From a pioneering initiative in the region of Campinas, Heloisa de Carvalho Crissiuma opened the gates of her ranch, a former holding of artist Flavio de Carvalho, whose modernist house was historically noteworthy. Equine Therapy was central to her work with people with disabilities. This work, supported operationally and financially by Heloisa herself, won admiration from professionals in various areas, and supporters, which resulted in 2002 in the creation of ACESA Capuava - Educational Social and Cultural Association Capuava Assistance, a nonprofit organization now operating for over 10 years at the Capuava Ranch.
The organization serves people with disabilities who are at risk of social exclusion and helps to develop their potentials through multiple service areas of health, education, culture, sports and professional services. The purpose is to accommodate and to help them in the formation of happy, capable, healthy and integrated lives with other people.
Currently, the organization serves about 50 children and young people in part-time and full-time activities. Throughout the day they are served breakfast, lunch and afternoon coffee. ACESA operates through interdisciplinary care, with a specific program for each user, with a monitoring process and tracking of the process and results, providing physical and emotional balance. The classes and therapies are conducted in the area of Capuava's ranch in contact with nature, with gradual learning and gradual evolutionary process, to meet the special needs of each student. In addition, it works with families via Thematic Workshops and the Income Generation Project.
Therapies offered: equine therapy, physiotherapy, speech therapy, hydrotherapy, psychology, psychomotor therapy, occupational therapy, music therapy, art therapy and physical education.
School: Early Childhood Education and Elementary School Inclusion helps to prepare students to be integrated into the regular public school.
Disabilities Served: intellectual disability (e.g., Down syndrome, autism, borderline), physical disability (e.g., cerebral paralysis, marrow injury), visual disability, hearing disability and multiple disabilities.
Projects: Full implementation of the Digital Inclusion Project, through a room equipped with computers and qualified professional; Design Workshop Paper recycling in order to produce parts from recycled paper, intended to teach skilled work, which subsequently can generate income for them and to the organization; expansion of the Library Heloisa de Carvalho Crissiuma, which already serves the students, and will be extended to the whole community. The Sensory Integration Room is another developed project available for use by the entire staff.
Staff: technical coordinator, physiotherapists, equine therapists, hydro therapists, social workers, teachers, speech therapist, physical educator, occupational therapists, psychologist, music therapist, professional nutrition support, secretarial, administration, cleaning, garden and care for horses, totaling 32 employees
Contributors: The organization focuses its actions its sustainability with help from the government with a grant from the City Hall of Valinhos which helps 50 students, and it also receives help from the private sector, receiving monthly donations. It also organizes events and fundraisers to contribute to the overall costs of the program.
Flower Essence Therapy Project
One of the main objectives of this work was to serve the staff caregivers, giving them emotional support to serve students and guidance for their individual journeys toward inner growth. This was due to the fact that they were tired, stressed and still mourning the loss of the organization’s founder, Mrs. Heloisa Crissiuma, whose death brought concerns and insecurity about the future of the institution. With individual attention and monthly flower essence formulas brought to the staff and proposed monthly meetings with the group to exchange experiences and balance through dynamics, movies and exercises, they were able to be healthier emotionally.
Another objective was to assist children and adults with disabilities who attend the program for the various therapies offered, and subsequently their families, and bring them flower essence therapy, so they could benefit from the additional care of the soul provided by flower essence therapy.
Early on, it was difficult to find material related to using flower essences with people who have disabilities, because few flower essence therapist friends had experiences to share. I had to rely on divine guidance, intuition and the response felt in my heart, as my clients weren’t able to answer questions with words, did not draw, nor could I conduct interviews as I was trained to do as a flower essence therapist. I developed gradually the techniques and tracking of essences. I tried to improve my understanding of reports by therapists of various other modalities who served the individual. I also learned to listen with my heart to be able to read between the lines of reports by the teachers and parents, to put it all together with divine guidance and compose the individual essences for each child. The essences and formulas described for each individual do not indicate essences specific to each pattern of physical disability, but the emotional patterns arising from each individual’s unique situation.
