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PeterPan

Integrating retained reflexes

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I wanted to start a thread where we could dump what we're doing. I've had a couple OTs or PTs work on reflexes, but then I dig and find more they didn't hit. I've been using this list https://blombergrmt.us/reflexes/  He lists 14

-tonic labyrinthe

-landau

-symmetrical tonic neck

-spinal galant

-spinal pereze

-amphibian/crawling

-babinkski

-plantar

-assymmetrical tonic neck

-fear paralysis

-moro

-babkin

-grasp/Palmer

-hands pulling

I've been working on #12, Babkin reflex, with my ds, because it was one that I knew no one had actually checked for or addressed. It's associated with mouthing when you stroke their hands and causes speech and handwriting problems. I decided to treat it with brushing and stroking, mainly because any form of brushing was SO agitating to him that I figured we'd probably get somewhere. There's a reflex on the cheeks (name?) that is set off with brushing/stroking and that was also the treatment. 

So we've been doing that brushing (nail brush, boar bristle brush, stroking, firm kneading) usually twice a day, and the mouthing he used to do has stopped. He's also been having amazing language gains lately, but that's probably more the growth spurts he's been having. But for the mouthing to stop, that is more direct. It had gone on a long time and now it's just gone. If you've got a kid who mouths, you know what I'm talking about, lol. 

Now I'm moving on to #13, grasp/palmer, and going to see if I can figure out what to do for that. The Pyramid of Potential people have a fascinating youtube video where they show how it might look. At this point, I'm tired of people clearing him on reflexes, saying they're not issues, and then realizing they are. This grasp/palmer gig is directly correlated to writing issues and he still has significant issues with writing. The test I've seen some people saying to do online is to put thumb to finger for each finger separately, but I need a video to know what it's supposed to LOOK like by a totally integrated, typical person. My fingers curve along with the finger I'm bending to touch to my thumb, and I have the thick middle finger callous the PoP lady mentions, so I'm assuming I'm flagging there. Haven't yet figured out what to do about it, so maybe I'll break down and buy her $35 video. 

Anybody else working on reflexes right now? :)

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17 hours ago, PeterPan said:

I've been working on #12, Babkin reflex, with my ds, because it was one that I knew no one had actually checked for or addressed. It's associated with mouthing when you stroke their hands and causes speech and handwriting problems. I decided to treat it with brushing and stroking, mainly because any form of brushing was SO agitating to him that I figured we'd probably get somewhere. There's a reflex on the cheeks (name?) that is set off with brushing/stroking and that was also the treatment. 

So we've been doing that brushing (nail brush, boar bristle brush, stroking, firm kneading) usually twice a day, and the mouthing he used to do has stopped. He's also been having amazing language gains lately, but that's probably more the growth spurts he's been having. But for the mouthing to stop, that is more direct. It had gone on a long time and now it's just gone. If you've got a kid who mouths, you know what I'm talking about, lol. 

Now I'm moving on to #13, grasp/palmer, and going to see if I can figure out what to do for that. The Pyramid of Potential people have a fascinating youtube video where they show how it might look. At this point, I'm tired of people clearing him on reflexes, saying they're not issues, and then realizing they are. This grasp/palmer gig is directly correlated to writing issues and he still has significant issues with writing. The test I've seen some people saying to do online is to put thumb to finger for each finger separately, but I need a video to know what it's supposed to LOOK like by a totally integrated, typical person. My fingers curve along with the finger I'm bending to touch to my thumb, and I have the thick middle finger callous the PoP lady mentions, so I'm assuming I'm flagging there. Haven't yet figured out what to do about it, so maybe I'll break down and buy her $35 video. 

Anybody else working on reflexes right now? ?

I own the PoP video and watched it tonight to refresh my memory.  I've been meaning to start it with my older kids, especially my DD currently in speech and OT.  I think I've seen a YouTube video of the same exercise she demonstrated on the video for the Palmar reflex.  I will try to remember to look tomorrow.  Feel free to remind me.  That said, I did notice that the download of her video is on sale for $15 right now if you want the whole video cheaper.

