Biography of Marianne Hermsen-van Wanrooy
Babies natural development expert
Marianne Hermsen-van Wanrooy, born in Venlo, the Netherlands 1951,
completed her four year Physiotherapy training in her home country in 1974.
She specialised in Neuro-Paediatrics ever since, until she stopped practising physiotherapy in 2007.
Marianne wrote and published her first book ‘Babymoves’ in 2002 and her second book ‘Babymoves for the child with special needs’ in 2007.
Marianne's work currently involves sharing her knowledge through her books, teaching and public speaking worldwide. She is also busy researching and learning more about children’s development in today’s society, and how she can help better the equipment available and improve common child rearing practices.
From 1974 – 1980 Marianne worked at The Johannastichting, a rehabilitation centre for children in Arnhem, where she took a special interest in children with learning difficulties and coordination problems. She completed courses in sensory-motor integration according to the Mesker method, 1976, and in neuro-developmental treatment according to the Bobath method 1977, both in the Netherlands. This was followed by refresher courses in London with Mr and Mrs Bobath in 1979 and in Auckland, New Zealand with Ms J Bryce in 1996.
Since the late 70’s her work has been strongly influenced by the philosophies of Dr Emmi Pikler, a Hungarian Paediatrician who has done extensive research of child development, and Dr Vaclav Vojta, a Czech Neuro-Paediatrician and founder of the Vojta method of treatment.
In 1980 Marianne and her husband immigrated to New Zealand where their two daughters were born. She continued her work with children, including her time at hospitals in South Auckland, Te Kuiti, and Nelson where she eventually opened her own private practice in 2003.
Babymoves Philosophy and Concept
Marianne explains her findings with great detail in her book 'Babymoves' but below is a brief summary.
From birth until the time they walk, babies develop through a continuous process of replacing their innate reflexes, with voluntary and well controlled movements.
This reflex integration is an intricate and essential part of the development of the human brain, the foundation for future learning and behaviour, health and wellbeing.
Teaching movements to babies as opposed to letting them develop naturally or placing them in positions which they cannot already get themselves into, can disturb this reflex integration, causing long term negative effects such as poor posture, clumsiness, learning and/or behavioural difficulties.
The ‘Babymoves’ concept:
Instead of teaching movements to babies, we allow the baby to develop these without external stimulation. It is the ‘Baby’ who ‘Moves’. - Babymoves
It is about movements the baby makes naturally.
After the baby has had time and space to discover his own body naturally, he will also have developed the motor skills needed to discover or explore his environment. External stimulation such as toys placed into his hands or dangling above him, is just a hindrance to this very important stage.
"A baby's development is like the opening of
a flower bud.
It gradually unfolds.
If we open its petals unnaturally
we interfere with the growing process
and the flower becomes distorted."