Serving the staff first
After a lecture where they received information and were invited to participate, they received individual consultations, and formulas tailored to their individual needs. All of the staff were involved, and before long, there was a change in the environment and in people, dealing better with the grief and renewing their strength to continue this wonderful work with children.
Essences used by the staff included:
Baby Blue Eyes – this essence was very important to restore faith, because with the death of their founder, the staff therapists felt helpless and believed that they could not resume work without her.
Columbine – to discover for themselves their talents and to enjoy themselves, and to realize that each one had a gift to contribute, and that all were important.
Desert Lily – Improvement of the workplace. For the large financial burden, to appreciate the beauty and care for the facility and grounds.
Echinacea – internal restructuring due to changes, for starting over. It was a very important flower so that each could rebuild, because they had relied on the founder for guidance.
Elm – People were overwhelmed, because few employees were caring for many children.
Gorse – played a key role in reviving the hope that the work in the institution could continue and that it would be successful.
Green Rose – was important to treat collective depression that had settled in. It brought openness for new visions and the integration of flower essence therapy into the program.
Heather – Great for therapists to listen to each other, for empathy and cooperation.
Holly – unconditional love for children, for themselves, and co-workers
Honeysuckle – for overcoming grief
Mariposa Lily – maternal and emotional support
Red Chestnut – for healthy care of the children
Shasta Lily – for feminine wisdom, because the vast majority of professionals are women
Star of Bethlehem – to clear trauma
Wild Rose – love for life, strength to start over, tenacity
Yellow Star Tulip – openness to hearing another, to be understanding and compassionate
Zinnia – to bring joy and lightness to life
Five-Flower Formula – for integration of all the flowers and support to act as necessary
Environmental sprays were prepared for all treatment rooms used by the children, with the goal of cleaning the energy and maintaining a high vibration. This was of great help, because the large volume of children and therapies often overloaded classrooms and professionals, making it difficult to work. Some of the flowers used were:
Angelica – for connection with the angelic realm, so that the light was reestablished and was the guiding work in the facility
Garlic – for clearing dense energy
Heather – promoting inner stillness and sweetness in a friendly atmosphere
Holly – bring unconditional love to the therapeutic work so as to be done in a loving, affectionate, and pleasant environment
Mountain Pennyroyal – for mental protection against external influences, and the greatly expanded aura of people with disabilities
Chamomile – calm and balance, mood swings and protection of the solar plexus.
Peppermint – for alertness and attention
Flower essences used with the students
We talked to parents and got written permission for their children to start flower essence therapy. Due to the physical impairment of many children, we could not use drawings or interviews. A report from teachers and therapists, and the observations by the flower essence therapist were helpful for the development of individualized formulas. Each child took the flower essence formula 7 drops 2 times a day. We chose this dosage to facilitate the work of staff, and it proved to be very effective.
Following are some of the lead essences used with the children:
Chestnut Bud / Almond – Facilitate learning, motor delay, disability, increase awareness of facts. Many children need constant repetition to learn simple tasks such as dressing, holding a pencil, hanging up a bag, and learning the sounds of letters. To decrease the need to repeat each time the task for them, to help in development.
Clematis – Help them to anchor energy, be in the present moment, and for perception of details. Worked better with essences for lethargy, such as Tansy and Blackberry, sometimes Rosemary.
Holly – vital use in all children, transmutation of energy, compassion, love. I used it much because I believe that Holly also helps bring the power of love to their homes and family members who have not come to flower essence therapy, echoing love and compassion, through fields of consciousness.
Star of Bethlehem – Align body and soul, trauma cleansing. Although for trauma and recent fright, I believed I could do cleaning and energetic alignment with Star of Bethlehem from the time of the meeting of the soul with the disabled body, in a moment that may have been traumatic, but not consciously remembered.
Walnut / Angelica / Mountain Pennyroyal – Protection for their expanded auras.
Mimulus – Courage, work with fear, enabling opening to the other flower essences. Sometimes I used Aspen, according to the different types of fear, but at the beginning Mimulus was in all formulas.
