Upcoming Classes

HANDLE Level 1 with Nancy Dill Miller in Pennsylvania, November 11, 2017

"The body tells you so much when you know how to read it—the things it avoids doing, the things it seeks, the ways it moves. It gives you a mirror to what's going on in the brain."
Judith Bluestone

About HANDLE

HANDLE stands for Holistic Approach to NeuroDevelopment and Learning Efficiency. It addresses the underlying causes of a wide range of neurodevelopmental disorders, learning disabilities and functional disorders. HANDLE offers the tools for clients and caregivers to interact in a non-invasive, gentle, respectful and nonjudgmental way. It is a very effective, systemic approach that does not use drugs, and helps discover the client’s abilities.

The HANDLE paradigm was developed by Judith Bluestone in more than forty years of working with children and adults with neurodevelopmental differences. HANDLE incorporates research and techniques from a variety of other methods and disciplines, including neurology, rehabilitation, psychology, education, traditional medicine, and nutrition.

How does it work?

Our behavior has reasons and has a purpose. Often addressing our safety and protection, such as dealing with hypersensitivities, or maintaining our self-esteem, have higher priority than the task at hand (homework, grooming, eating soup, sitting still). The body conveys its needs, strengths and weaknesses through behavior and movement. It is my job as a HANDLE practitioner to read these clues and interpret the reasons underlying the observed behaviors. I then create a comprehensive neurodevelopmental profile of the client, and devise an individualized program of therapeutic activities. The purpose of these activities, which usually become a home-based program of 15-30 minutes a day, is to support those underlying neurological systems that need organization. The therapeutic activities are movement based, and often may seem simple. Their goal, however, is to address problems at their roots, rather than just providing compensatory techniques or short-term solutions.

The concept of Gentle Enhancement (R) is foundational to HANDLE. As we understand it, stressed systems do not get stronger; instead, they shut down. I therefore instruct the client or caregiver to practice the activities gently and stop as soon as – or before – the client exhibits even a hint of stress.

 

Judith Bluestone, 1944 – 2009

Born in Chicago in 1944, Judith Bluestone suffered from brain damage, cranial abnormalities, seizures and sensory hypersensitivities, probably as a result of exposure to toxins in utero and as an infant. She struggled to articulate, and could only eat pureed food. She required eleven surgeries to repair the bones and nerves in her face, and surgery to recover her hearing which she had lost at age eight.

Her early years determined her life’s work, over four decades working with people with learning disabilities and neurological impairments. She founded the HANDLE Institute in Seattle, Washington (now in Marin County, California) in order to train others in the practice she had developed.

My mission is to move hundreds and thousands from dysfunction to function, from despair to hope.
Judith Bluestone

Judith was one of five Washington state winners of the Jefferson Awards. The award recognizes ordinary people who do extraordinary things in their communities. She also won the 2004 Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for public service for her work helping others. This award is considered the “Nobel Prize” of volunteering.

There are ways that we can get into our minds, brains, sensory areas. No matter how old we are, no matter how scarred we are, no matter how many deformities and problems we've had, we can get in and make little adjustments that will make us functional and keep us going.” 
Judith Bluestone

More about how HANDLE “helps extraordinary people do ordinary things” can be found on the HANDLE Institute’s website, www.handle.org.

"I like it because basically everything I do counts."
Z., HANDLE By the Bay Client, age 9