Balance, Auditory Vision Exercises, Bal-A-Vis-X is a programme from America developed by founder Bill Hubert. It will be available in the UK in November 2011. Here is my story of travelling to The USA in November 2010 to take part in the training.
For the Bal-A-Vis workshop I had to fly to America, and more specifically Tucson Arizona where the training was held. During the daytime it was scorching hot with temperatures reaching 27ºC and then dropping to 18ºC or lower at night. These contrasts between very hot days and cold nights were normal for November.
In the midst of excitement for travelling to Tucson were also concerns for leaving my five year old daughter. This was the first time since her birth that I was going away without her and it felt strange leaving my responsibilities as a mother in the departure lounge. Would her dad be able to comb her hair properly or would she turn up at school with hair fashioned like a bird’s nest?
As a distraction from the long flight and travelling without my daughter I took the book documenting the development of Bal-A-Vis-X (Resonance: Elise and Other Bal-A-Vis-X Stories) written by Bill Hubert. Bill was taking the training I was going on and as I was his special guest from the UK I wanted to be prepared with as much background knowledge about him and his programme as possible.
Bill Hubert, with his three assistants, flew in from Kansas one day after I arrived. It was no coincidence we were staying at the same hotel instead this was all pre-organised by Bill. As his guest, for the workshop I would travel and dine with him and his team from Kansas.
After introductions we went to start the first day of the training and I felt reasonably confident having practised the ‘individual’ exercises the day before in my hotel room.
On arrival to the venue it was clear Tucson was a favoured place for training and the hosts at Mesa Verde School had held the training there many times.
At the start of the training the entire group of 40 attendees stood in a big circle as we learnt the first exercise ‘one ball bounce.’ The synchronised rhythm that 40 people created bouncing their single balls on the wooden gym floor reminded me of African tribal chanting or The Kiwi Hacker. The rhythmic bounces created an indescribable magical atmosphere of unity and purposefulness. It was clear what silent reverence the participants had for Bill and his three young assistants.
However, as the day progressed my confidence slowly evaporated as the bouncing, throwing and catching became more complicated. My own glitches in coordination were now showing up. Many of the attendees had more experience under their belt as they were doing the workshop for the third or forth time. My only previous experience on the other hand was the two exercises I had done with Kiran (see previous blog), but I was quietly determined.
As the first day of training came to an end I was exhausted and so together with Bill and his assistants I went to refuel and reflect on the day. Bill’s assistants were of school age ranging from 18 to 19 some of them from the very same school Bill had taught in for many years. I was very keen to hear their stories and how they came about working with Bill. One of the assistants ‘L’ told me she had been diagnosed with ADHD. By this I was slightly taken back as this was a calm and well mannered girl with no apparent signs of impulsiveness. My immediate assumption was that she was on medication. This was not the case. She had previously been on medication but since starting Bal-A-Vis-X and using it over a period of a few years she no longer needed any at all.
It was this single story that inspired me to think Bal-A-Vis-X was really needed in the UK for an audience wider than my clients alone. I started toying with the idea that Bill could come to England the following year and hold a workshop in the UK. I don’t know if it was the great sense of euphoria the days bouncing had left me with, but at that point I started believing that I needed to take a stance to make this happen. After sharing my thoughts with Bill he said I had a big challenge ahead of me if I undertook such a task. However, looking at ‘L’ sitting at the table calm and collected waiting patiently for her desert I thought of all those parents in the UK whose children were on Ritalin (commonly prescribed drug for ADHD diagnoses) Undeterred I felt it needed to be done and I wanted to make it happen.
During the three days of my training a TV crew arrived to make a short news feature for local TV on Bal-A-Vis-X. Here is the short news reel created by News Anchor Scot Kilbury whose wife also taught at Mesa Verde School. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mbQv34Zs-w&feature=related
© Usha Patel is a Learning Difficulties Therapist . She works through using simple movements and exercises specified according to every child’s unique capability. Her focus lays on using non-evasive motor sensory techniques to help academic performance.