Crab Apple / Manzanita / Cassiopea – Awaken care for and body awareness, personal hygiene, joy in being in the physical body.
Larkspur / Cosmos – Assist in the process of speech and language; essences whose effects were clearly visible.
Mariposa Lily – Maternal emotional warmth, trauma caused by abandonment and/or family.
Baby Blue Eyes / Sunflower / Dune Primrose – paternal recognition, redemption of faith, trauma related to the father figure. When the child had breathing problems I included Yerba Santa.
Iris / Columbine – Awakening creativity in arts and learning process in general, promotes talents; self-appreciation. Columbine was the very substance that appeared in the increased self-esteem of children, helping Larch and Buttercup.
Canyon Dudleya / Chamomile / Cherry Plum / Green Nicotiana / Vervain / Vine / Ocotillo – for aggressive behavior, instability and outbreaks. Canyon Dudleya and Chamomile for more isolated and singular events, and Ocotillo, Green Nicotiana for more explosive and aggressive personalities.
Echinacea / Buttercup / Shooting Star – for self-help, to recognize the self as a divine being, to overcome trauma from the disability, feelings of inadequacy or of not belonging to the body and the group.
Pink Monkeyflower / Pretty Face – To overcome feelings of rejection, to feel beautiful.
Lemon / Madia / Shasta Daisy / Larch – Auxiliary in learning, improving focus, attention and connectedness. It was interesting to see how Lemon helped enhance when introduced along with the conventional remedies for learning.
Downy Avens – Was used when children give up easily in any activity.
Dandelion – Relaxation of tension or stiffness of the body. Sometimes was alternated with Vervain or Dogwood, depending on the case. For some who are autistic, Pussy Paws was used successfully.
Quaking Grass / Oregon grape – Living in a group, for conflicts and inappropriate behaviors.
Lewisia / Sierra Primrose – Support from the larger group of beings of Light; strength and renewal of commitment to the Earth.
Penstemon / Mountain Pride – Overcoming the limitations imposed by disability, not to give up from the challenges and difficulties.
Green Rose – Was important for all people with disabilities, especially autism, because it enabled emotional openness and social interaction. I really believe that essence transforms the behavior of children.
Lilac – Used for the neurological component, unlocking and releasing energy flow, especially with children who do not walk, but also is helpful in the learning process.
Helping families of children with disabilities
Flower essence therapy was offered to families and those who joined received great support as a result. The families could talk about their feelings and work through them with the aid of the formula for each unique family situation. This process has lasted two years, and serves a large number of families even though there is a lack of flower essence volunteer therapists. Essences such as Love-Lies-Bleeding, Mariposa Lily, Bleeding Heart, Sweet Chestnut, Wild Rose, Red Chestnut, Mimulus, Willow, Hawthorn, Hyssop, Pine, Penstemon, Mountain Pride, Splendid Mariposa Lily, Sierra Primrose, and many others were helpful support for parents.
Formulas used during home visits to help anchor the changes
Flower essence dosage bottles were provided for use at home, so that the children would not go without them on weekends and holidays. The formulas were prepared for home use with instructions for parents to strengthen the importance of continued use by the child. The accounts given by parents are amazing and exciting:
"After he began taking flower essences, I thought Odair was more communicative with the family, he talks more. Sometimes when he comes home I need to talk to him to be quiet. He is more cheerful. He is asking to go to the bathroom, which had not previously asked. And now he is sleeping well."
"During the holidays when the flower essence formula was used up, Daniela convulsed several times. It seems to me that when she is taking flower essences, the seizures are less frequent and weaker." Daniela's mother
"Matthew stopped feeling afraid, his teeth grinding improved, and he is less whiny. His sleep is better." Mother of Matthew
Throughout this process, the support and commitment of staff and therapists was instrumental in the deployment of the flower essence therapy at ACESA-CAPUAVA –BRAZIL. They brought reports, and noticed changes in behaviors of the children. Often the experience of these professionals in non-verbal language of children was great in guiding adjustments of flower essence combinations. The staff also have been great partners in celebrating the achievements and progress of each child. Much credit for the success of this project is due to the loving commitment beyond their professional duties.
