Selah was diagnosed with mild/moderate spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy at 12 months old. Her speech, fine, gross motor and cognitive function were all affected. We started lessons with Jon Martinez in the spring of 2014 at 4 1/2 years old. Selah was unable to sit without falling over at that time.
Two years later, she no longer needed braces or a walker. She gained much better balance when sitting, standing, and walking. This year she joined the swim team and was able to participate in the state championship meet where she dropped 14 seconds off her previous 25 yard backstroke time. Probably the biggest area of improvement has been in her cognitive function. Today she is reading at grade level (2nd grade) and keeping up just fine with her peers. In fact she is no longer pulled out for special help with math and reading and she has legible handwriting.
I would recommend ABM lessons to anyone! It has been such a relief to focus on Selah’s successes, which have been huge since starting to work with Jon, rather than dwelling on what she isn’t doing. I want to stress that while ABM is not a miracle cure, every time Selah creates a new connection in her brain that enables her to move or think in a different way, that is a miracle! I continue to see gains in every area of her life, some small and some big, which is why for us ABM continues to be the answer.
From the first time our son Marek met with Jon, I knew that we made the right decision. We started going to him in October 2015. After just 4 months and 3 blocks of lessons, Marek started to babble using consonants, was much more aware and interested in his surroundings, and his strength and tone improved. He started army crawling and pivoting on his tummy and transitioning from floor to sitting. We travelled once a month from St. Louis to see Jon and every time we left our sessions we saw our son meet new milestones.
Fast forward two and a half years, Marek has continually progressed with Jon and this has added up to huge growth. At three and a half years old (December 2017) Marek started walking independently. Since then Marek's strength, balance and coordination has increased tremendously. This past month (May 2018) Marek learned how to stand up from the floor and how to get back down without assistance. Jon has taught us many techniques and shared countless strategies with us that we have been able to implement at home to keep Marek moving forward in his development. We are beyond thankful for all that Jon has done for Marek. They have shared a unique bond over the years. Jon has a true gift for helping kids and so many families are truly lucky to have him in their lives. Thank you for sharing this gift with us.
Krysten and Ryan
Kiarra was two and a half when we started doing ABM. She has Joubert Syndrome and was in a program called First Steps where she received PT, OT, and Speech before we came to Jon. She would scream through therapy, I always dreaded it. She would sit with her legs wide open but if she fell over she couldn't get back up. She also held her head to one side. Her OT told us she would probably never walk.
Fast forward four years and I'm so happy to say she is walking, well actually she likes to run!!! After taking her first steps in Jon's office, she told him “bye” and wanted to leave. She felt so accomplished!! She talks, says anything she wants, and eats all by herself. She is six and has just started writing her name!
She has come so far in the past four years, for which I want to thank God and Jon. We love ABM and highly recommend it. Thank you Jon for all the lessons you've given Kiarra. You work very well with her and when she doesn't like something you find ways to work around it.
Our son, Emmett, was diagnosed with hypotonia at 8 months of age and started traditional therapy shortly thereafter. One year later, he had made some progress, but was still delayed in all areas. At that time, Emmett could sit up with assistance and roll. He could bear weight in his legs, but wouldn't stay on his tummy or attempt to crawl. He had very inconsistent eye contact and limited fine motor skills. He also tended to hyperextend his legs and use his right side more than his left. We had heard about the Anat Baniel Method from an online support group and decided to do a block of lessons when Emmett was 22 months old.
We could see progress almost immediately. Others noticed the changes in Emmett too, even those who had no idea we had tried ABM. He had better eye contact, a longer attention span, and was more observant. His body movements were also more organized and more deliberate.
We continued to see similar results after each block of lessons. We have had 5 blocks of lessons in the past 8 months. In this time, Emmett has learned to transition to all positions on his own, crawl, pull up to stand, and cruise. He is bending his arms and legs much more and he is using both sides of his body more effectively. His eye contact and interactions with others is better. His feeding and fine motor skills have improved. He has better balance and has faster reflexes.
Since we started ABM with Jon, Emmett is more in tune with himself and with the world around him. We believe that Jon has helped Emmett "put the pieces together" and reach his full potential. We are so thankful that we found ABM and look forward to seeing what the future holds.
My daughter Mary was born with a rare brain malformation called lissencephaly which left her severely mentally and physically impaired. Her prognosis was that she would never walk or talk. From the age of two months to August of last year at three years old, she received a great deal of therapy from some wonderful and patient people. She made amazing progress and developed skills unusual for her condition such as sitting, eating by mouth, scooting on her bottom, holding objects and saying words.
When we started ABM lessons with Jon Martinez, it was like her learning was supercharged! Her language went from random words to two and three-word sentences. She is now able to communicate with others instead of us translating for her. Her awareness of her surroundings and her ability to focus has sharpened. She is able to pull herself up to her knees and take steps while holding ballet rails. She can now feed herself without assistance, answer direct questions, knows the names of her family, teachers, and peers at preschool. She even shows a sense of humor.
It is like she is fully awake after a long sleep. Everyone who knows Mary can’t wait to see what she will do next, now that she is a super learner!
