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Summer 2005 Table of Contents
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Warning: BART Hits Texas!

By Gigi Newton, Texas Deafblind Project, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Abstract: Professionals in Texas are receiving training in Bonding and Relaxation Techniques (BART), massage for special needs infants and children.

Key Words: programming, infants, bonding, relaxation, massage

BART has hit Texas thanks to Evelyn Guyer, a nurse educator, Certified Instructor Trainer, and author, and Tricia Lee, Vision Specialist for Region 9 Education Service Center, Wichita Falls, Texas. BART is not a new hybrid car, a computer virus, or even a summer hurricane. BART is Bonding And Relaxation Techniques training, a class for learning how to do massage for special needs children.

Evelyn Guyer, developer of the BART Program, has worked with families for over 38 years. She was the recipient of a federal deafblind grant to explore how massage may be used to help individuals with deafblindness. She is currently a Certified Instructor Trainer for the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM).

Region 9 Education Service Center and Tricia Lee hosted 22 participants who attended the BARTCertification Training in May. This training certifies them to teach BART techniques to parents. Additionally, six participants attended the BART Trainer Course that allows them to teach other professionals BART techniques. (This training of trainers was open only to people who have been BART certified for at least one year.)

History of BART

Evelyn Guyer developed BART in the late 1980s. It is based on infant massage techniques developed by Vimala Schnieider McClure and specially designed to address the needs of infants, children and older individuals with special needs. These techniques were later applied to the special needs of dual-sensory impaired children, young adults and their parents through a grant funded by OSERS through New York State Education Department.

Benefits of BART

BART has many benefits for both the parent and the child. For parents it:

For the child, BART:

Who can do BART?

Since bonding is an outcome of this activity, only a parent or a primary caregiver should do BART with a child. BART should not be an activity for the child with a teacher. Parents should work one at a time with a child although receiving a massage from both parents is a wonderful idea. If the child or individual is older and living in a group home or other setting one caregiver should be trained to provide this activity.

What do you learn at BART training?

During BART training parents and caregivers learn specific techniques that can be used at home. This includes among others, massage techniques to increase body awareness and muscle tone, to improve upper respiratory function, decrease tactile defensiveness, improve coordination, and improve elimination problems (constipation).

There are specific environmental considerations when using BART with an individual. At the BART training you learn about things such as:

Participants in the training also learn how important timing is in making the experience an enjoyable and positive one for both the parent and the child.

Want more information?

During the 2005-2006 school year, we hope to see many BART training activities taking place all around Texas. If you would like more information about BART or about locating a BART training in your area, contact your vision consultants at your education service centers or Cyral Miller, Director of Texas School for the Blind Outreach Department, by phone (512-206-9242) or email <cyralmiller@tsbvi.edu>

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Last Revision: September 1, 2010