“These movements make powerful changes in my clients and help improve their motor skills, emotional regulation, cognitive functioning and self-esteem!” 

 

Maggie Hall, OTR/L, Atlanta, GA

 

Testimonials

Video Testimonials

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Testimonials from Brain and Sensory Foundations Course

(formerly, Neurodevelopmental Movement Training)

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"This course is invaluable. It explains a lot of why we have sensory processing issues. It will help me get to foundational underlying causes of disorganization."  Marly MacDonald, OT

"I really enjoyed this course. There is so much relevance to the therapy we do as OTs. . . this is another tool, maybe even a missing link, to making positive outcomes in our treatment."  Tiffany Alters, OT

"I feel my expectations were highly exceeded. I would recommend this to others."  Marianna Bruneau, SLP

"I greatly enjoyed the hands-on nature of the course, the explanations and the manual. Thank you." Joni Watanabe, OT

I experienced deep changes as a result of the reflex integration. I observed amazing changes in myself and other classmates. ~ Rochelle C.

I highly recommend this course.  I am not officially trained in education or therapy, so I was nervous the material might be difficult to understand or implement in a practical way. However, I did understand!  It was all so eye opening. ~ C. Morton, parent

Dear Sonia,

After a summer of doing her movements consistently, 5-6 days a week (10 minutes to 30 minutes) Maggie's increased stamina is amazing!  A 1/2 hr swim would wear her out last spring—now we not only go swimming but she takes a demanding dance class a few hours later and keeps up just fine. Maggie herself says, "Lots of things are easier now.” Maggie is now able to concentrate longer, is less likely to get frustrated, and she is more willing to take on challenges.

Taking the Neurodevelopmental Movement Training before doing sessions with Maggie gave me a base for the work I was about to do with her. I was able to have a deeper understanding of the intention of the work and the direction it would take us. It helped me to understand this as a work of the heart and has helped me to keep it playful and light. I believe that I have also brought my own energy level up a few notches since beginning this work (yes, I do it too!)

Thank you,

B. Peterson, parent

The information was amazing! I would recommend this course to parents, therapists and strangers even! ~ J. Schahler, OT

I loved your gentle, loving approach to applying the techniques. Thank you for including play in your activities. I would highly recommend your course to parents, teachers and therapists. ~ K. Rupp, OT

Testimonials from Parents

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Dear Mrs. Story:

Thank you for taking the time to assess my son Andy’s reflex integration needs.  I would not have believed the effectiveness of the reflex integration without actually witnessing the changes in him during the past four months.

We have tried to help Andy in every way possible without regard to expense.  He was already a bright and happy child, but had been diagnosed with moderately severe ADHD, a receptive language disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder.  We have tried every conventional therapy offered by the medical community to help him as well as tutoring.

Now, in conjunction with cognitive therapy, we practice the reflex integration exercises five days a week.   I have also started some hugging exercises in the morning before he goes to school to help him feel secure and relaxed.  We are seeing great gains since we started your exercises.  I can literally feel him calming down as he does the exercises.  The exercises have offered us a bonding time and we try to have fun while working on them.

I am amazed at the things he has accomplished as a result of the reflex integration exercises, including catching objects being thrown to him.  His balance has improved and he enjoys riding his bicycle without encouragement to do so.

Most importantly, for the first time since he began school, he now tests at grade level in every area except one.  And the one was only two points off.  This is after testing as low as two grade levels behind in previous years.  We are joyfully amazed and the improvement has come just in time before he starts middle school.

Socially we are seeing changes.  Andy has begun to join in activities at Boy Scouts and with friends at school.  We are beginning to see some maturing and consciousness of himself around other people making him more socially acceptable to others and not that “different kid”.

Thank you, thank you, you have given us a means of helping our son and given us hope for his future education and successful life.

