Joelle, an experienced Feldenkrais practitioner, does extraordinarily inspiring work with severely handicapped children in France. A brief workshop experience with Feldenkrais on Air convinced Joelle immediately that the air balloons would be very useful in her demanding and rewarding work. A year later I received the following little report from her:

“What is characteristic of these severely handicapped children – who are often also autistic and can’t be touched very easily – is the fact that their movement-patterns are stereotyped and very limited. As a result they don’t show much exploratory activity.

The first thing about using an air balloon when you are working with them is the possibility of getting whole-body contact. That gives the child a chance of really entering into relationship with something outside in the environment, something s/he can give her/his full weight to.

Secondly, you can play with the pressure and alter the direction of the pressure in the balloon, and suddenly the child gets involved. With all this mobility the child gets interested in the origin of the movement: “What am I doing?” and “What is the result?”

That is the beginning of a very powerful experience for the child; it starts making progress since reactions are much more pronounced.

The children in my practice love exploration with the air ball because this is so playful.

Working and playing with deaf-mute blind children