Above: California Wild Rose Rosa californica
Daena Ross currently works at the East Bay Waldorf School, serving as Educational Support Teacher, which includes work with children to complete their sensory motor development, memory and processing skills; support their academic development; and support their emotional health through the use of flower essences. The movement work that she does makes use of the Extra Lesson, exercises from Rudolf Steiner, Bothmer Gymnastics, Spatial Dynamics (she is a certified Movement Therapist through this discipline) circle activities, and other exercises that she has developed. She works closely with class teachers and parents.
Following are three exceptional cases illustrating Daena’s work, that show the degree to which flower essence therapy helps to mitigate challenging conditions for children.
KF: incarnation, engaging the will, self-image and self confidence
Writing and book work in general were quite difficult for him; his teacher shortened all assignments and book entries for him. He required assistance and frequent reminders at home to complete even the shortest and easiest homework assignments. He was frequently whiny and complaining at home and school, and at home sought a great deal of negative attention.
K’s appetite and sleeping patterns changed for the better. He went to sleep on his own with ease for the first time in his life. He had a softening of attitude, was not so grumpy, and had less challenging behavior. He has become more independent and responsible, and less clingy. Our whole family life has improved.
KF was making nice progress and was steadily gaining confidence and letting go of fears. In the second round, I decided to let go of the Borage and Pink Monkeyflower. The second blend still contained two essences for self confidence and self image, and now had three that addressed maturing and independence, and two to strengthen his will.
Many other parents who know K are commenting that he looks different—more relaxed and more mature. He is now taking the bus for the first time and doesn’t need me to pick him up. He tried out for catcher for the baseball team (always afraid to before), got the position, and made the all-star team. He is now able to take constructive criticism about his school work. He can sometimes get started on his homework without being asked (never happened before). He can now focus for quite awhile and really get into his work. He did most of an animal report on his own. He decided to get his hair cut so that it no longer hangs over his eyes.
Class teacher reporting: more focus and manifestation of will
K is finally starting to wake up: he is more focused, and his will is much better. He can accomplish much more in a short period of time. He is now willing to do things at the board in front of the whole class.
Brief background information
A year before becoming pregnant with T, his mother was in a serious car accident that broke her pelvis. She could not walk for 3 months. When she learned that she was pregnant, she had immediate concerns for herself and the child because of the injuries a year earlier. When she was 6 months pregnant, his mother developed preeclampsia (hypertension) and stopped working. T was born 3 weeks early; it was a 27 hour delivery.
His mother was given magnesium sulfate for high blood pressure and Pitocin after 14 hours of labor. T was lethargic at birth with an APGR score of 7. He had an overactive gag reflex and eating was difficult. His mother felt that he had weak will forces from birth.
TS has been an observant child from an early age, but not very joyous. He experienced major separation anxiety when his mother left him at preschool. He was and still is hypersensitive to sounds; he experienced a major trauma during a preschool fire drill. In grades 1 and 2 he used to hide and try to become invisible. T did not speak inside a classroom before fourth grade, and he has kept himself isolated from the class socially, especially in the last year. His teacher for the last 6 years is a very kind, loving, patient man.
T’s parents separated when he was 4½ years old, and it was difficult for him because he is deeply connected to his birth father. He rarely saw his father in the first year of separation because of his instability, but now he sees him about every other weekend; T worries about his dad. He has a good relationship with his step father, whom he has known since age 5½.
It is amazing how dramatically he has changed. He is really working through his fears. He is not needing the same kind of support that has been essential to get through life. He is starting to see the world outside of himself. Up until now, his life has been oriented from a self-centered perspective. His anxieties were huge in the past; they colored every experience and overwhelmed him. He seems to have a lot more control of his emotions. He seems like, for the first time, that he is ready to let go of some old ways that he should have outgrown.
There are many “first happenings” that have taken place in this last month since he started taking the essences:
1. This is the first time that he has been able to go away from the family (class trip) and not cry. His last words were not expressions of fear as they always have been. Instead he asked if his sister would be okay on her trip without me (originally I had planned to go on his sister’s trip) and if he could call once while gone to see how I am (I just received a fairly substantial injury to my foot).
2. He is asking to have a group of guys from his class over to practice music.
3. He cares about his school work and how he is doing.
4. He cared how he did at the Medieval Games, an athletic competition with five schools.
5. He was very pleased to be noticed and complimented by classmates on his Sixth grade project presentation. (In the past he was just glad that he had survived, it was over, and he did not attract any attention)
6. He is more willing and independent in completing his school work. There was a new openness to approaching his work. He is able to focus and complete an assignment in one sitting on his own.
Class teacher and other faculty members reporting:
T is much more at ease and more present.