Sincerely,
Beth Dougherty

Gabriel is a 7-year-old boy, in first grade, and a diagnosis of PDD. He has multiple challenges, including auditory processing disorder, dysgraphia, significant expressive language delay as well as memory and attention issues. He is also challenged socially due to his communication disorders, and has difficulty staying still in class. The following time-line shows his progress as he worked with the Neurodevelopmental Movement. His home movement sessions with parents include 3-4 times per week of reflex integration for 20-30 minutes, plus 7-10 minutes nightly of Rhythmic Movement Training™ (RMT)

Dear Sonia,

Thank you so much for working with Chase.  He LOVES when you do movements with him!  I have seen amazing growth in him since we started last January.  Chase has much more stamina than he used to—one active class a day would wipe him out before, now he has a day where he has three active classes—Aikido, Hip Hop Dance, and Music and his energy doesn't flag until after music at 6:30 pm!  He could never have lasted that long before!  I also notice that he has much more physical control over his movements, less flopping around and more in calm control.  He is able to follow the complicated body directions in Aikido that before would have been to complex for him to attempt without frustration.

Chase has always struggled with handwriting and letter reversals.  We both noticed that when he takes the time to do the hand warm-ups before writing it makes a huge difference!

I've also seen him make great strides in managing his emotions when they get intense and out of control.  He's able to slow down and process them and reign in his overreactions.  He's happier.  He notices that he's more ready for stuff when we do the movements and occasionally will choose to do them himself to "get his body ready" for something.  I see a lot more thought before reaction to things now, which is wonderful, needless to say!

Chase is also taking B vitamin supplements which seem to also make a difference, but I do believe that the Rhythmic Movements and Reflex Integration has been important to his success, energy, ability to handle things and growth.

Thanks so much for sharing all the information and movement activities with us.  It has been well worth our time and energy!

Dawn B.

Working with Sonia Story has been life-changing for my family.  My 3-year-old daughter, Maile, has had a fear of heights since she was 18 months old.  We have no idea where this fear came from. Prior to working with Sonia, Maile would become paralyzed with fear on playground structures, bridges, staircases, anyplace where she could see through the structure.  She would freeze and start to scream.

Integrating Maile's fear paralysis reflex through movement and play changed her response to this fear drastically in just one session. After our session with Sonia, I brought Maile to a playground where her fear response was always triggered. This time she used the techniques Sonia had taught us to work through the fear and walk across the see-through platform. There was no screaming and she was the one who remembered to use the techniques with no hints or prompting from me.  I was amazed and delighted and I think Maile was too.

Maile has been in several other situations that have shown me she has overcome her fear of heights. There is no doubt in my mind that this is completely due to working with Sonia Story. She is a gifted healer! Thank you, Sonia!

Sarah E.

Hi Sonia,

I am excited to be able to tell you that I am working with Emma at least 5 days out of the week on movement exercises.  We are both noticing a difference in her overall ability to cope, her attitude (an increase in joy), being more alert and an increase in her ability to stay on task.  So thank you again for passing on the knowledge you have learned.

Connie T.

At the July, 2007 Rhythmic Movement Training with psychiatrist Harald Blomberg, MD, we got to see the work in action when a mother came with her one year old daughter, Sophie. Sophie was born premature, had complications in the hospital, and severe developmental delay. She had no control of her head and could not keep it from flopping around. Her development was at the stage of a newborn infant. According to her mother, her hands were nearly always in closed fists and out to either side of her head. Sophie had never walked, crawled, sat up or even rolled from back to front.

With Sophie on her back Dr. Blomberg began the rhythmic movements with her. We could see the intense concentration on her face while she experienced the stimulating movements. Within minutes Sophie started doing things her mother had never seen her do. She turned her head back and forth from side to side on the mat. Her hands relaxed and began opening and closing. After about 15 minutes, while Dr. Blomberg continued the movements, Sophie grabbed a necklace her mother dangled in front of her and she brought it to her mouth. Her first midline movement! (Midline movements are critical to proper brain and body development.)

Then Dr. Blomberg did the movements with Sophie on her belly. Her legs started kicking and she lifted her head off the mat—movements she had never done before. Sophie smiled and made cooing noises at her large audience. After a while Sophie found her thumb (another midline movement) and started sucking on it for the first time. At the end of a half hour session, Sophie's mother lifted her into a sitting position and Sophie held her head up on her own for a couple of seconds. Sophie’s mother was overjoyed. Dr. Blomberg's students were inspired.

According to Dr. Blomberg, with continued proper movement activities for brain stimulation, it is possible for Sophie to grow and develop normally.

© Sonia Story, 2007

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. • Phone: 360-732-4356

Our son has ADHD.  He has been working with Sonia for 9 months.  We have seen some great improvements in his physical coordination and emotional state.