We first heard about ABM and Jon Martinez from a colleague of mine. I was referred to ABM for my ten year old son, diagnosed with cerebral palsy. We did not know much about it when we went to our first intensive session. After the first lesson, I realized that this approach was something new and exciting. Jon met my son where he was at, looked at what his capabilities were, and what his interest was in developing new skills. That idea was profound.
We enter into a simple treatment room with a basic concept, but with a very artistic and beautiful set of movements that are individual to each child. It is a calming philosophy without involving lots of rigorous routines and pain.
In the short amount of time that we have decided to change to this new direction, we have eschewed traditional therapy for the most part. We did this with some trepidation, but it did not take us long to realize that my son was happier, freer, and more open to creativity. He was more open to new possibilities than he had been the previous eight years.
His progress has been great in just one year of ABM with Jon. He has come to sitting on his own and started crawling. His awareness, desire to speak, following of conversation, imaginative exploration of his environment have all expanded. His gross, fine motor and speech have all improved--and he is happier!
Jon Martinez has charisma and passion for helping people, especially children. He has been invigorating and energizing, not only to my son, but my entire family. Jon has given us hope and made us look at my son in a different way.
Dr. Leslie Bentinganan,
IU Health Family Physician
My family travelled from California for my daughter to get lessons with Jon, and it was well worth the trip! Jon is incredibly skilled, knowledgeable and focused. We started noticing changes in our daughter immediately - better use of her eyes, improved pincher grip, less habitual locking of her knees, improved cruising, she has finally started crawling more than just a couple of steps, and she even did somersaults for the very first time!
Watching Jon interact with my daughter helped me to see that she is capable of so much more than I realized, and it has completely changed the way that I interact with her. The questions he answered and suggestions that he gave to my husband and myself on how to deal with her aggressive behaviors were worth their weight in gold. We can't wait to schedule more lessons!
We have been taking our son to Jon for a year now and I cannot say enough great things about him. By our 3rd intensive, he got our son who was 2 at the time finally rolling! With each intensive, our son makes progress.
Jon is very dedicated to what he does and it shows. We work with a great practitioner near home, but Jon was the one who got things really going for our little guy.
If you want to give ABM a try, Jon is who you should go to. It’s absolutely worth the trip we make from Chicago each visit. We are looking forward to our future visits with Jon this spring & summer!
We saw Jon in September 2017 when Levana was 1.5 years old and had a block of 10 great lessons with him. From the start, Levana felt at ease with Jon which was a huge relief for me. The lessons were so insightful and Jon was happy to explain what he was doing and answer any of my questions. It was wonderful to see how he adapted every lesson depending on what Levana was interested in at the time. He used various movements, sounds, and games to bring her to her next level.
I learned so much myself and Jon gave me great advice on how to continue helping Levana at home. Levana started to walk shortly after our lessons with Jon, and is doing great in all other areas of her development. We very much hope to work with Jon again soon and highly recommend lessons with him to anyone.
Our son Matthew was diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy at 2 ½ years of age. He had been attending traditional physical and occupational therapies since he was 6 months of age. He had made some progress initially, but the past year brought no progression. This is when I started researching for alternative therapies for cerebral palsy, found out about ABM, and came into contact with Jon. Upon researching ABM, my husband and I were extremely hopeful and yet afraid to get our hopes up.
Upon first meeting Jon our son was 2 ½ years old. He mainly liked to be in an upright sitting position. He had just learned to butt scoot. He could not get himself into a sitting positon on his own, nor could he lie down from a sitting position. He also could not roll over completely. He had a 20 to 30 word vocabulary.
We have now been visiting Jon for 8 months. Our son Matthew is consistently crawling, pulling himself to standing without assistance, cruising, and climbing up and down stairs. He is able to climb step stools to wash his hands, bear crawl, and feed himself with a spoon. His vocabulary is somewhere in the 200 range. Matthew has also most recently initiated potty training with much success!
We are forever thankful for finding Jon and ABM. We discontinued PT/OT after our first cluster of lessons, and have not regretted it for one second. Our only regret is not finding ABM sooner. With much heartfelt love.
The Combs Family
My daughter, Morgan, was four years old when we started seeing Jon for ABM. I was made aware of this method from another parent in a mutual support group. At that time, Morgan was crawling, pulling to stand, knee walking, and occasionally cruising. She had very little balance and would often fall backwards. Eye contact and focus were very limited. She had a very frantic demeanor and bounced on her knees frequently. Her head tilted to the left. She had defensiveness in her hands and would not allow hand over hand activity. She would use her hands as clubs. We had used traditional PT and OT since the age of seven months. After Morgan's first appointment with Jon, she started using her fingertips to activate buttons on toys.
After approximately six months of ABM, we have achieved much success. She has a very soft and controlled reach, and her hand skills continue to improve. Her eye contact and focus have improved dramatically. Overall, she is much calmer. Her head tilt has decreased significantly. She is starting to make new sounds and can shake her head yes and no. She has begun to climb stairs and use stools for climbing. Her balance has improved dramatically. She is spending more time unsupported on her feet. For the first time yesterday, she took eight consecutive steps.
Morgan's hand use improved more in one ABM lesson than it had in four years of OT. Improvements have been steady throughout six months of visits. Jon has a real knack for working with children and I would recommend Jon Martinez and the ABM approach to any parent.