I've been wanting to work on the Babkin reflex as well and never considered brushing.  Did you use a video to demonstrate what to do?  The Babkin and Palmar are both reflexes that I am sure DD has retained (along with many others).  I am now wondering if it is linked to some of the oral motor struggles we are currently working through as well. 

I have some other resources I am using as well to work on reflexes that I can come back and link later this week.  I am running out of time today.

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6 hours ago, Pegs said:

We integrated DS' Moro reflex with rollerskating.

Oh that is a hoot! It seems so DANGEROUS to take ds rollerskating that I haven't tried. Was your ds wobbly at first? How did it show up with the skating and how did you know it was improving? Totally fascinating.

7 hours ago, Bookworm4 said:

I own the PoP video and watched it tonight to refresh my memory.  I've been meaning to start it with my older kids, especially my DD currently in speech and OT.  I think I've seen a YouTube video of the same exercise she demonstrated on the video for the Palmar reflex.  I will try to remember to look tomorrow.

Ooo yes, this would be great! 

7 hours ago, Bookworm4 said:

I did notice that the download of her video is on sale for $15 right now if you want the whole video cheaper.

Hadn't seen that, so now I'll have to go look! That's definitely my pricepoint. :biggrin:

7 hours ago, Bookworm4 said:

I've been wanting to work on the Babkin reflex as well and never considered brushing.  Did you use a video to demonstrate what to do? 

Well there is a thing called the Willbarger brushing protocol you can google for. I have significant sensory issues myself and let's just say when I tried to do it properly on dd she howled and said I was awful, that I did it too hard, blah blah. Ds isn't so over-sensitive, and honestly I just take a nail brush or the willbarger brush (I have both) and rub it back and forth on the thing I'm working a while. I did it on feet for a different reflex, and now I'm doing it on the hands. On the feet, well let's just say he gets exfoliated, lol. I do it more lightly with the nail brush and more aggressively with the boar bristle, because I want the contrast of sensory experiences. There's a lot of data on contrasting (hot, cold, wet, dry, rough, smooth, etc.) for sensory regulation, so that's the effect I wanted. I also do finger stroking (run the tip of your finger like a pen up and down the body part, will be crazy annoying). Since the stroking was so annoying, the brushes were another way to get in input without driving him crazy. It just seems to work for whatever reason and costs me only time. I also did it on his back for spinal galant, but obviously I was very careful with these more tender parts like back and hands. With the feet, you can be pretty rough, lol.

We got improvement pretty quickly with the hand brushing, so either it wasn't horribly present (like it was partially integrated) or it integrates quickly or something. I always figure just plunge in imperfectly and see what happens, lol. Like what is the worst that happens if you don't do it optimally? And I usually try to do it at least twice a day. It just seems like it speeds up progress. And if it is a really ugly reflex like spinal galant was, well we've worked some of those 4X a day. And each time I was spending 5-10 minutes per body part. I don't exactly measure, but I'm not going whoosh whoosh and done. I spend a good long time on each component, which again why having 4+ ways to work it is helpful, because it breaks up the tedium and makes it seem like oh yeah it's supposed to take that long. 

Well I'll be interested to hear your progress! The PT we used to work on reflexes had trained with the PoP stuff, and what she did was good. We're just at that point where I'm like oh what's left, what got missed. We had reflexes that were partially integrated, so now I'm like fine let's just dig in and do ALL of them. Maybe stuff is partially present and got missed. And that Babkin was not strong. She had tested it, I know she had. But it showed up subtly in a way that he only now, two years later, can finally verbally express. Like if the outside response doesn't show but the kid is FEELING the irritation, I think it's still there. At least that's my theory. And really, because it was so subtle, about a week of twice a day stroking like that (4 ways, twice a day per hand), and the mouthing stopped. I'm just continuing for good measure. In the past, when I've stopped too early, the reflex has reappeared, so I'm pretty much of the overkill, keep going camp.

