What is HANDLE®

HANDLE® combines an understanding of neuroplasticity and the interplay among mind, body and environment to help the brain gently change itself. It’s designed to enhance neurological systems that are causing learning or life difficulties, without force or judgment.

The HANDLE® was developed by a remarkable lady, Judith Bluestone (1944–2009), over more than forty years of working with children and adults with neurodevelopmental differences.

Judith was born with numerous neurological challenges and structural ir regularities as well as injuries that left her paralyzed and in a wheelchair for two years. She had nearly unintelligible speech as a child, became profoundly deaf at age 8, suffered from clonic/tonic seizures, had groundbreaking reconstructive facial surgery, experienced repeated encephalitis and meningitis, once leading to loss of speech, and other differences for which she was teased as a child and worked all her life to overcome.

Judith engaged in applied neuroscience instinctively, from the inside out. Among her extensive studies were neuroscience, neuropsychology, neurorehabilitation, human development, visual processing, sensory-motor integration, education, counseling and more. Judith made her paradigm and solutions accessible by translating her personal experiences and subsequent studies into a complex and comprehensive non-drug therapeutic program for learning disabilities, attention deficits and autism spectrum disorders that she named HANDLE®, an acronym for Holistic Approach to NeuroDevelopment and Learning Efficiency.

Some of Judith’s achievements during nearly 40 years of professional work include:

1989 undefined National (Israel) Annual Early Childhood Education Award for designing

and supervising the program of screening and early intervention in Givat Olga, through

which the need for special education was reduced from nearly 50 percent to approximately 4 percent in less than 18 months.

Who’s Who in American Education, 1992, ‘94, ‘95

2002 Case Western Reserve University Distinguished Alumni Award for outstanding

contributions to the fields of education and neurorehabilitation and to those served

through those fields.

2004 Jefferson Award for Outstanding Public Service,

“for creating and sharing HANDLE to enhance the quality of life of individuals and

families in her community, country and the world.”

2004 Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award

Read more about Judith’s remarkable story in The Fabric of Autism, Weaving the Threads Into a Cogent Theory by Judith Bluestone.

HANDLE - Holistic Approach to Neuro Development and Learning Efficiency.


HANDLE® looks at how all of the systems in our body and life are interconnected, as well as how these systems support each other. HANDLE® assists the brain to create efficient pathways through a systems approach. This includes but is not limited to the central nervous system, the autonomic nervous system, the digestive system, the immune system, the family system, the school system, nutrition, and environmental influences.


Each individual is addressed with non-judgement and unconditional regard, regardless of age or presumed abilities. With the understanding that self-protection is the first priority for all of us, HANDLE® calls self-protection a primary attentional priority. It investigates and determines what is driving the individual to engage in self-protective behaviours (which are also communicating basic sensory and motor needs), rather than viewing the behaviours as negative symptoms to be masked or controlled.


HANDLE® is based on neurodevelopment. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change as a result of experience. With the understanding that neuroplasticity is a lifelong process, HANDLE® realizes the importance of developmental history and future aspirations as influences on current behaviors. Gentle, simple, repeated, organised movement patterns that are supported by proper nutrition organise neural processing, influence the body’s biochemistry, and change the actual structure of the brain.


HANDLE® addresses all forms of learning - academic, social, motor, language, behavioural, and more - by putting in place all of the neurodevelopmental building blocks that form the foundation for all forms of learning and hence the readiness for learning.


Stressed systems don't function efficiently. HANDLE develops efficient systems and encourages conservation of our natural resources to improve well-being, growing and learning.

Gentle Enhancement®

HANDLE® employs Gentle Enhancement® to gently enhance capabilities toward functionality. It does this by strengthening systems without stressing them.

The HANDLE Screening Program

A HANDLE® Screening is appropriate for any verbal individuals 5 years old and older with mild learning and behavioural challenges. Screenings provide the individual/family the opportunity to determine if there are significant issues and to receive recommendations for addressing these challenges.

A certified HANDLE® Screener introduces a series of tasks the client performs that are designed to help the HANDLE Screener observe the individual's processing ability.

The HANDLE® Screener explains what she learned from the observations made and information collected from an intake questionnaire, and teach a program of home based HANDLE® activities that help to strengthen and integrate weak, disorganized or immature systems. These personalised activities help the brain to organize and process information more efficiently, which typically leads to improvements in the areas of concern. Recommendations for nutritional, environmental and/or complementary therapies may also be provided if required.

A review session will be scheduled within the next 4 - 6 weeks to review the activities and any questions you may have.

For more information about HANDLE® please visit www.handle.org

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