Spring 2014 Jennifer Bennett Continuing Education Instructor

Jennifer Bennett
Continuing Education Instructor and graduate of LCC's Massage Therapy Program

By Chris Cunningham

Jennifer BennettJennifer Bennett, a graduate of Lane Community College's massage therapy program, will teach a five-week course for parents and caregivers of children with special needs such as autism spectrum and sensory processing disorders.

Bennett, who specializes in pediatric massage for special needs children and teaches parent-delivered massage, says her class will address ways "caregivers can take care of themselves, while being respectful of what's happening in their lives."

Shortly after Bennett began teaching mind-body techniques to special needs children and their parents in her Pleasant Hill practice, dba Oregon Family Health and Wellness, she says she "recognized a gap in parent support and education," despite the fact that the children's behavioral and emotional issues are especially complex.

Bennett, who has a degree in psychology, learned that while caring for their children, the parents' "own self-care often was diminished," and that "they wanted to talk about how to find greater balance in all aspects of their lives."

In her upcoming adult education class, called Caring for Ourselves on the Family Journey, she says she "will discuss the underlying challenges that create barriers to change," rather than simply suggest lifestyle changes, such as exercising more and improving diet. She intends to tailor strategies to each participant's needs, because each family situation is unique.

To augment her knowledge as an integrative bodywork therapist, Bennett completed the foundation coursework in the Integrated Health Coaching Professional Training at Duke University.

She is currently assisting in a three-year research study funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, under the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, to investigate the effects of a parent-delivered massage program for young children with autism mchb.hrsa.gov/research/project_info.asp?ID=206. Specifically, the study is investigating the effects of daily parent-delivered massage on sleep issues, language, social skills, and parental stress.