 

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We did some brushing just for calming.  I did it with an example from an OT, but I’m sure it’s on YouTube.  I used what she called a surgical brush.

I also did joint compressions at the same time, I’m sure that’s also on YouTube.  It’s basically just squeezing/pressing your hand towards your wrist, or foot towards your ankle.

It was helpful for my son if he was hyper from being under stimulated, he used to be very sensory-seeking at times.  He liked it and it would help him calm down.  

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12 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Oh that is a hoot! It seems so DANGEROUS to take ds rollerskating that I haven't tried. Was your ds wobbly at first? How did it show up with the skating and how did you know it was improving? Totally fascinating.

Yes, he was really wobbly, and his arms stuck out all funny-looking when he turned his toes out to go forwards. They also stuck out behind him when he turned his toes in to go backwards, and if he alternated between toes in and out to go in either direction, his arms kind of rotated like propellers at his sides. 

Now he has a lovely stride, does foot crossovers going around corners with appropriate arms swinging, and is the strongest skater at his junior roller derby training. He LOVES skating. Emphasis on how much he loves it. So much. 

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24 minutes ago, Pegs said:

Now he has a lovely stride, does foot crossovers

Maybe that's why I can't do crossovers! LOL I know how in theory, but I'm so wobbly it's dangerous. This was on ice, not rollerskating, nevertheless. Well that's cool and it makes sense that it could help! I haven't read a lot about Moro, so now I'm going to be curious.

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On 10/25/2018 at 7:09 AM, PeterPan said:

Oh that is a hoot! It seems so DANGEROUS to take ds rollerskating that I haven't tried. Was your ds wobbly at first? How did it show up with the skating and how did you know it was improving? Totally fascinating.

Ooo yes, this would be great! 

Hadn't seen that, so now I'll have to go look! That's definitely my pricepoint. :biggrin:

Well there is a thing called the Willbarger brushing protocol you can google for. I have significant sensory issues myself and let's just say when I tried to do it properly on dd she howled and said I was awful, that I did it too hard, blah blah. Ds isn't so over-sensitive, and honestly I just take a nail brush or the willbarger brush (I have both) and rub it back and forth on the thing I'm working a while. I did it on feet for a different reflex, and now I'm doing it on the hands. On the feet, well let's just say he gets exfoliated, lol. I do it more lightly with the nail brush and more aggressively with the boar bristle, because I want the contrast of sensory experiences. There's a lot of data on contrasting (hot, cold, wet, dry, rough, smooth, etc.) for sensory regulation, so that's the effect I wanted. I also do finger stroking (run the tip of your finger like a pen up and down the body part, will be crazy annoying). Since the stroking was so annoying, the brushes were another way to get in input without driving him crazy. It just seems to work for whatever reason and costs me only time. I also did it on his back for spinal galant, but obviously I was very careful with these more tender parts like back and hands. With the feet, you can be pretty rough, lol.

We got improvement pretty quickly with the hand brushing, so either it wasn't horribly present (like it was partially integrated) or it integrates quickly or something. I always figure just plunge in imperfectly and see what happens, lol. Like what is the worst that happens if you don't do it optimally? And I usually try to do it at least twice a day. It just seems like it speeds up progress. And if it is a really ugly reflex like spinal galant was, well we've worked some of those 4X a day. And each time I was spending 5-10 minutes per body part. I don't exactly measure, but I'm not going whoosh whoosh and done. I spend a good long time on each component, which again why having 4+ ways to work it is helpful, because it breaks up the tedium and makes it seem like oh yeah it's supposed to take that long. 

Well I'll be interested to hear your progress! The PT we used to work on reflexes had trained with the PoP stuff, and what she did was good. We're just at that point where I'm like oh what's left, what got missed. We had reflexes that were partially integrated, so now I'm like fine let's just dig in and do ALL of them. Maybe stuff is partially present and got missed. And that Babkin was not strong. She had tested it, I know she had. But it showed up subtly in a way that he only now, two years later, can finally verbally express. Like if the outside response doesn't show but the kid is FEELING the irritation, I think it's still there. At least that's my theory. And really, because it was so subtle, about a week of twice a day stroking like that (4 ways, twice a day per hand), and the mouthing stopped. I'm just continuing for good measure. In the past, when I've stopped too early, the reflex has reappeared, so I'm pretty much of the overkill, keep going camp.

