HANDLE® combines an understanding of the nervous system and the interplay between mind, body and environment to help the brain systematically change itself. It’s designed to enhance neurological systems that are contributing to learning or life difficulties gently and without judgement. HANDLE® gets to the root of what some might consider problematic behaviors by listening and observing. Once the client is clearly understood, a home-based program is designed to meet the unique needs of the individual and is monitored over several months.
During a HANDLE evaluation the provider collects information by moving the client through a series of tasks while carefully observing what is needed to accomplish them. In some cases there may be a less structured, more interactive model of play and interaction. Extensive history is obtained through a written questionnaire and interview.
During the Presentation of findings the client is given information about what the provider learned that might explain why some things are more challenging for him/her. The client is led through a customized set of simple activities to do at home that take from ten to thirty minutes a day.
The activities provide organized, repetitive, rhythmic movement and/or input to the brain and body that change the way they function.
The client/family learns that symptoms and behaviors are the body’s way of communicating stress and overload.
The client/family gain insight into how to recognize and reduce or prevent stress and overload.
Providers will include other recommendations as part of their programs. These may be for complementary approaches that specialize in areas beyond what HANDLE can address, nutritional and environmental suggestions or support for parenting or care giving.
Judith Bluestone, From Adversity to Founding a Worldwide Institute
Judith Bluestone was a remarkable woman, born with numerous neurological challenges and structural irregularities as well as injuries that left her paralyzed and in a wheelchair for two years. She had nearly unintelligible speech as a child, became profoundly deaf at age 8, suffered from clonic/tonic seizures, had groundbreaking reconstructive facial surgery, experienced repeated encephalitis and meningitis, once leading to loss of speech, and other differences for which she was teased as a child and worked all her life to overcome.
Despite all of this and more, Judith triumphed over her differences, finding ways that helped her make it through her early years. She instinctively protected herself in her areas of greatest vulnerability, guarding her sensitive systems while using her strengths and talents to successfully make it through school and into graduate work. Among her extensive studies were neuroscience, neuropsychology, neurorehabilitation, human development, visual processing, sensory-motor integration, education, counseling and more. Not stopping there, she studied as many alternate approaches as she could, all the while striving to understand from the outside in what she had learned and experienced from the inside out.
During her years Judith was given numerous labels in an attempt to define her: epilepsy, autism, ADHD, PDD-NOS, OCD, ODD, paralyzed, traumatic brain injury, synaesthesia and more! She would simply claim, “I’m just me!”
Judith spent eleven years in a kibbutz in Israel, developing her ideas into a functional program that continued after she left, winning the 1989 National Prize for Early Childhood Education for the State of Israel.
Encouraged to share what she had learned and developed, Judith founded The HANDLE Institute in 1994, now present in 31 countries and growing. Since that time research and studies have been conducted to demonstrate some remarkable outcomes for which Judith received numerous awards and recognition. link
Judith Bluestone passed away unexpectedly in February of 2009.
Read more about Judith’s remarkable story in The Fabric of Autism, Weaving the Threads Into a Cogent Theory by Judith Bluestone.