a part of that.
    One of the most amazing examples of this took place in the household I was in charge of when we lived in a Camphill community in the UK (near Ringwood) (Camphills are curative communities where people of different abilities live and work together). I had a man in my house who, at 25 years of age, learned to write his name! Wow–what an amazing thing for him, for the other residents and for carers like me. No one had ever thought he would be able to do this–he was thrilled!
    So if your boy is on the spectrum there might be things that are with him all his life…but I have seen too many children on the spectrum change enormously over time. There seems to be a nodal point at 9 and then again in the early teens. This seems to be when some children first exhibit signs of a disorder such as Aspergers or autism–but also when some who are on the spectrum change significantly.
    To me this is not surprising–these disorders have primarily to do with the incarnation of the child’s ‘I’–and at 9 and in the tens there are important changes that happen in the human ‘I’.
    A lot of this then has to do with I/Thou relationships.
    Have you read about the 12 senses?

    #12653

    creativemarmee
    Participant

    Of course, progress can be made even in the smallest ways and we shouldn’t give up on that.
    I don’t have any questions in regards to autism, I feel really confident in that area. However, my youngest was born with more physical challenges too and I guess I’m trying to get at how to approach the early years for a child with physical limitations – if lots of time spent in the woods etc. (something that was very beneficial with my eldest) isn’t possible.. if they’re already very much in their heads rather than dreamlike state because of pain/medical intervention.. if we can’t or haven’t done things perfectly – is there a special needs guide or anything written about how is best to move forward? You discussed further works on this in the therapeutic waldorf audio but I couldn’t find anything. I couldn’t find the 12 senses dvd available anywhere.

    #12658

    Kristin
    Participant

    Hi Creativemar mee, I hope can offer some useful wisdom to you. I am the mother of 5 children, one of which has physical disabilities. He is not autistic but does have sever cerebral palsy as well as many other physical limitations. He has dealt with a lot of pain and medical intervention as well, but I never thought about it as “waking him up too soon”. That’s an interesting perspective and I’d love to hear more on why you think that has happened…

    As for my family, my guy has been through a lot, and I always saw him as a “younger” child, as opposed to being woke. But as I learned more, I realized he’s neither. While what we see on the outside is true, what’s on the inside is also true and it doesn’t change child to child. Development is the same for all humans. It of course has it’s variables, but generally speaking, your child will develop the same spiritually as every other person 🙂 My advice is to stop thinking about fixing the damage done (because as the loving mother you’ve been there hasn’t been any damage) and just go forward with new knowledge. Read lots of stories that are developmentally appropriate for his age, no matter what you think about the content. Go with tried and true Waldorf suggestions for each age and read, read and read again. Then do what you can from there. For example, my son can’t hold crayons to do artwork but he is very aware that art is being created around him. He can’t hold any toys but he can hold a silk. He can’t walk through the woods or climb a tree but he can be pushed in his chair and smell the sap and so on and so on. Find the things he can do! Joyful movement is a great book and could likely give you a lot of great ideas an just a deeper knowledge.

    I realized I said he throughout my post but I don’t think you mentioned if your child was a boy or girl, so I’ll just keep it that way and you can interpret however necessary!

    #12662

    creativemarmee
    Participant

    Thank you for taking the time to reply.
    It’s interesting that the two sets of wording questioned on this thread are language I picked up from Donna’s work/audios. Perhaps I have interpreted it incorrectly.

    It’s not really about trying to fix damage so much as wanting to do things well.

    I was hoping to find pointers to a guide or a book or something that would more specifically address additional needs because much of what I see written online is vague, abstract ideas without the practical guidance that I find so useful in other Christopherus books.

    #12677

    Kristin
    Participant

    Maybe you could reference which audios/work your referring to and I could take a listen as well and give my input so we can get on the same page?

    But, I think what your looking for might not exist because the special needs of every person are so different and to write a guidebook or curriculum that would specifically address the issues each family is dealing with would be impossible. I’m not saying there isn’t anything available that deals with physical special needs and Waldorf education, I just don’t know of any. And like I said in my previous post and in my personal opinion, it’s not necessary. I believe that’s why so many Waldorf curricula are vague and open ended in order to allow for the parent/teacher to adjust the material to the child in front of them. In the original Waldorf schools, the teachers only received 3 weeks (?) I think, of training, before being sent directly to the children. Waldorf education/Anthroposophy is really just a list of guidelines that help ensure proper human development, and from that we take what we need to make it our own. I know sometimes this kind of answer doesn’t feel like enough and can leave us frustrated and looking for something different. I know! Sometimes I wish I could just pick up an exact outline of everything I should be doing with references and indexes to certain behaviors or special needs! But, let’s remember why we were drawn to this lifestyle and then re evaluate whether or not it’s for us. If it still feels like a calling, you CAN make it work. If not, then of course do what’s best for your family. 🙂

    #12678

    Donna Simmons
    Keymaster

    There are books by Steiner like this (I am linking to a UK source)https://www.rudolfsteinerpress.com/viewbook.php?isbn_in=9781855844094 but unless you are very conversant with anthroposophy you might find it both frustrating and mystifying…and more than a little weird.
    I would recommend this…but it’s out of print so you’ll have to search
    https://www.florisbooks.co.uk/book/Walter-Holtzapfel/Children+with+a+Difference/9780906155486

    And then there’s Working with Anxious, Nervous and Depressed Children: A Spiritual Perspective to Guide Parents by Henning Kohler. Don’t let the awful title put you off–it’s actually really good

    Not very helpful I’m afraid.

    Ah….12 senses…I have a lot about that in various syllabuses…but you could get this https://www.florisbooks.co.uk/searchresults.php?keywords=willi+aeppli

    WHAT!!! It’s also out of print–I just re-translated that book only a few years ago! It’s probabaly the best book available on the 12 senses.

    #12679

    creativemarmee
    Participant

    Thank you, both. You’ve been very helpful.

    #12680

    Kristin
    Participant

    Thanks, Donna for the book recommendations!

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