“I highly recommend this to give a better understanding of the underlying causes for a child's problems.” 

 

Laura Masciarelli PT
Wantagh, New York

Frequently Asked Questions

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Often children enjoy doing their Neurodevelopmental Movement. Children, frequently comment that the movements help them feel calm, or more alert or “better”.

Sometimes children will find certain movements challenging at first, then much easier as they begin the process of integrating their reflexes. When movements are challenging, we do them in small parts, with lots of encouragement, and progressively work up to the whole movement sequence so that the child feels successful throughout the process.

While human beings are designed to move and to experience pleasure with movement, some children are very sensitive to movement or are lethargic and do not enjoy moving at first. With sensitive or lethargic children we begin with little amounts of movement and gradually build up to longer amounts. For very sensitive children, we’ve seen excellent progress when parents begin the movements while their child is sleeping.

We can also learn playful ways to engage our children while we do movement or we can offer playtime after we are complete with the more difficult movements. Besides the benefits from the movements themselves, children also enjoy connecting with their parents.

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The ability to be still is actually an advanced skill requiring a certain degree of brain maturity. Usually the reason a child cannot be still is due to a lack of brain maturity. Neurodevelopmental Movement provides the proper kinds of movement to develop maturity in the basal ganglia of the brain, which is responsible for the ability to be still. We intuitively understand that a healthy toddler will be in near constant motion while awake, but we expect an older child to sit still. Even though a child may seem old enough to be still in fact the brain requires further maturation before being still is comfortable or even possible.

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Neurodevelopmental Movement is extremely effective for helping with emotional calm in the short term and emotional maturity in the long term. In the short term, certain movements are very calming and helpful to release stress and shorten emotional outbursts when they do happen.

In the long term, integrating reflexes, especially the Fear Paralysis and Moro Reflexes, and doing consistent Rhythmic Movement helps on many levels resulting in greater emotional maturity, fewer emotional outbursts and greater ability to communicate. The main reason these movements are effective is that they help us develop the proper brain pathways for quicker access to the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is the area of the brain that helps manage emotions, and develop rational thinking. Accessing the prefrontal cortex, releases us from the hold of the lower brain function of “fight or flight” and irrationality.

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Learning involves taking in information and then doing something with it. Learning depends on how information is received, processed and then connected to an action. Effective learning requires clear and efficient “wiring” between the nerves, senses and muscles of the body. We can strengthen and stabilize this neuro-sensory-motor system through movement.

The neuro-sensory-motor system in large part gets its “training” through movement. This training begins in the womb and continues through toddlerhood with automatic, instinctual reflex and rhythmic movements. Among their many “jobs” these innate movements literally “grow” the brain and nervous system and determine our ability to interact with the world. Our reflex and rhythmic movements also help train the vestibular (balance) system, the visual, hearing, touch and proprioceptive systems and sensory processing abilities. The importance of the childhood movements to all of our future life skills, especially learning and relationship skills, cannot be understated.

For more information read the article: The Link Between Movement and Learning  

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The brain responds positively to movement whether or not medication is involved. However, if you are planning to eliminate medications, you must work closely with your health care provider. Usually the best option is to slowly and gradually reduce medications as the benefits of the movement take effect.

According to psychiatrist Harald Blomberg, MD, when enough of the proper kinds of movement are given, the brain often responds by producing balanced amounts of neurotransmitters on its own.

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If your child is struggling in any area of life Neurodevelopmental Movement will likely be helpful. Nearly all children with learning delays or emotional and social challenges have neuro-sensory-motor delays or dysfunctions. The more dysfunction or “glitches” in the NSM system, the more difficulties there are with learning, emotions and behavior.

Some parents intuitively know that the way their child moves looks somewhat un-natural or awkward. Other children are coordinated, athletic and energetic, but still struggling in school or with behavior. Either way, if your child is struggling in any area of life, there could very well be underlying stresses in the neuro-sensory-motor (NSM) system that can be helped by doing Neurodevelopmental Movement.

The movement patterns of a child or adult provide a window into the brain and nervous system. A trained movement specialist can look at specific movement patterns in a group of children and without any prior background information, can reliably determine which children are having difficulties.

What is most important to understand is that at any age we can provide specific movements to transform the neuro-sensory-motor system and this results in better functioning in all areas of life.

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