Many people have experienced the healing touch of massage, but for those with autism, the experience can hold special benefits. Tami Goldstein, a certified craniosacral therapist, recently spoke to the Pregnancy and Special Populations massage therapy class at Globe University-Madison East. Tami has been doing bodywork since 2005. Her goal was not to be a massage therapist but to be able to practice craniosacral therapy. Her story is an interesting one.
Tami’s daughter has Asperger’s syndrome, which is a high-functioning form of autism. She went from doctor to doctor searching for answers. It was a long, twisty road when she found an occupational therapist who suggested craniosacral therapy. After a few treatments, her daughter saw immediate results. Her daughter got off the table and hugged and kissed Tami. At that moment Tami realized it had been four years since she was able to touch her daughter’s face.
Tami quit her job, went to massage school, and began studying autism, the brain, and craniosacral therapy. At her massage practice in Janesville, Wis., she focuses on children with autism and sensory processing disorders. She is also an advocate for families. Recently, she published “Coming Through the Fog“ about her daughter’s journey to function in society.
While in class, Tami shared her experiences of learning with her daughter and working with other children. She explained how simple compressions on a child can give a real sense of self. The children draw themselves prior to the session and they are very disconnected in the drawing. After the bodywork the child’s drawing is put together and all the parts are connected.
“I learned so much about autism that I did not understand before,” said massage student Flutura Hajdini. “Why people who have it act the way they do, and how unsupported they are.”
Massage student Deborah Brandt added, “The most important feeling I took away from this presentation is inspiration. Inspiration to keep committed to my program and realizing I too can help people. I lost some of my fear that I would somehow be hurt by people who can be more volatile; with the proper approach and awareness of how to front load autistic people there is no reason to stay away from this group.”
I feel introducing students to Tami reminded them that if you have passion and will, you can create the niche you want, to do what you love and touch those who need you most.
Happiness, Hydration and Harmony!
Written By: Robin Rinehart, Massage Therapy Program Chair, Globe University-Madison East