 

I looked around some on you tube, but couldn't find a demonstration of the same integration exercise that PoP uses for the Palmar reflex.  This is the closest to it, but this adds a few things, including the ball, to the exercise. 


I think the PoP sale ends today or tomorrow if you're still considering it.

Also, the book the Symphony of Reflexes by Bonnie Brandes has additional reflexes and exercises listed if you want to know about more than the ones that Bloomberg's website lists. 
https://www.amazon.com/Symphony-Reflexes-Interventions-Development-Neurological/dp/150285502X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1541136912&sr=8-1&keywords=symphony+of+reflexes
I watched the Pyramid of Potential DVD recently, but don't think that DD will have enough control for some of the exercises, particularly the exercise she uses for the moro integration.  I also have class material from the Brain and Sensory Foundations course by Move Play Thrive so may start with the suggested activities listed there to help DD build enough control to even do the basic exercises by PoP.  That said, I've also heard of a father that was a PT by vocation and he integrated his DD's moro by startling her right before she went outside to play on toys.  It's an interesting thought.

Edited by Bookworm4
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7 hours ago, Bookworm4 said:

the book the Symphony of Reflexes by Bonnie Brandes has additional reflexes and exercises

Ooo thanks, that looks interesting!

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I'm still learning about this. Ds tested positive for one, but I don't know what it's called. To test they made him put his arms out in front and turn his head. The arms moved as well, but they shouldn't. I haven't asked him to do it at home, but that was just what he did during their test. I'll be looking over this list, thank you. 

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Hi PeterPan, I was fascinated to read your first post.  I have a nine year-old who mouths a lot of what he says again after he's said it aloud: to me it seems like he's savouring the words or replaying the language for himself, but I've not spoken to him about it so it may not be something he's aware of or choosing to do.  I've begun noticing it a lot in the last six months.  I've never come across anyone who's even mentioned this before. 

He also has extreme meltdowns when it comes to handwriting activities that are sentence length.  So, fill one word in a gap is okay, circle a word in a wordsearch is fine.  Answer a question about a short piece of writing in a sentence = refusal and real distress.  

We do handwriting practice and he is fine for one page copying letters and words.  However, if he is writes in his journal (our informal writing activity in which writing ideas is the goal, no comment on spelling or punctuation by me is ever given) his handwriting is all over the place - letters are different sizes, capitals pop up in the middle of words, punctuation is missing, he never starts at the start of a line.  Interestingly, he is really motivated to learn to write in cursive in his handwriting book, but he always prints when writing in any other subject.

I started considering retained reflexes because his gait when he runs is more of a gallop (lead leg goes first, second leg comes up to first leg but not past, lead leg goes again) and he tippy toes around enough that I notice it, but he does not always walk or run on his tippy toes.

Obviously I don't know much, but I'm really interested to ask you about your experiences.  Sounds like you went to the professionals for a diagnosis?  I notice that you've independently decided to go ahead - were there particular resources that gave you the courage to do it yourself, or was it the needs of your child that were really the most motivating factor?  Thanks for your time - obviously I'm a bit of a newbie here!

 

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16 hours ago, Emma19 said:

Hi PeterPan, I was fascinated to read your first post.  I have a nine year-old who mouths a lot of what he says again after he's said it aloud: to me it seems like he's savouring the words or replaying the language for himself, but I've not spoken to him about it so it may not be something he's aware of or choosing to do.  I've begun noticing it a lot in the last six months.  I've never come across anyone who's even mentioned this before. 

