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What are Bonding and Relaxation Techniques?

By Treasure Ingels-Thompson
Updated May 17, 2024
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One of the simplest yet most innovative methods for helping parents bond with their special needs children is Bonding and Relaxation Techniques (BART). Addressing the child's need for parental interaction, Bonding and Relaxing Techniques uses gentle and loving touch to communicate security and self-worth to special needs children and adults.

Based on the parental education theories of Virnala McClure, the Bonding and Relaxation Techniques approach was developed by Evelyn Guyer. Guyer's innovations in infant massage techniques and therapy have long been renowned as beneficial to those with special needs. Some therapists believe that her attentive outreach through massage has created new possibilities for parents who once had few hopes of connecting with their deaf, blind, deafblind, or otherwise-disabled children.

Guyer's methodology may seem quite natural to loving parents. Trained therapy technicians teach medical assistants and parents to interact more successfully with the children they attend by stroking, touching, applying welcomed pressure, and communicating softly to create a comforting, secure zone for the child. As parents and paid professionals cuddle or comfort children who have limited communication abilities, the children feel safer and a bond is created or enhanced. Furthermore, the relaxation benefits are said to improve muscle tone, increase flexibility, and decrease cramping and pain associated with many disabilities.

For parents and other loved ones, the benefits of Bonding and Relaxation Techniques may be emotional. Disabilities often make it difficult for parents to connect with their special needs children. The techniques taught by Guyer and trained therapists across the nation help parents find new ways to communicate with children who may usually be unresponsive. Many parents find themselves hurt as they perceive their failed attempts at interaction as rejection. What Bonding and Relaxation Techniques professionals help parents understand is that gentle touch can be applied to help those special needs kids understand their parents intentions.

Bonding and Relaxation Techniques have helped many learn to cope with the heartache that they experience relating to their special needs children. Many feel enabled to deal with the sometimes demanding needs their children have. Demonstrating love and protection through soft strokes and gentle touch, these parents hope to improve the quality of their children's lives.

Some research suggests that they are doing the right thing. Special needs children and adults who receive massages in keeping with Bonding and Relaxation Techniques show improvement in their physical and emotional development. Disabled people who learn better methods of communication and perceive more love live better lives.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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