Just recently we experienced a great leap of improvement in our son's ability to engage in his gymnastics class.  He has always enjoyed it but has never been able to perform many of the basic movements.  This past week he took a big leap forward with full coordination in summersaults, balance beam and many trampoline movements.  He was also able to follow instruction better and he was beaming from ear to ear.  As a mother I can only say it took a lot of effort to not cry right then and there.

We see such improvement in our son in many areas.  He looks forward to our sessions with Sonia and trusts her tremendously.  She has a wonderful temperament with children.  We are so pleased to have found her and the program that she offers.

Cynthia B.

Case Study by Laura Parker
Rhythmic Movement Training™ Provider
Owner Hands On Learning Solutions • http://hol-solutions.com

Shared with permission

How Rhythmic Movement Training Helps Boy with Cerebral Palsy

I've been using RMT along with several other programs to assist children with learning challenges. ??I thought what I was seeing was significant and wanted to share this. ??I have been working with a young man who is 12 for almost a year. He has Cerebral Palsy which affects every muscle in his body, his ocular-motor control, and speech. He is in special ed.??When he first came to me for educational help I found that because of his extremely slow processing and difficulty with large and small motor skills educational programs would just not work for him. ??We've spent the last 10-month doing RMT and reflex integration coupled with sound stimulation (iLs program). We also did some work with his ear dominance. ??From working with him over the last 10 months his verbal response time increased from a 6 second delay to just shy of what would be considered normal speed. He originally could not hold a conversation or talk on the telephone. Now he talks and talks and talks, and can hold a give and take conversation on the phone. ??At school he has had meltdown in the past that would end up in full restraint by staff. He had one melt down in the last 10 months and did not require full restraint. The school staff were amazed they were able to talk him through it and he responded. ??At the start he could not balance well standing on both feet, could not catch a large ball with both hands, and of course could not catch with a single hand. His movements were slow and jolting. ??He uses a balance board now and can catch varying sizes of ball with both hands and single hands from 12" dia. down to 5" dia. He now walks into the room dribbling a ball, can do jumping jacks, and intricate patterns of movement. Handwriting has also improved greatly. ??Many of his reflexes have integrated and his speech is clearer and more complex, he can track objects better, completes his homework on his own and has excelled academically.

So now he's beginning educational therapy with me. We are working on his processing speed for movement and oral responses such as catching a bean bag to the tick of a metronome while reciting the ABCs with me. We take turns so he is saying every other letter. His starting speed was 70 and I was able to get him up to 90. I stopped and integrated reflexes associated with the face and hands, about 5 different activities, and went back to tossing the bean bag and saying the ABCs. Both my assistant and his mom notice a huge improvement in timing, pronunciation and accurate recall of the ABCs instantly. This has happened two days in a row. He was even able to go up to a neuro-typical processing speed today of 120! Totally normal speed for both motor and verbal responses!

Autism Case Studies

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Case Study by Erin Roon, MA CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist
Certified Nutrition Consultant, Feeding Specialist
Rhythmic Movement Training™ Provider
Horizons Developmental Remediations Center, www.horizonsdrc.com

Shared with permission

Name: I.

Dates of Sessions in 2010: July 21; August 12 and 16; October 11; November 1 and 29; December 9 and 17

Dates of Sessions in 2011: January 3, 14 and 20; February 14 and 22; March 7 and 29; April 13 and 21. I also met with parents alone one time per month to update progress at home

Relevant Information:
I. is a 6 year old boy diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. I. attends kindergarten 5 – ½ days per week. He and his parents have been my clients for 4 years and we have been working on developing missing milestones and building relationships.

Client Needs:
He is a very intelligent boy that has a hard time seeing another's perspective and interacting socially with other children. He struggles with visual processing and gross and fine motor tasks. He also has periodic flair ups of yeast overgrowth and gut issues that his parents treat through biomedical intervention. I. is also prone to anxiety.

RMT Movements:
I started with RMT passive movements with I. I wanted to eventually work toward having him do the Fabulous Four, but knew I needed to begin with the passive movements for him. I also wanted to get to the point where we were working on the Fear Paralysis movements. As I. was able to tolerate longer periods of movements I slowly added in more passive movements and one active movement. I checked these each time we met and over the course of a few months. I. was moving more rhythmically and he didn't seem as stiff. I began seeing some head movement which was absent when we started. In February I began having I. do more active movements. In March I added some work on the Fear Paralysis and Moro Reflexes, Facial reflexes and Tracking. I. really enjoys the rhythmic movements and is an active participant. I selected the most recent movements as a way to begin working on the Fear Paralysis and to improve his motor and visual processing difficulties.

