So, our research quest has led us to begin to study a way for children on the autism spectrum (and others too) to learn to calm anxiety.
Our aim is to put safe, easy, low-cost, and fun tools into the hands of families and teachers! This GoFundMe is to raise money for our research. We respectfully ask for your help to make the research possible.
We seek support to help us to test an app designed to deliver special video training to young people who experience anxiety. The videos look simple, yet they bring together important current insights from neuroscience and bodymind training. The app is called “Bodymind Training for Autism”. We'd like to tell you about it.
This all came about because of Noah, a little boy with autism .
Noah’s mom tells his story:
“Noah began life as a typical little boy. He was growing up in a happy household with his twin and a younger brother and older siblings. He was learning to form words. But around the age of 2, something changed. He stopped making eye contact, and he seemed to withdraw into a world of his own. We were devastated"
Noah's parents first came to us for qigong sensory training (QST*), a form of therapeutic touch that parents can do with their children. Noah's mom and dad worked with him daily. We all saw many wonderful changes, in his social and language skills. But, he still suffered from severe anxiety (as do most kids with autism).
That’s when we came up with the idea of an app with specially crafted videos. These videos would show simple movement techniques designed to relieve anxiety and build confidence, with carefully chosen scenes from nature and other relaxing images. That way, he could use the app to learn how to experience and use these techniques on his own, when he needed them. We hoped that even just watching the videos could help him to calm.
Noah's mom picks up the story again:
"The videos have made a huge difference for Noah."
"The biggest change that we see is that he’s not nearly as anxious now. This is especially helpful in the morning, when Noah usually has a hard time separating from us to go to school.
And when he’s having an anxious morning, I can call his teacher, who will have the videos playing when he arrives in the classroom. She loves having these videos to use! It’s been a huge relief!"
"When Noah goes through particularly anxious periods, watching these videos helps him settle down. It's amazing to me that he doesn't even need to do the movements--just watching them settles him."
"Our whole family watches the videos. The experience of watching and doing the movements makes us feel more relaxed. Life in our house is easier since we’ve started using the videos.”
Noah’s parents have told us how the videos have changed their son’s life in many ways. They've shared wonderful moments like these:
“Today Noah stood up in front of his class and told a short story to his classmates and to us and other parents.”
“He’s wearing his new coat – and he even let us put up the hood!”
On a family outing, visiting a park with a miniature train:
“The other kids all got on board and Noah watched as they made the first circuit. Then the engineer stopped, and Noah joined his brothers and sister. He had such a big smile, he rode the train around and around, again and again. I had tears in my eyes.
This is new for us, Noah is learning to manage new situations. Before he had the videos, activities like the train ride would have been just too stressful for him—and for the whole family as well.”
One of the most important aims of the Bodymind Training for Autism App is to empower kids like Noah, helping them to develop independence.
Noah’s mom says, “He now takes our hands and puts them on his shoulders or chest when he seems to need support."
Noah’s dad adds, “He’ll do some of the activities from videos, on his own. And he tells us which of the videos he wants to watch.”
We're so excited about what we're hearing from Noah's family. This tells us we're on track.
Watch one of our videos here: https://player.vimeo.com/video/255774431
Our team is in the first phase of developing and testing the Bodymind Training for Autism App. We hope to make the finished product available at low cost to anyone who needs it. And we plan to make free-standing videos available to families and teachers, so the videos can be watched wherever needed, and shown to a larger audience.
Why are we seeking funding this way? We want to keep the costs for users of the app and videos as low as possible. Every child who can benefit should be able to have access to them. Grants from foundations may support this project in the future, but at the moment, its just us. We have already spent thousands of dollars 'out of pocket'. We simply cannot do this just by ourselves.
There’s still a lot of work to do, from creating and testing more and better videos, to fine-tuning the app, to determining which videos work best and for which specific needs.
We’re already part of the way there.
You can find directions to download a beta (test) version of our app on our home site, at http://www.bodymindscience.info/asd/
Our campaign will allow us to raise the funds needed to make these dreams possible. With your support, we can bring our work of empowerment, independence and greater well-being to the millions of families living with autism.
Please make a donation today, and please share this campaign with others!
We are deeply grateful for every single contribution, no matter the size. We simply can’t do this without you. With your help, the dream is within reach for Noah and other children like him.
We offer you these rewards as a way of expressing our deep gratitude for your contribution. We hope these inspire you and your loved ones.
We'll email you a 6x10 high resolution color still based on our "Peace" video. It's a beautiful shot of the shape of a child, filled with light and gentle, calming energy, against a tranquil background. Suitable for printing and framing, hang this up where it will remind you to take centering breaths.
We'll provide an internet "Teacher Pack" with five "Bodymind Training for Autism" videos, including instructions for optimal use.
You'll receive a personally customized 90-second Bodymind Training video, with images specifically selected and created according to your needs!
Thank you so much!
Who we are:
We are a research team comprised of a PhD in immunology/microbiology, and a somatic educator/therapist. We approache stress and trauma from the combined perspectives of neuroscience and traditional Asian bodymind disciplines.
To learn more about Bodymind Science, our team, and our other activities, please visit our website at
* more information about QST is available on our web pages
- Dirk Feather
- Betsy Walkerman
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