What is HANDLE®?
HANDLE is an acronym that stands for Holistic Approach to NeuroDevelopment and Learning Efficiency. It was founded in 1994 by the late Judith Bluestone who had multiple neurodevelopmental differences that challenged her throughout life. It was these challenges that lead her to study education, counselling, human development, visual processing, neuropsychology, sensory-motor integration and more. From these and multiple disciplines she built The HANDLE Institute.
Watch the 10 minute video of a Breakfast Television (Nova Scotia) interview. Cathy Stingley and the Father of a boy on the autism spectrum talk about HANDLE, the boy's HANDLE program and the Father's thoughts about HANDLE from a physician's perspective.
“In her presentations Judith Bluestone combines an insightful background in neurophysiology with practical activities for children and adults with a spectrum of learning and neurological challenges. HANDLE ingeniously addresses the underlying causes of these challenges. I fully support HANDLE’s path to healing through gentle enhancement; it complements Waldorf special education in a wonderful way.”
Ingun Schneider, RPT, Director of Remedial Education
Rudolf Steiner College, Fair Oaks, CA
HANDLE is an effective, non-drug alternative for identifying and treating most neurodevelopmental disorders across the lifespan. It incorporates research and techniques from many disciplines. It includes principles and perspectives from medicine, rehabilitation, psychology, education and nutrition. It is founded on an interactive, developmental model of human functioning.
HANDLE acknowledges labels and diagnoses as a form of shorthand to describe clusters of symptomatic behaviors. The HANDLE approach goes beyond labels, to the root cause of the disordered behaviors and offers families methods to promote efficient neurological functioning and learning through a gentle, home-based program of activities.
H. Salazar, parent
"My 10 year old son was diagnosed with ADHD. His performance in school was getting worse each year. He could not keep up with the class. By far the most alarming problem was he could not seem to get in gear. I would watch as the class was given an assignment or taught a lesson. All the kids would get out their materials and follow along. My son would fumble around, confused and scattered. I reached out to HANDLE like a lifeline. We did not want to regulate him with drugs. We wanted to fix the problems. Well, that was last year. We started the HANDLE activites before the school year began. I just received his report card. He had straight As and Bs and made the honor roll."
HANDLE treatment programs are based on the understanding that stressed systems shut down. Therefore the home-based program is set to the philosophy of Gentle Enhancement®, that "Less is More, Slower is Faster". An individualized program should take between 20 and 40 minutes per day with the activities done all at once or spread out over the day.
Beth Nehus, Elementary Teacher
"I am just amazed that I have been in education for so many years and am just becoming aware of this information."
HANDLE was the subject of a study done with brain injured adults. The July 2006 issue of the Journal of Neuroimaging published the exciting results of the study affirming HANDLE therapy's effectiveness in the treatment of patients with chronic traumatic brain injuries (TBI) (just one of many issues addressed by HANDLE). The study, conducted at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Washington, suggested that HANDLE’s non-drug, non-invasive programs improved brain activation from hindbrain to forebrain. SPECT imagery confirmed the changes both at rest and activation (with the subjects performing a HANDLE activity called the Crossed-Arm-Bounce). The five HANDLE clients, between 4 and 23 years post-injury, all reported improved vision, and four of the five reported improved hearing, attention, problem solving skills, and self-awareness, as well as enhanced energy. Three of the five said their pain decreased.
Kate, a brain injured client
“My visual distress is much improved. I can go into stores and classrooms with fluorescent lights without seizure effects. My noise sensitivity and sensory overload are also improving. My emotional equilibrium is better as I get enough rest now and my overall stamina has improved. My balance has improved and the HANDLE vestibular activities feel more comfortable and easier. I am convinced that the worst is over for me. It feels good to be stronger and productive again.”
She works in her Thoughtful Therapies clinic in Homer, Alaska and as the European Regional Education Director she travels to Europe twice a year. She also serves of the Board of Directors of The HANDLE Institute.