RMT Movements at Home:
Each time I introduce a new movement I teach the parents and have them begin working on it at home. I. is doing the movements about 3 times per week on average.

Observed Differences:
The first differences that I began to see with I. were more fluid movements. He became less stiff and more receptive to movements. He was also able to communicate how he liked the passive movements done (i.e., fast or slow). The next changes that parents and I began to notice were more of a sense of calm. He began to show more flexibility and willingness to do what other people wanted to do. I also started to see a change in his fine and gross motor skills. He loves to draw and color now which he did not want to do six months ago. He is getting better at hopping, jumping and riding his bike. I am also beginning to see more risk taking in a positive sense. His visual perceptual skills are slowly developing, but I think with some of the new movements we will continue to see progress in this area. Overall parents and I are seeing a child who is more aware of his environment and the people in it. He has become increasingly interested in other people and will ask about them and their interests. I can almost see his mind work when he is with me and asks about my family or experiences.

What have I learned:
I think the biggest thing I have learned from I. is that changes can be very subtle, but over time those small changes can add up to big improvements. It is also proof positive that the more you do something the faster the results. I am definitely moving forward with rhythmic movements with I. as they are making a difference.

Case Study by Michelle VanderHeide, BSW,
RDI® Program Certified Consultant
Rhythmic Movement Training™ Provider
Horizons Developmental Remediations Center, www.horizonsdrc.com

Shared with permission

Name: B.

Dates of sessions: Once a month since July, 2010 continuing until May, 2011.

B. is an 8 year old girl, with autism and Chrone's disease, who attends school full time. She is in an autism classroom and is brought to specials (music, gym, art) with her neuro-typical peers.

B. has limited words, using 1-2 word phrases but is slowing picking up more words. B. has a tendency to walk on her toes, seeks out heavy pressure throughout her body, but more specifically to her face. Transitions are difficult, especially when needing to leave mom. She rarely uses eye contact and tends to run when faced with uncertainty. B. is not connected with her body and has a hard time moving in regulated patterns—her movements are chaotic. B. had a major gag reflex, vomiting whenever she was at the dentist. She also struggled with becoming car sick. Her overall muscle tone is very tense. B. is also a bed wetter. B. is easily angered.

RMT Movements:
I chose to start with the Fear Paralysis Reflex due to the high levels of anxiety B. demonstrates through her difficulty leaving mom, tendency to run and lack of eye contact/facial gazing. Facial gazing is more prevalent with mom, but clearly less integrated with others, even if she knows them well.

I also had mom working on the passive movements with B. I chose these because they are ground movements, not requiring her to be up on her knees yet. I also felt these began working on more reflexes at one time. Rocking on one's back was specifically assigned to help regulate the vestibular system and to bring her off her toes. (TLR and Babinski) Overall, I wanted B. to feel the rhythm and learn to move with regulated movements all while releasing some tension.

In February, 2011, I added facial reflex integration to help alleviate B.'s need for heavy pressure on her face and to help articulation and speech develop more easily. I also worked with the Fear Paralysis Reflex for anxiety and speech development.

B.'s Mom was very diligent in doing all the movements at home on a daily basis.

Observations:
• More awareness of how to move her body
• More willingness to leave mom
• Increased flexibility
• Gag reflex no longer problem
• Decreased toe walking
• Decreased anxiety
• Decreased need for heavy pressure (no longer wearing tight fitting clothing, such as bathing suits, under her clothes and no longer jumping on trampoline for hours at a time)

B. and her mom are a motivation to me. They both work very hard and I am amazed by what improvements can be made over time with such diligence.

B. had a very hard time starting off with many of the movements and did not like the passive movements at first. We started off very slowly and have increased how long the movements last over time. She is working on doing some of them actively, but these movements are still uncoordinated at this time.

B. showed a lot anxiety initially, and this still existed after working with me for several years prior to using Rhythmic Movement Training™. B. now has much less anxiety. She runs off less, she is more willing to work with me without mom present, and she is much less impulsive overall. She has come off her toes some, which is a great start!

