As a parent of a 21-year-old child with autism, I have lost quite a bit of steam in my pursuit to “better” my son. These days, I do not jump at every new “breakthrough” or activity deemed suitable for people like my son.

Through the years, I am very much aware that many of the therapies and approaches are very parent-centred so, unless you have oodles of money where you could hire therapists and carers to manage and implement the methodologies, you will be one very tired parent.

Recently, I attended  a workshop called “P.L.A.Y to Breakthrough” developed by Phoebe Long, co-founder of Breakthru Enrichment Centre, an educational centre for children and teenagers with special needs or those who learn differently.  The core techniques used in the centre are grounded in kinesiology, a method using muscle feedback and body awareness to reduce stress and bring about improvements in behaviour and promote health and well-being.

Phoebe Long

Phoebe Long

Phoebe works with children and teenagers with special needs using techniques under the kinesiology umbrella, ranging from Brain Gym, Rhythmic Movement Training, Touch for Health to the use of Essential Oils. She also trains people from various walks of life in the techniques.

In 2014, while working with a particular teenager, she had her own “breakthrough” moment and went on to develop this P.L.A.Y TO Breakthrough strategy where the family comes on board and is guided to facilitate the individual with special needs.

The strategy looks simple enough and P.L.A.Y is an acronym for Presence, Plan, Progress; Listen, Language, Lead; Acknowledge, Appreciate, Aspire; and Yeah,Yeah,Yeah  (i.e. celebrate) but sometimes the most simple of things are most thought provoking and impactful.

As jaded as I was, the workshop jogged my subconscious and heightened my awareness about certain episodes in my son’s life and how I had handled them. They made me feel guilty but a good kind, if there was such a thing because when you know you could fix it.

A parent perusing a learning pyramid.

A parent perusing a learning pyramid.

The workshop reminded parents to observe and learn from their children and, that words spoken with care and love can help to solve conflicts and that being available can make a lot of difference to the child with special needs or any child for that matter.  A motto from Phoebe Long is “to hold on long enough”.

Parents were shown how Brain Gym movements and Rhythmic Movement Training (RMT) movements can help to relax a child, improve focus and attention, and also to enhance coordination in a non-invasive and natural way. The workshop was practical and the experiential teaching style made it easy to remember and understand. Parents, in experiencing the movements would also know exactly how the movements supported their children.

For more information on P.L.A.Y to Breakthrough, you can go to breakthrough.academy  or call 03-41497977.

The workshop echoes the words of Chinese philosopher,  Lao Tzu: “I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion.These three are your greatest treasures”.



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