What do we do?

The McNatt Learning Center helps people improve attention, reduce stress in learning, and discover ease in movement. We empower extraordinary people to do ordinary things. Following thorough assessment, we match people with practices that make learning and living more efficient and sustainable; then we help them implement those practices.

In addition to one-on-one educational services for children and adults, we also teach Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement classes to reduce fall risk in the elderly and build confidence in young adults (ages 14 and up), and we host regular 8 Questions groups for parents who want to nurture emotional connectedness and sound decision making, each which can be especially challenging when a family member has an autism-spectrum condition or stress-response disorder.

Some of our clients have run into problems at work: they’ve maxed out their abilities, and yet they really want to do whatever it’s going to take to advance. Other clients have been diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, learning disorders, dyslexia, autism-spectrum conditions, Tourette Syndrome—or any host of other labels, which essentially have two purposes:

  1. To effectively route clients in large systems, and
  2. To facilitate third-party payment.

Because we’re fee-for-service and we’re small enough to individualize the help we provide, we don’t have to worry about the labels. And you know what? It’s freeing. Not having to worry about labels frees us to focus on our clients themselves.

Why do we do it?

Matthew McNatt

picture of Matthew McNatt

Matthew says:

I really enjoy helping people develop abilities, perspectives, and know-how that most of the world takes for granted. Not everyone can pay attention, muster the courage to try again, find things to be thankful for, or “simply” keep caring—at least, not initially. But many people can, with help, implement practices that empower them to do and feel these very things.

How is it possible to learn and move efficiently—with ease, energy, speed, accuracy, and no more force than necessary?

What enables people to learn and move sustainably—to be habitually alert, responsive, responsible, expectant, and purposeful?

Efficiency and sustainability become reality as certain practices—matched to each person’s unique needs—become habit. That’s what I facilitate. It’s what I love doing. It’s what I’m passionate about: matching people with practices that make learning and living more efficient and sustainable, then helping people implement those practices.

What’s important to you—the reasons you want your or your child’s learning and moving to be more efficient and sustainable—are important to me, too.

Though I was among the top students in my class in junior high, high school, and college, I struggled because of a neurological impairment. I took the prescription drug route for many years, trying to get my body to work like most other people’s bodies—but ultimately, I had to look elsewhere. It’s that “elsewhere” that I’ve specialized in providing people since 2003.

It’s incredible seeing the joy on clients’ faces! The “where-did-that-pain-disappear-to” moment or the “ah-ha” moment when a learner finally “gets it” are priceless to share!”

I’m certified by the Feldenkrais Guild of North America; the HANDLE Institute, International; Interactive Metronome; the International Center for the Enhancement of Learning Potential; Structure of Intellect Systems; Peterson Handwriting; Audiblox USA; and other agencies. Before getting into this line of work, I held an Illinois teacher’s license for secondary education of English/Language Arts. I love what I do and regularly keep abreast of the developments in the field of movement-based education.

I know what the struggle is like—personally. I also know what the freedom, the joy, and the beauty are like—personally. If you want help finding your own freedom and beauty—discovering greater efficiency and sustainability in what you’re doing, so you can relax and enjoy life—don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’d love to hear from you!

Jennifer Harshman

picture of Jennifer Harshman

Jennifer says:

Helping people succeed is what it’s all about! It’s fulfilling, too—especially when someone didn’t think she could do something, and I come alongside; we do it together; and then she masters it. The light-bulb moments and the instances of seeing a client conquer a challenging task make it all worthwhile! Our clients have such potential, and there is no way of knowing what the students might do in their lifetimes after going through training with me. That fills me with joy. We plant seeds for trees we may never see. We change lives!

I get excited when we discover the level at which a student is really challenged by a particular task. That’s when the real fun can begin! The student practices and eventually exceeds his previous level of ability, building not just that skill but confidence as well. I enjoy being able to help people change their thinking and eliminate negative beliefs and attitudes. There’s a lot of overlap between what a client may learn in therapy and what we practice here, in cognitive training.

I have a degree in psychology and one in education, and am a certified PACE trainer. I have taught in one capacity or another for over 20 years.

I connect with clients and often feel what they feel. This means if they are upset about something in their lives and they cry, I cry with them. I laugh with them, too. I care deeply for everyone who comes into my training space or classroom. I challenge my students in the interest of strengthening their skills and increasing their confidence. I usually do it playfully, but I take my work and responsibility seriously. Sometimes training gets intense, but it’s a safe environment. We have a lot of fun during our sessions together, and we make progress that can affect so many things!

Whom do we work with?

While Matthew specializes in working with the atypically gifted and children with Tourette Syndrome, and while Jeni specializes in helping reluctant learners and people who struggle with their self-esteem or confidence, we’re both excited to work with anyone who:

  1. Is open to trying on new ways of thinking—because learning is most effective when we’re not already convinced we know it all,
  2. Will commit to learning—because however fun learning is, it takes commitment to see a process through,
  3. Wants to be kind—because what we do actually raises people’s potentials, and we’d rather help people who intend to use their newfound abilities responsibly, and
  4. Is open to prayer—because we pray for our clients and, when it’s welcome, with them. It’s important that the people we work with at least don’t mind our turning to God in prayer on their behalf.

Given the kinds of services we provide, we often attract clients who are looking for non-drug approaches. Perhaps you:

  • Have experienced a lot of side-effects from drugs you’ve tried in the past,
  • Are uncomfortable with the idea of masking symptoms when it’s possible to address underlying issues, or
  • Don’t want to use a chemical crutch when it’s possible to train abilities—because you actually want to have those abilities, or you want your child to have them.

Many of our clients, in working with us, also come to recognize a connection between the amount of electronic media they’re consuming and the learning difficulties they’ve been experiencing. A willingness to reduce the amount of electronic media one is consuming, thus, does tend to help—if together we find that media diet has been part of the problem.

The same goes for junk food, too: it’s not uncommon for our clients to discover connections between diet and learning. A willingness to make and eat tasty, nutritious food can thus be helpful, as well.

Ultimately, it’s important that prospective clients want to find easier, quicker, more accurate, and more sustainable ways of doing things—and that they’re willing to show up. We’ll work with you to create a space, here, where you’re safe and supported in developing the habits you need. We’ll also work with you to practice at home, or wherever you have the safety and security to practice regularly. There’s no time like the present to begin.