Case Study by Nicole Beurkens, PhD
Limited Licensed Psychologist
Rhythmic Movement Training Provider
Horizons Developmental Remediations Center, www.horizonsdrc.com

Shared with permission

Name: C.W.

Dates of Sessions – Bi-weekly from August 2010 – April 2011

Client Description
C.W. is a 12-year-old boy diagnosed with autism. He has a history of significant anxiety, communication, relational, and behavioral issues. While C.W. is verbal, he tends to exhibit very mechanical speech and perseverates on repeatedly asking questions when he is anxious. C.W.'s parents removed him from the public school setting two-years ago due to him becoming overly stressed in that environment, and due to low expectations on the part of school staff members. Since that time he has been homeschooled by his mother, with an emphasis on developing emotional and behavioral regulation, relationships with family members, and better brain-body connectivity.
C.W. has had years of occupational therapy to address gross and fine motor deficits, as well as sensory processing issues. He and his family also participate in the Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) program here at our clinic.

Client's Needs
At the time I initiated RMT with C.W. there were some specific issues I wanted to address. C.W. never seemed to be able to relax and feel truly calm and at ease. He also became overwhelmed when engaging in physical movements, particularly those that involved his feet leaving the ground. He had significant vestibular sensitivity, and would become dis-regulated with even slight turning of the swing, for example.

Movements
Upon initial reflex integration assessment, C.W. demonstrated moderate to significant activation of all reflexes. I started out using the 5 passive movements with him.
Three months after beginning passive movements, C.W. was able to continue some movements on his own.

I progressed to using movements for integrating the Moro and Fear Paralysis reflexes.

Home Movements
C.W.'s mother and father faithfully implemented the movements at home at least 5 days per week. They started out with the 5 passive movements for 5 minutes each day, since that was what he could comfortably tolerate. Parents then slowly increased the time spent on movements until he was engaging in 15 minutes a day. We then reduced the time spent on those and began including the other movements as well. They have continued doing 15 minutes of movement at least 5 days per week for the past 9 months.

Differences Noted
Since beginning RMT with C.W. I have noted a number of changes in him. He is more willing to engage in activities requiring physical movement, including games such as catch, going for walks, and climbing on equipment at the playground. He is also better able to regulate his emotional responses and stress level, particularly in the face of changes or having to do something non-preferred. C.W. exhibits a number of ocular motor problems, such as eye tracking deficiencies and inability to visually fix on objects. Since starting RMT his overall motor development has improved to the point where we can now specifically work on these ocular motor issues through exercises and activities. One of the biggest areas of improvement has been in vestibular activities. He can have his feet leave the ground to climb a ladder, for example, without becoming fearful. He is also able to engage in moderate amounts of spinning on the platform swing without becoming nauseous and upset.

At home, parents have noted improvements as well. They find him more willing to engage in activities requiring physical movement, and he is enjoying time at the playground, on his 3-wheeled bike, and during free play at the gym. He is more spontaneously asking to help with chores and activities at home, and is becoming more aware of and interested in a wider variety of activities in his environment. Parents have also noted the impact of the Moro and Fear Paralysis integration activities on his ability to relax his body and mind. He is able to sit quietly and choose activities of interest to him without becoming anxious or upset. He is also starting to recognize when he is tired, and will initiate taking a short nap during the day, or going to bed earlier in the evening on his own!

Something I Have Learned
Working with C.W. has solidified for me that you cannot work on higher-level skills, such as ocular motor development, without working on integrating basic reflexes first. He could never even engage in the activities to strengthen visual tracking and fixation prior to working on RMT, but by laying those foundations we can now make some progress in that area. I have also learned that improved body awareness and physical coordination can come from working even with just the passive movements, which is exciting for the many severely impacted children on my caseload who cannot yet engage in active movements.

Case Study by Laura Parker
Rhythmic Movement Training™ Provider
Owner Hands On Learning Solutions • http://hol-solutions.com

Shared with permission

How Rhythmic Movement Training Helps Boy with Emotional Development

A young man who was 11 years old and diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome came to me for educational therapy for comprehension issues. The parents reported and it was observed that this young man did not appear the have the capability to express emotion or recognize emotions in others. He presented with a straight face showing no signs of emotions at any time. His answers were one to two words. He walked with an unusual gate in which is hips seemed to be locked up so that he would swing his hips excessively in order to walk. His parents reported that he played basketball on a team and that when he runs he drags his left leg behind him.

