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The Churkendoose Anthology - True Stories of Triumph over Neurological Dysfunction

by Commentary by Judith Bluestone; Edited by Lisa Brenner

listed in learning and development

[Image: The Churkendoose Anthology - True Stories of Triumph over Neurological Dysfunction]

This is one of the most remarkable, inspirational and worthy books I have ever read. I am, admittedly a non-expert in the fields of neurological and cognitive development and child psychology; however, from the numerous case histories told within this precious book, the majority of experts consulted prior to the HANDLE® approach didn't help the individuals progress in their development nor their daily lives.

Judith Bluestone, from what I have read in this anthology, is a highly talented, insightful and masterful educator, specialist regarding learning disabilities and neurodevelopmental practitioner. She has managed to overcome her own significant difficulties during her childhood, not to mention a near-fatal car accident, when her 5-year old son had to become her carer. She, through great determination, established the HANDLE® (Holistic Approach to NeuroDevelopment and Learning Efficiency) Institute, which is at the forefront, internationally, in dealing with severe neurological and development dysfunctions.

The stories told herein concern children and adults with a wide variety of neurological, developmental and behavioural disorders, including:• Attentional Disorders (ADD/ADHD);• Learning Disabilities;• Autism Spectrum Disorders;• Tourette's Syndrome;• Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviours;• Oppositional Defiance;• Behaviour Disorders;• Acquired Brain Injury;• Vestibular Dysfunction;• Dementia;• Anxiety Disorders;• Cerebral Palsy;• Down's Syndrome;• Dyspraxia;• Sleep Disorders;• CHARGE Syndrome

Some of these individuals, now adults, have told their own stories; others are related by parents, loved ones or professionals involved in their care.

We are referring to individuals who couldn't speak, hold a pencil, write, balance/walk keep upright, children who would scream incessantly, not pay attention for more than an instant, who were so sensitive to touch, light or sound, that they would rip off socks with inner seams, couldn't tolerate light or were extremely sensitive to sound.

Certain of these individuals had been born with serious problems such as cerebral palsy, profound deafness or CHARGE syndrome (a constellation of disorders affecting many body systems).

Other had problems which didn't appear until later in infancy or childhood. Some of the most heart rending stories were told by adults, who, until their perceptual or vestibular or proprioception or muscular weaknesses were detected at a later stage and ultimately corrected by the HANDLE® approach, lived lives where they couldn't fit in or progress, and felt that they were from a different planet from everybody else.

In fact, the origin of the title of this book The Churkendoose Anthology, is a children's book the Churkendoose Part Chicken, Turkey, Duck and Goose, originally published by Wonder Books in 1946 and then made into a recording called the Story of the Churkendoose (Decca Records), featuring Ray Bolger. The Churkendoose in the story is an animal in the barnyard like no other. Other animals can't identify with him and are threatened by his behaviour actions. Just like the Churkendoose in the story, Judith Bluestone and many other children and individuals she has helped, have felt that they couldn't fit in. As she eloquently states in her introduction: "What are you, anyway?… This question tormented me as I was growing up, as my parents took me from doctor to doctor, from therapist to therapist, trying to find out why I was so small, so sickly, so delayed in my speech, so uncoordinated, so standoffish, so temperamental, so compulsive, so defiant, so peculiar in aspects of my appearance, and so brilliant – all the while looking for ways to help me gain the health and the basic skills necessary to be a truly functional member of society."

As with so many behavioural disorders today, the conventional medical approach is to reach for drugs – Ritalin and others, which may suppress or mask symptoms, but don't treat the root cause of the problem.

One of the genius elements of the HANDLE® approach is the evaluation, which, as relayed over and over again in this book, is often a complete revelation for parents and carers of these people with dysfunctions. Many of the problems – lack of balance, failure to read, write, hold a pencil, remain upright, are due to weaknesses or failures with the eyes, vestibular system, proprioception, or the inability of the right and left hemispheres of the brain to work together. Once the root cause of the dysfunctions are recognized, in itself a major achievement in view of the failure of the majority of other professionals to so do with these people, Judith Bluestone and colleagues have developed a series of exercises to be performed at home for no more than 30 minutes per day. These exercises are simple to perform, yet ingenious in their ability to enable profound improvement within an incredibly short period of time, sometimes within days, weeks and months. These exercises include:

• Sucking on a crazy straw. This stimulates the two cerebral hemispheres in a co-ordinated rhythmic fashion, enhancing their integration. This enhances language, stimulates cranial nerves, trigeminal and facial nerves which stimulates structure in the middle ear. This also strengthens all the sphincters throughout the body, including the iris, bowel and bladder;• Face Tapping. This awakens, organizes, integrates and relaxes the trigeminal nerve, which may alleviate headaches, integrate facial and general tactile sensation, reduction of TMJ pain, support for speech production, relief of facial tics and paralysis and produce a sense of calmness;• Hug and Tug. This enhances interhemispheric integration and articulation, and is also useful in promoting differentiation of the fingers and from one hand to the other. This strengthens muscle tone of the fingers, stimulates reflex points for the sinuses, jaw and mouth, integrates tactile sensations in the hands, enhances proprioceptive input and may help to calm and focus the individual.

This book had been sitting unread upon one of Positive Health's bookshelves for more than a year, when I found it again. In my subsequent communications, Judith Bluestone, has advised that the HANDLE® approach can help with stroke and Meunière's Syndrome. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in complex neurological and behavioural dysfunctions.

Sandra Goodman PhD
Published by The Handle® Institute.
ISBN 0-9720235-0-X

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