Jennifer is a pioneer in the use of the Alexander Technique with preterm infants.
Her desire to train as an Alexander Technique Teacher stemmed from an observation she made while learning the Alexander Technique in 1984.
As she practiced the Alexander Technique directions for a calm and easy coordination of herself while doing her nursing care, her preterm patients improved their eating and sleeping patterns and began to thrive, despite the stresses of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Jennifer had worked as a nurse in Pediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care for seven years since graduating with honors from the University of Virginia with a Bachelors of Science in Nursing. But the changes she now saw in the babies rivaled any positive changes she had seen in her patients prior to this time. She began to document these changes and completed the three-year training to become an Alexander Technique teacher. She attended The Alexander School of Philadelphia headed by Bruce and Martha Fertman where the distinctive faculty included Marjorie Barstow, one of the first teachers trained by F.M. Alexander himself.
Over the next twelve years, Jennifer investigated her application of the Alexander Technique with every patient in her care as a nurse. She worked with extremely premature infants in the NICU, and with brain-injured infants and toddlers in Pediatric Home Care. Jennifer worked with several infants in Pediatric Home Care over a two to three year period, seeing them several days a week. In an eight- to twelve-hour nursing shift, Jennifer used her Alexander directions each time she touched or held the infants. She continued to document the changes that occurred in the infants from consistent contact with her hands. Her earlier results from the infants in the NICU were again achieved with the older infants at home. They began to sleep soundly, with less episodes of vomiting their feedings. The toddlers with seizures were able to decrease their medications due to less frequent seizures. Her patients with cerebral palsy moved forward with rolling over, crawling and sitting up; activities which their muscle spasms had previously prevented. Infants with breathing issues were able to breathe more slowly and calmly, take full feedings, and need less breathing medication.
Jennifer also developed a private practice teaching Alexander Technique to adults. Her private practice included: women during pregnancy, labor, delivery and breastfeeding, professional opera singers, symphony orchestra musicians, martial artists, dancers, actors, golfers and other athletes, as well as persons suffering from musculoskeletal injuries and chronic pain. Her Alexander Technique teaching experience spans more than twenty years.
Jennifer’s background includes study and performance in modern dance, and acting. She has studied infant developmental movement, and been a personal trainer. She has been trained in NIDCAP®, (Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program), a developmentally supportive model of care for infants that includes detailed observation and behavior analysis of extremely preterm infants in the NICU.
Jennifer has given lecture demonstrations of her work at major hospitals in Manhattan, New York; Camden, New Jersey; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She gave a two-day introductory workshop of her method to doctors and nurses at the Transitional Infant Care Unit of the Children’s Home of Pittsburgh and has given talks at several annual meetings of Alexander Technique International (ATI).
In January 2008, she presented her anecdotal research at the 21st Annual Stanley Gravens Conference on the Physical and Developmental Environment for the High Risk Infant, an international conference for professionals who build, design, work and conduct research in Neonatal Intensive Care. In August that same year, she presented her work at the 8th International Congress of the F.M. Alexander Technique in Lugano, Switzerland. A transcript of her paper “Alexander’s Preterm Birth” was published in The Congress Papers, From Generation To Generation. Vol. 1, 2009.
She is an internationally certified teacher of the Alexander Technique through ATI.