We began with RMT rocking to get him started. Four days later each parent separately visited my office to ask/report that something odd had happened. The boys walking gate had normalized and there was not stiffness observed in his hips as well as his running was normal and he no longer drug his left leg behind him. This improvement ended up being permanent.

As we began to work with him on educational issues he began to express emotions about three weeks later. At first he displayed happiness, excitement, and sadness. Then he wrote his mother a card that was full of loving expressions - something his mother had never seen from him. The parents were amazed.

As we continued to work on educational therapy and RMT reflex integration the boy continued to grow in his ability to express emotions. He began to express his opinion of things for the first time. He talked frequently about his annoyance of his brothers for teasing him, his like or dislike for things, and his love for his parents. He became considerate and empathetic towards his little sister and started to demonstrate patience and would often comfort her when she was upset.

The last few weeks we worked with him he would walk into the office acting like a clown, cracking jokes, laughing, being silly and often commenting or asking about things. His mother described what had happened to him as if he had woken up.

By the end of our three months working together he had successfully reached or passed his goals in improving logic and reasoning, processing speed, auditory processing, and comprehension. The extra bonus we weren't expecting was the enormous growth in emotional connectivity.

Shared with permission

Case Study by Erin Roon, MA CCC-SLP

Speech Language Pathologist
Certified Nutrition Consultant, Feeding Specialist
Rhythmic Movement Training™ Provider
Horizons Developmental Remediations Center, www.horizonsdrc.com

Name: G.

Dates of Sessions in 2010 June 30; July 21; August 10 and 18; October 13 and 21; November 4 and 18; December 10

Dates of Sessions in 2011: January 13 and 27; February 10 and 23; March 10 and 23; April 14 and 28; I also met with parents alone one time per month to update progress at home.

Relevant Information:G. is a nine year old boy diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. He attends a private school 3 hours per day and although he is considered a second grader he is working at a kindergarten curriculum level. Prior to this year G. was homeschooled. G. and his family have been my clients for 3 ½ years. Prior to implementing RMT G. and his parents were engaged in treatment to improve missing developmental milestones and develop relationships. G. also received treatment for sensory based difficulties and tried medication for attention deficit issues. G. is currently on a diet that limits sugar and dairy intake and he avoids certain grains.

 Client Needs: G. presented as a child with abundant energy. Many of his movements were “chaotic” in nature and he did not have a sense of his body in space. He would sit for very short periods and then dart off to something else. Often times he would request an activity, but by the time the adult would get the materials he would only participate for 30 seconds and then be off to another task or making a new request. G. was very impulsive and seemed to act without any regard for what the consequences might be. He was also very sensory defensive and would scream if anyone tried to physically direct him or give him light touch. Suspended equipment was not tolerated and he could not ride a bike. G. often used a very loud voice and had extreme difficulty with listening and following directions. His verbal communication was limited to single words and was typically used to make demands. It was difficult to keep G. engaged in activities for more than a few minutes at a time.

RMT Movements: I started in June 2010 with the passive movements from RMT. We started with doing movements for about 10 seconds each and worked up from there. By the time I saw G. in July we were able to do six different rhythmic movements for up to 30 seconds each. Over the course of the next few months (August and September) G. began carrying the paper with the movements around with him and requesting that his Dad do this at home with him several times per day.

 As we progressed I switched from doing solely passive movements to active and passive movements, as well as the Fear Paralysis movements. Each time I would see G. he had improved from the previous time in his ability to do the movement and the rhythm that he was able to use with them.

 RMT Movements at Home: After each in-person session I would assign the new movements for G. to do at home. G.’s father was the primary person doing the movements with G. and they were done at least one time every day. Often times many of the movements were done multiple times a day at G.’s request. G. started out very slowly with the movements at home, but his dad was able to quickly extend the amount of time they did the movements. The family sent me video of the G. and his dad doing the movements on a weekly basis so that I could monitor progress over time and offer corrections/suggestions for doing the movements.