Overall improvements in the welfare of staff, children and their families
Energy of the environment rebalances: Visible and commented on by everyone, the environment has a positive restructuring and it’s now easily identified by the staff when there is need to spray flower essence combinations. The Desert Lily also served so that the space was improved, expanded and became more comfortable and beautiful.
Overcoming grief: Employees continue the legacy of the founder, accepting changes when necessary with positive energy, bringing with it new ideas and new projects. Honeysuckle, Holly, Echinacea, Gorse, Bleeding Heart, Forget-Me-Not have been crucial for this step.
Professionals feel supported, listened to and respect flower essence therapy: They feel important to the institution, and found that good work done by them with the children also depended on the personal well-being of each one, and their motto was: “Caring caregivers.” More professionals have been using flower essence therapy, and have had major personal changes, passing through many stages of alchemical healing.
Cooperative work: This improved greatly with the perception that each is a part of the whole, and that cooperation between them is good for themselves and also for the children, and provided the therapists with a state of balance and compassion. Several employees have given birth during this period and were prepared to receive their flower essence babies as blessings and light, along with their families.
Children with disabilities were greatly impacted by the flower essences: The reflection of the flowers were visible early on, with reports from the professionals that the children were calmer, had more expressive eyes, some children’s talents and skills gradually revealed within themselves despite their limitations, which surprised everyone. The flowers were also very helpful when two friends died, and in that instant, the facility was able to better understand the loss and absence of the children.
Positive reports from teachers and family members
"He is calmer, participating in the proposed activities. He has not refused to participate and enjoys being with the group." Professor Beth about Mr. Odair.
"Sometimes when I call Daniela by name, she answers by raising her head, or when her name is spoken by Cida (mother) or Daniel (brother)." Professor Elaine about Daniela.
"He does not cry as much when his mother leaves, he has evolved considerably, he is stiffer, rolls on the ground and is moving more. He’s babbling, screams, and laughs as a way of interacting." Professor Elaine about Matheus.
"It was great in every way for two years for me and my family to take these flower essences. It changed much in our lives." Aparecida, mother of Daniel.
"After Odair began taking flower essence, I thought he was more communicative with the family." Terezinha, wife of Odair.
"Saint Clair is more spontaneous, sings and dances, is affectionate and has a good relationship with colleagues." Professor Elaine about Saint Clair.
“He is not as aggressive as before, and shows pleasure when going to school." Grandmother of Thames.
"He is more focused and interested, especially in relation to writing." Professor Beth about Rafael F.
Meet some of the students and staff at ACESA Capuava
ACESA-CAPUAVA has been positively strengthened, developed new partnerships and sought support to continue to exist. The work of the organization depends on the government and the private sector for support, but managed to increase the number of people receiving its services. Its focus has also expanded to include arts and dance, and art projects with recycled paper.
Flower essence therapy at ACESA-CAPUAVA-BRAZIL was completely integrated into the activities of the organization, side by side with other therapies. The role of flower essence therapy was to support the welfare of children, their families and therapists, for which it was acknowledged and gained respect. The flower essence therapy room is frequented with love and respect, and is a great advantage to everyone, with a volunteer flower essence therapist that meets every week, prescribes and makes the formulas with donations received from FES and Healingherbs, who trusted in the success of this project.
About Vania De Grande
Vania Lopes De Grande studied flower essence therapy with Cosmos Flower Therapy Institute and Rosana Vieira Souto in Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil. Vania has worked as a flower essence therapist since 2006.
She also does volunteer work in poor communities and institutions to support special needs children with learning difficulties, and their families. She serves as a volunteer with Regina Papp Gerald at Núcleo Mãe Maria in the village of Brandina in Campinas, and the Flower Essence Therapy Project in the Parque Centenário on the outskirts of the city of Campinas, which serves children, youth and adults in need.