Special Educational Needs
Working with young people with a diagnosis of autism & their families
I have practised as an integrative holistic therapist and movement specialist for over 20 years in schools, therapy centres and special needs establishments. My background includes anatomy and physiology training, neuroscience, psychoeducation and biomechanics.
I am passionate about offering my expertise and experience to add value and additional support and leaning to the amazing work that special needs establishments do on a daily basis.
What I offer is unique, as I have developed my teaching (whether it be with children/teens or with adults) in a way that incorporates many skills and trainings to form my own distinct style that is flexible and constantly being adapted in consultation with my client’s needs. My sessions therefore, will be completely tailored on a moment’s basis to best support each individual and their specific needs.
"The way Francesca engages with [my child]
and focuses her mind is incredible."
"Francesca’s teaching alongside her calm and nurturing personality has enabled me to move away from an almost constantly anxious state. She has given me somewhere to release pent up feelings and emotions which isn’t easy at home with two young children, one of whom has ASD. There can be so many challenges raising a child with additional needs - not just coping with the child but navigating the system. Francesca and somatic movement are a permanent part of my coping toolkit. " Zoe Brookes
How I can help you, your family, & your school
Somatic Education is similar to Physiotherapy as this is a muscular re-education programme that works directly on the brain to muscle link, and serves to relieve muscular tension and trauma in the body (children and parents with learning challenges can offer suffer high levels of anxiety). This practice helps to regulate the nervous system by offering a simple way that can empower those who suffer with anxiety, digestive issues and sleep problems.
Hanna Somatic Education is a safe, gentle and common-sense approach to reverse chronic pain. It is the only method of pain relief and sensory motor training that targets the condition of Sensory Motor Amnesia (SMA).
SMA is the condition of chronically-tight muscles that have learned to stay contracted due to repeated and reflexive response to stress such as accidents, injuries, surgeries, repetitive tasks, and on-going emotional stress. The resulting patterns of muscular contraction that develop result in such common conditions as chronic back pain, neck, shoulder and hip pain, limited mobility, joint pain, poor posture, shallow breathing, and uneven leg length.
Hanna Somatic education particularly helps relieve pain and disability associated with common health complaints such as: headaches, stiff or painful joints and muscles, fatigue, poor posture, breathing problems, impaired movement, accident trauma and whiplash effects, back pain, repetitive use/stress injuries.
As a trauma-informed practitioner, I am able to:
Relate to children in ways that alleviate their suffering, support their learning and make them feel cared for and appreciated
Know how to respond to children who are in distress/ stress states in ways that help them to emotionally regulate, feel psychologically safe and develop the capacity to handle stress well over time
Relate with children in ways that enhance their self-esteem, confidence and feelings of psychological safety
Know how to listen and empathise when children want to talk about painful issues and help them reflect and resolve
Develop an in-depth understanding of what it’s like for a child or teenager to live with a specific mental health issue, and feel comfortable in offering them accurate empathy, understanding and key psycho-education.
Develop an in-depth understanding of the long-term impact of specific adverse childhood experiences and how to enable the child or teenager to work through feelings of anger and traumatic loss.
Provide children who feel ‘mad’ or ‘bad’ with the relevant psychological and neuroscientific understandings to alleviate negative self-referencing and develop coherent narrative for what has happened to them
Employ strategies for early intervention (early indicators of mental health difficulties), know limits of competence and refer on to other agencies, when these are available.
Support for school staff and community workers
Increase the protective factors and ‘safety cues’ in the school culture to prevent adverse childhood experiences from becoming long term mental, physical and societal health problems.
Enable staff to think psychologically about pupils and make empathic responses as appropriate.
Support staff to relate to children in ways that enable them to move from blocked trust to trust.
Educate staff to understand when challenging behaviour and explosive outbursts are likely to be trauma triggers and how to calm children.
Support I offer for other school staff
and community workers
Using accessible language, I support staff with the brain science and psychological research on child mental health problems and their impact on quality of life and learning.
Educate staff about what children need in their relationships with adults, so they don’t suffer misdiagnosis, distress or additional trauma in the school environment.
Support staff in ways that prevent them suffering from high levels of stress, developing secondary trauma and leaving the profession as a result.