Observed Differences:  The first noticeable differences were in pacing, as G. began to slow his overall pace down. His need to create chaos and move all the time began to be reduced. This included a reduction in his impulsivity. The next big change that was noted by myself was that G. was able to play on suspended equipment for 30 –60 seconds without crying or attempting to jump off. The amount of time he does this has continued to increase and he now chooses to go in our suspended lycra hammock swing each time he visits and has climbed by himself to the very top layer which is suspended about 7 feet in the air. His parents also noted that he was now riding his bike on his own (this was in late September) (he started riding a tandem bike early in the summer). Around Christmas time we started noting changes in G.’s communication. His articulation improved slightly and he had started to offer his thoughts and initiate conversation. His phrases are getting longer and his sentence structure continues to improve. G. is attending for longer and longer periods of time and can sit and do a fine motor task for up to 10 minutes without leaving. He loves to play games and do art projects which were impossible to do with him prior to RMT. G. no longer complains about the clothes that he wears and seems to be transitioning between seasons and clothing much easier. His willingness to try new foods has also greatly improved. One of the biggest successes is G.’s ability to attend school, participate and actually learn some academics. In fact he has done so well at school that recently his time has been increased to 3 hours and he is attending lunch and playing at recess with his peers. The most recent development for G. is that he is finally beginning to recognize pain when he hurts himself and giving hugs and kisses to his parents. He was not doing this prior to RMT. G.’s overall awareness and presence in the world has greatly increased.

 What have I learned:  The biggest things I have learned from doing rhythmic movements with G. is to start small, go slow and work on it a little every day. I finally feel like after 3 ½ years that I have found the key to helping G. move forward with his development. He still has his ups and downs, but we are seeing a lot more good days than bad at this point. His parents are so committed to helping him and doing this with him every day and his progress shows this. G. is a perfect study for the power of rhythmic movements. I cannot wait to see what the next 6 months bring for him.

Case Study shared with permission from 

Nicole Beurkens, PhD, Limited Licensed Psychologist, Rhythmic Movement Training Provider

Horizons Developmental Remediations Center, www.horizonsdrc.com

Dates of Sessions – Bi-weekly from July 2010 – April 2011

Client Description

G.A. is an 8-year-old boy diagnosed with autism, motor apraxia, and verbal apraxia. He has a history of significant communication issues, as well as hyperactivity and sensory integration deficits. G.A. is primarily non-verbal and has great difficult attending to instruction or engaging in activities with others. He attends school full-time in a self-contained autism classroom. G.A. has had many years of occupational therapy to address gross and fine motor deficits, as well as sensory processing issues. He and his mother also participate in the Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) program here at our clinic.

Client’s Needs

There were a number of specific reasons I initiated RMT with G.A.. The first was to help him organize his body more effectively so he could attend and participate more functionally in activities. I also was interested in helping integrate his reflexes so he would be more able to process sensation in the environment without becoming overwhelmed. G.A. has a history of significant visual processing difficulties, although visual acuity has always been assessed as “normal”. I was hopeful the movements would have some impact on his ability to visually make sense of his environment. Finally, a goal was to help support his brain-body connectivity for the purpose of motor planning, particularly in the area of oral motor planning needed for speech.

Movements

Upon initial reflex integration assessment, G.A. demonstrated moderate to significant activation of all reflexes. I started out using the 5 passive movements with him, since he was able to tolerate them but was unable to move his own body to do any active movements.

Five months after beginning passive movements, G.A. was able to continue some movements on his own. He still requires assistance to initiate these movements, but can continue them in a rhythmic way once begun.

I then progressed to using movements for integrating the Moro and Fear Paralysis reflexes and two months later to Facial reflex integration movements.

Home Movements

G.A.’s mother has been implementing the movements at home 4-5 days per week. She started out with the 5 passive movements for 3 minutes each day, since that was all he could tolerate. As time went on she was able to slowly work up to approximately 12 minutes a day of movements. Currently they are doing 10 minutes of passive and active movements daily, in addition to the other reflex integration movements All together, they do approximately 15 minutes of movement work at least 5 days per week.

Differences Noted

Since beginning RMT, G.A. has made some notable changes. He is less disorganized in his movement patterns, and better able to sit and attend to games and other tasks. His vision seems to have improved, as he is now able to sort items by visual attributes, something he was previously unable to do. G.A. no longer races around flapping his hands constantly, and mouthing of his hands and objects is much reduced. In the area of speech, G.A. is consistently using one-word labels for familiar objects. His intelligibility is not perfect, but he is understandable to most adults.

