Today’s guest author is Meagan Baldwin.
Meg is a Bal-A-Vis-X practitioner/trainer, a fierce advocate for her child with a disability, and an educator with 26 years of experience as a public educator in general and special education. She currently facilitates the Reset and Return space, a safe space for students and staff to ready themselves to learn and teach at an urban elementary school in Wichita, Kansas. She also supports teachers with both trauma-informed and restorative practices/ In her private Bal-A-Vis-X studio, she teaches Bal-A-Vis-X exercises to both children and adults with varying degrees of both social and cognitive challenges.
Balance Auditory Vision Exercises is a series of about 300 exercises created by Bill Hubert, a long-time American educator, that are deeply rooted in rhythm and based on precise physical techniques that anyone can learn and implement with their students and clients immediately.
It was very early in the school year, and I was beginning to know and build relationships with my small group of 5th-grade special education students. Caleb arrived to class each day with his quiet, reserved demeanor, always ready to please, but participation in academics had always been difficult. He struggled to read, and verbal communication was difficult as the right words didn’t come to him quickly. Caleb didn’t become outwardly frustrated when academics got difficult; he would go with the flow and deal with what came next the best he could.
A few days into the new school year, I introduced BAVX to Caleb’s small group, and he became curious. He intently watched the exercise demonstration intently and then quickly performed the exercise as modeled. Caleb has a keen eye for figuring out what to look at when learning a new exercise. Over time, Caleb became confident and proficient in performing the exercises and teaching them to his classmates.
On a warm spring day, Caleb came to class with a flier printed on goldenrod paper. He smiled from ear to ear when he handed it to me and said, “There’s going to be a talent show….and we’ve got a talent.” I instantly knew what he meant. Caleb took the lead and signed us up as a group act for the annual end-of-the-school-year talent show. For the next few weeks, Caleb led his classmates and me through a series of individual, partner, and group exercises.
On the last day of school, Caleb led a group of his classmates to a standing ovation in a hot, humid school gym. The other students and staff watched with curiosity and awe as the rhythm of the sandbags morphed into the slow, steady beat of the racquetballs. I was merely a cheerleader that day. After the performance, Caleb’s mother caught me in the hallway and, with tears in her eyes, told me that Bal-A-Vis-X had changed Caleb from an “I can’t kid into an I can kid.” That’s all I needed to know to realize that this program is about more than tossing sandbags and bouncing racquetballs.
Bal-A-Vis-X is School and Classroom Friendly
Running, walking, swimming, and biking all provide rhythmic, repetitive movement. Bal-A-Vis-X is an intentional form of patterned, repetitive, rhythmic movement that is based on precise physical techniques that anyone can learn. The BAVX exercises can be implemented in individual, small-group, and large-group configurations. The exercises become increasingly more challenging in small incremental steps.
Bal-A-Vis-X Supports Trauma Informed Care
By providing a safe, rhythmic, predictable, relational sensory experience. The exercises incrementally become more challenging, allowing the participants to experience predictable, moderate, and controllable amounts of stress, which leads to resilience.
Bal-A-Vis-X supports Social Emotional Learning
Social Emotional Learning in schools is often limited to a series of lessons included in a curriculum. These lessons are valuable and much needed. #BalAVisX provides a platform for students to physically practice the social-emotional competencies that have been identified by CASEL. The competencies include self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, relationship skills, and social awareness.
Bal-A-Vis-X Supports Executive Function Skills
According to the Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University, executive function and self-regulation skills depend on three types of brain function: working memory, mental flexibility, and self-control. Learners who demonstrate competency in these skills are often more ready to learn, leading to higher academic achievement. The exercises in the Bal-A-Vis-X program require students to physically practice these skills with a partner, small group, and large group configurations.
If you are interested in learning more about Bal-A-Vis-X, you can visit Meg’s website at www.heartlandbavx.com or Join her Facebook Group Heartland BAVX LLC. or find her on Twitter @mbheartlanbavx, or email her at MLBaldwin74@gmail.com