He also has extreme meltdowns when it comes to handwriting activities that are sentence length.  So, fill one word in a gap is okay, circle a word in a wordsearch is fine.  Answer a question about a short piece of writing in a sentence = refusal and real distress.  

We do handwriting practice and he is fine for one page copying letters and words.  However, if he is writes in his journal (our informal writing activity in which writing ideas is the goal, no comment on spelling or punctuation by me is ever given) his handwriting is all over the place - letters are different sizes, capitals pop up in the middle of words, punctuation is missing, he never starts at the start of a line.  Interestingly, he is really motivated to learn to write in cursive in his handwriting book, but he always prints when writing in any other subject.

I started considering retained reflexes because his gait when he runs is more of a gallop (lead leg goes first, second leg comes up to first leg but not past, lead leg goes again) and he tippy toes around enough that I notice it, but he does not always walk or run on his tippy toes.

Obviously I don't know much, but I'm really interested to ask you about your experiences.  Sounds like you went to the professionals for a diagnosis?  I notice that you've independently decided to go ahead - were there particular resources that gave you the courage to do it yourself, or was it the needs of your child that were really the most motivating factor?  Thanks for your time - obviously I'm a bit of a newbie here!

 

Hi Emma, welcome to the boards! You're describing a pretty complex situation that probably has several things going on. Have you had or considered evals? Sounds like you would get a lot of information with thorough psych, SLP, and OT evals. For ASD they'll usually recommend a multi-factored eval. That's what a hospital will do or some autism clinics. If you go to a psych that is not in a clinic to offer a multi-factored eval, then I would find OTs and SLPs who deal with a lot of ASD and go ahead and have them eval. You may need your ped to do referrals.

To me, what you're describing with the repeated speech sounds like a form of stim, which is concerning. He may well have retained reflexes, but working on them isn't going to address what's going on with that. Without the SLP eval you don't know if it's a language issue or a stim or both. That's why I would go multi-factored. 

I'm sorry he's having meltdowns. Again, it sounds like you have plenty of reason to get evals. Do you have support or resources to get evals done? What is your path forward and what do you want to make happen? We have an HSA with a high deductible insurance, so we just pay for the evals with our HSA. If your insurance is paying for the evals, you'll need approval, referrals, etc. It sounds like you have enough red flags that you should be advocating pretty heavily to get this done. 

Keep hanging on the boards and asking questions. Evals are the start and then you have the "now what" part, sigh.

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Thanks for your reply, PeterPan!  We do have a lot going on, I agree.  Where we are at is: we've spent a year doing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with a psychologist to address the fall out of some pretty savage bullying he endured at school. We're homeschooling now because there are no other safe options for him where we live.  His psychologist has ended the year with a suggestion we seek further evaluation to understand how his brain is working: we'll go back to his physician for a referral, and his psychologist adds to the referral as well. So we'll be pursuing that this year, but waiting lists are very long where we are: we'll probably end up at a specialist within the hospital system eventually (I hope), but a private specialist will probably be where we'll get in earliest.  I know it will be expensive, but that's what being a parent is about in the end, I guess. The lengthy delays we're facing are one of the reasons I was really interested in the work you're doing independently: at this point I'm happy to try ANYTHING that might help us a bit.  I have found some scattered OT resources to address retained reflexes, but I was wondering where you've found the most useful information?

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5 hours ago, Emma19 said:

I have found some scattered OT resources to address retained reflexes, but I was wondering where you've found the most useful information?

The PT we used was using the info from the Pyramid of Potential site, and you can get the dvd or download I think pretty affordably. 

Hospital evals are usually 2-3X private. Are you in the US? Some diagnoses, like ASD, have gotten very political, and hospitals are sometimes teaching schools with students doing the evals. I decided I wanted private evals by someone experienced.

Also, just so you know, some of these things are diagnosed with forms/questionaires and homeschoolers don't necessarily have their kids with other people enough to get that data accurately. Like people were seeing my kid in 20 minute spurts, NOT enough. So it's something to ask about, who they'll have filling out forms, whether they can run the ADOS, etc.

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