RS: working with emotional balance within her family life, finding herself, balancing giving and receiving
RS is TS’ younger sister. There are 22 months between them; she is in the fifth grade. As we have worked to allow TS to be more independent, RS has struggled with who she is and how she fits into her family.
R has been doing very well. She is generally less anxious and more thoughtful, with more balance in her emotions, and no tantrums or big arguments. Her relationship with her dad is better. She has been making moves toward developing her own interests. She made a list of things that she wanted to do this summer. She is no longer ambivalent and over-attached in her relationship with her brother.
JB is a sixth grade boy; he is the oldest in the class. He is of average height, thin physique, and has narrow fingers. He has a narrow face with a long narrow nose, small square chin, blue-green eyes with spots in them, a pale complexion, and long bushy hair that comes down to his eyes. He could be labeled as an Asperger child. He speaks very quickly and his voice is starting to deepen. He is centered in his head and very protective of his feelings.
JB’s mother believes that he had a twin. She had strong cramping when about two months pregnant with a lot of bleeding, and she thought that she had miscarried. It was a difficult birth; it kept starting and stopping; not much happened after the water broke. An acupuncturist came and treated her and that helped the labor to gain strength and regularity. JB presented "sunny side up," and kept going back up the birth canal with each contraction. No progress was being made and so they went to the hospital.
The mother was given Pitocin. The doctor reached up, turned him and pulled him out by the neck. It created a problem with his Atlas bone [the first cervical vertebra which sits just below the skull]. Neuro-feedback has shown that there was head trauma as a result of this birth that has affected his temporal lobes. This has made it difficult for him to remember names and rote math facts. A Handle Institute practitioner told her the same thing.
JB has a weak etheric, and he also has mild asthma that only shows up when he runs. His mother discovered that she had Lyme disease when he was in the fourth grade and was told to test her children. It turned out that JB was born with Lyme disease, and he has had mercury issues, common with Lyme disease. They worked to strengthen his constitution for 1 ½ years and worked to leach out the excess mercury before starting to treat the Lyme disease directly last fall. He has a great sensitivity to his head.
JB has had major learning problems and difficulty remembering some things, such as math facts or how much various coins are worth. He can have a hard time focusing. His teacher makes accommodations for him in the length of assignments.
JB has required a great deal of assistance from home to get any of his homework completed. He has felt separate and different from his classmates; he is aware that he cannot learn in the same way as others and this is painful to him. He is self critical and has a difficult time with sadness. As he has begun to enter adolescence, he has been getting very melancholic, verging on depression. He has felt stuck, hopeless, unable to learn, and friendless.
His teacher expressed that JB has been living in his own world, that he has been a loner without real friends. He is not ostracized, but is out of sync with the class. He tends to stay in at recess, and he has more of an adult focus and speaks intellectually. He is sensitive, endearing, earnest, and real, with a strong soul life; this inner life is transparent. He gets flustered easily and has severe performance anxiety. He does not do well with speed and needs to take his time, which makes math and dictation difficult.
His drawings are light, contracted, and tend toward the geometric. He has difficulty with handwriting as well as organizing his writing. He has a wonderful imagination and loves to create stories; he uses a multitude of fabulously descriptive, pictorial adjectives and he creates good characterizations. He was a sanguine phlegmatic temperament until this year. With the 12 year change happening, he has become more melancholic.
Class teacher reporting: incarnation and maturation
JB has become much more incarnated. His facial expression has changed; both his facial expressions and behavior have matured, and he is more his age. He is going out more socially and he doesn’t sit in the classroom at recess anymore. Social connections are still not easy, but he has made progress. He finished his homework assignment by himself with no help from either parent for the first time ever.
Mother reporting: independence, improvement in social relationships and communication skills
For the first time in J’s life (age 13) my husband and I went out in the afternoon and left him by himself. Not only was he okay, but while we were gone, he got on the computer and completed a book report completely by himself. This was a first also. He had never even attempted to complete a homework assignment on his own. Usually he needs loads of encouragement and support. He seems to have taken a giant step in maturity.
Daena Ross has 25 years of experience working in Waldorf Schools as an educational support, class, kindergarten, games, handwork, and/or music teacher. She has 15 years of experience in adult education as a faculty member at Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, California. Daena developed the Remedial Education Program and taught remedial education, and form drawing and movement to a variety of programs. In addition, she has worked for 8 years in a public home school program, and has taught at local, national, and international conferences on home schooling and Waldorf Education. Daena operated her own business, Gateways Educational Services for 19 years, working as a consultant to parents, teachers, and schools, and did support work with children.
P.O. Box 459, Nevada City, CA 95959
800-736-9222 (US & Canada)
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