At home his mother has noted improvements as well. He is not constantly chewing or mouthing items around the house, although this does crop up periodically. G.A. is much more able to attend and engage around daily activities such as setting the table, taking off his clothes, and using the bathroom. He is using one-word labels consistently at home, and has even made some attempts at 2-word phrases. His mother also reports that he has recently tried more new foods, something which he is not generally comfortable doing.

Working with G.A. has helped me to see that even highly disorganized children can become more organized when their reflexes begin to integrate. Even a small amount of passive movement has the capacity to stimulate areas of the brain that lead to better awareness and body regulation. G.A. has also shown me that oral motor development can be positively impacted as a result of these movements. We had done oral motor work in the past, but without the underlying reflex work to help it “stick” we did not get much in the way of results. Now that the underlying issues are resolving, he is able to participate in higher-level motor activities to help even more with the speech apraxia.

Testimonials from Teens & Adults

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My 78 year old uncle was profoundly affected in a very positive way by using Rhythmic Movement Training (RMT). He suffered from Parkinson's Disease and was rapidly declining. He was losing his ability to get his legs into a car and was using a walker, even in the house. After 3-4 months of RMT, he was riding in cars and getting in and out without assistance. He not only stopped using the walker, but was able to climb stairs. RMT drastically improved the quality of his life and gave him the independence we so easily take for granted.

Linda Vettrus

I have Parkinson’s disease and scoliosis. I suffered from depression and anxiety too. Sonia worked with me using Brain Gym, Rhythmic Movements and Reflex Integration. This helped my eye-hand coordination. The movements helped strengthen my legs and my core balance. My whole quality of life has improved. I have a positive attitude and I feel more engaged with life. I felt so good one day after a session with Sonia that I got back into playing the piano. Sonia has been a great help in my life.

Joyce M.

Thank you Sonia. Normally I feel scared and stressed out when I take tests in Math and Science. But this time I did the exercises you taught me before the WASL test. I felt so much calmer, and it made me think more clearly. In previous years I had trouble with the WASL, this year I scored much higher than ever before and easily passed all my tests.
Derrick L., 11th grade

Dear Sonia,

Thank you so much for helping me with movement. The movements really helped me get through the school year and helped me focus more on school and school work. I will definitely continue to do them next year.

Kallie H., 10th grade

Testimonials from Rhytmic Movement Training Classes

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I have completed three levels of training [RMT 1, 2, and 3] with Sonia Story and have found her presentation of the Rhythmic Movement Training very helpful to me in demystifying the importance of reflexes and movement in learning and development. Not only do I have a better understanding of how to test for retained reflexes, I also have learned some effective intervention tools when they are needed.

Alan P Pearson, OD MEd PhD FCOVD

This was a very empowering experience as a parent of a child with ASD. It puts me in charge. . .
AB, parent

We are already starting to see some results in our son who was brain damaged as an infant. His memory and his confidence are increasing and the movements have a calming affect on him... His teacher has noticed a change in him also... Tiffany Hill Fallbrook, California

We are getting wonderful results from working with your reflex exercises. I am amazed at the immediate changes in severely involved autistic children. The calming and eye contact has been amazing. Also, a child with a past history of dyslexia and dyspraxia, is showing excellent eye teaming improvements with the exercises.
Maxine Hoffman, PT, Ohio
The RMT courses offered a manageable home program for the parents of my clients for carryover from occupational therapy sessions, For the first time ever in my career, I feel that I now have the tools to treat any child. I am incorporating RMT into all of my treatment programs.
Laura Faye Clubok, MS, OTR/L, On The Other Hand Therapy
Great practical course.
Zahra Lalani, OT, BC Canada
RMT provided for me "the missing piece" in my practice of school-based OT.
Becky Beals, OT, Michigan
The course was great. It moved quickly with a lot of opportunities to move and practice what we learned.
Michelle Vanderheide, Michigan
A practical missing link.
Jane Delehanty, OTR, MFT, California

We’ve seen profound changes in our two daughters since we’ve been doing RMT. They are happier, healthier, less emotionally volatile and better able to focus on schoolwork. Our teen daughter was highly reactive to loud noises. Now she is far less sensitive, more outgoing with her peers, and much more calm. ~ Judy S.

 

 

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