The Waldon Approach is a practical system of movement activities that can help children with developmental delays.

The Approach was devised by Geoffrey Waldon, a neurologist, in the 1970’s after he observed and studied the development of children for over ten years. Waldon’s theory of child development led to his philosophy and psychology of education, hence formulating the activities which we know as The Waldon Approach.

Geoffrey Waldon’s passion and interest in the universally recognised path of a typical child’s development and the anomalies within the development of an atypical child underpin his theory.
Waldon advocated that all meaning comes from movement. The phrase “meaning from movement” is at the heart of the Waldon Approach. To bridge the gaps in a child’s development, the Waldon Approach takes a child through the movements, manipulations and explorations that assist a child’s self developed understanding and therefore learning.

Knowledge of the plasticity of the brain and how the brain responds to movement gives us an understanding of how the activities can impact a child whilst also working on a child’s gross and fine motor development through the movements.

The Approach promotes working within the child’s level of understanding and therefore comfort, which allows the child to work without anxiety or anxiety related behaviours. It is therefore an approach which is respectful of the emotional development of the child.

The term and philosophy of “General Understanding” is one which Waldon uses to explain that true and solid understanding is a platform that we build from and that it must be self created.
We build on our previous experiences. If our experiences in physical movement and manipulation are hindered by any development delay, our learning opportunities are reduced.
Every movement and exploration in space that the baby and young child initiates meets his motor, perceptual and emotional needs. The feedback he gets becomes his learning.

This process, that adults are not involved in directing, is a series of repetitive movements that start as unco-ordinated exploration of space and with continual practice the child develops rhythmic movements that are useful to him, as he reaches out, grasps items and manipulates them, learning from his actions.

The activities simulate the innate movements of the typical child for the child with developmental delays. By working in this manner, the child gains the experience his developmental delay inhibited for him.

An hour of Waldon activity daily is the ideal routine to follow, it is often necessary to start with 30 minutes and build up to this hour.
The work is effortful and engaging physically whilst taking away the focus of joint communication and any processing of instructions.
Parents and teachers report many benefits, children develop more interest in learning and in engaging and are happier after their working sessions. There is a development in motor skills which allows the child more independence with everyday practical activities.

Recommended websites:

http://www.waldonassociation.org.uk/

http://www.autismandunderstanding.com