Dr. Dustow's research in the autism field has focused on midline exercises (MLE), leading to the development of the H.A.P.P.Y. Exercise System to provide a quick and easy way to focus the mind and body.
If we are unable to interface with our own mind and body, comprehending our place in a larger system can never really occur. Midline (or bilateral) exercises cross the midline of the body. MLE is a proven strategy found in many training disciplines, including yoga, martial arts and therapy for stroke victims. MLE has recently become common in child development circles.
Off-task behavior for children diagnosed under the autism spectrum
occurs when their left and right brain sides (or hemispheres) are not communicating. By introducing MLE, their brains can often make the necessary connections, resulting in on-task behavior.
If we have a child in a classroom who cannot focus on the subject matter due to his or her behaviors, this child is in conflict within his or her own system. This gets played out in the classroom environment. It is not that he or she does not want to, but rather cannot participate within that outer system, leaving the teacher unable to teach the child. The child's peers are also generally confused about how to connect with him or her.
As Dr. Dustow began to explore non-drug options, she found that by providing children with simple and fun midline exercises, they became the master of their basic system and thinking. A calm mind is open to ideas.
Based on research conducted in 20 classrooms with 88 preschoolers in 2007, the H.A.P.P.Y. Exercise System is now being used in classes, office settings and homes throughout the world. Dr. Dustow's book "Embracing Calmness: The MLE Program Through Midline Exercises" (available in paperback and e-book formats) provides an illustrated, easy-to-understand guide to learning and teaching MLE and H.A.P.P.Y.
In the Classroom
Dr. Dustow owns the complete copyright to this research, now published in nearly 30 languages. She is currently working to expand its reach to as many educators, schools, parents and caregivers as possible, and is collaborating with schools worldwide to implement the H.A.P.P.Y. Exercise System in classrooms.
Interested in joining the MLE movement? Contact Dr. Dustow here.
H.A.P.P.Y. Exercise System
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