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Shelley Mannell: Heart Space & Pediatrics

This is an interview with Shelley Mannell, a physical therapist for children with motor and sensory challenges, brain-wise therapist, educator, and mindful mom.


1. What Work Do You Do?

I have 30 years of clinical experience serving babies, children, and adolescents across the spectrum of neurological and developmental disabilities. I founded HeartSpace Physical Therapy for Children in order to support my clients as they matured through the lifespan and also to balance my career and family.  Early in my career I developed an interest in the theory, assessment, and treatment of postural control, first in children with motor challenges and later in those with sensory challenges.  My favourite part of the process is clinical reasoning.  


2. What's The Best Continuing Education Course/Conference You've Ever Taken?

The 8-week pediatric NDT certification course, with its emphasis on movement analysis and postural control, gave me skills that I use every day with every client.  My one-to-one sessions with a mentor over a decade were invaluable in developing my clinical reasoning skills. I still love learning - I’m registered for 4 continuing ed courses already this year! 


3. What's Your Favourite Book? 

I’m an avid reader.  Some of my favourite books include: 

Motor Control, 5th Edition remains the only book available that bridges the gap between current and emerging motor control research and its application to clinical practice. Written by leading experts in the field, this now-classic resource prepares readers to effectively examine and treat patients with problems related to postural control, mobility, and upper extremity function using today"s evidence-based best practices. To make information easier to understand and follow, chapters follow a standard format: normal control process issues, age-related issues, research on abnormal function, and clinical applications of current research, including methods for examining and treating patients with motor dyscontrol in each area. Featuring new pedagogy, new videos, and separate lifespan chapters on the development of mobility and ageing and mobility, the Fifth Edition reflects the current explosion of research in the field of motor control.

This is an in-depth study of the development of the typical infant during the first year of life. Information is grouped into the areas of postural control, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, oral-motor and respiratory functions, and speech and language. Each chapter includes a summary chart and many clear illustrations. Concepts underlying the development of movement are presented, including motor learning concepts.

The groundbreaking book that explains Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)--and presents a drug-free approach that offers hope for parents--now revised and updated.

Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world’s foremost experts on trauma, has spent over three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score, he uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust. He explores innovative treatments—from neurofeedback and meditation to sports, drama, and yoga—that offer new paths to recovery by activating the brain’s natural neuroplasticity. Based on Dr. van der Kolk’s own research and that of other leading specialists, The Body Keeps the Score exposes the tremendous power of our relationships both to hurt and to heal—and offers new hope for reclaiming lives.


4. What's Your Favourite Blog, Podcast Or Online Resource?

My favourite online resource is Pubmed - I’m a bit of a nerd :) 

PubMed comprises more than 27 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books


5. What Advice Would You Give To Your 25-Year-Old Self?

You will always have more questions than answers. If you don’t, you’re not doing it right. 


6. What's Something You've Recently Learned That You're Really Excited To Implement?

I’m learning more about how to assess and treat functional vision and its impact on the movement in children with sensory and motor challenges. 


7. Why Did You Decide To Join The Embodia Academy Instructor Community?

I think it’s wonderful to be able to search the Embodia Academy for continuing education opportunities across topics/specialties. And I love that it's a Canadian company!


About The Instructor:

Shelley Mannell PT, B.Sc, BHSc.

Shelley has 25 years of experience in treating babies, children, and adolescents with physical challenges and gross motor delays. Shelley is a Registered Physiotherapist with the College of Physiotherapy of Ontario. She is also a member of the Neuro-Development Treatment Association (C/NDT) and a contributing writer for the Cascade DAFO newsletter and a regular contributor to several blogs. In addition to her clinical work, Shelley has been active in clinical research and served as a clinical faculty member at McMaster University for 10 years. Shelley has a strong commitment to continuing education and now enjoys teaching post-graduate clinical education courses to therapists across Canada.


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