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Retained reflexes: 10 golden rules for success

I’m writing this post both as a parent, who has been a reflex integration consumer, and as a neuro-developmental therapist, trying to do the best for her clients.

I’ve picked the most frequently occurring scenarios to give you a peek at both sides of the fence in order to set expectations even better, avoiding any potential issues, and really just laying it all out on the table as it is – demystified

1.How many sessions will reflex integration take?

Oh, dear parent… If I had a penny for the number of times I asked this myself – or the number of times I’ve been asked… I would be richer than Richard Branson by now.

I’m very sorry, but it’s completely impossible to predict how long you’ll need to see a therapist for.

However, what I can say is that if you follow instructions carefully, do the programme every day, and keep in contact with your therapist, you will see change.

I have discharged children after as little as three months, but some I will be seeing for a good couple of years. It’s also important to say that some will need a break to allow their systems to develop by themselves. They may need input by other modalities, such as osteopathy, Bowen technique, Safe and Sound Protocol, iLs Focus…

You may end up having a break from a therapist for a bit, but they’ll welcome you back when you need to see them again.

2. Why aren’t reflexes integrating faster?

Please allow your therapist to unravel your child’s development! You MUST be patient.

Your child has been living with unintegrated reflexes all this time – it’s not going to be instant.

3. We’re also doing OT, speech therapy, a gluten, dairy and sugar-free diet, taking fish oils and magnesium, the Nemechek Protocol, and seeing a homeopath and an osteopath

Take a step back!

Try and work out what is working for you and stick with that.

If you want to try all the other methods, please try them first. Then come back and see us and see whether you notice any difference.

We cannot advise on anything other than reflex integration.

4. Why is my child not able to engage with your movement programme?

How long are you doing movements with them for? Are you following your therapist’s exact instructions? Did you receive a leaflet on what overwhelm is and how it looks?

If you see any yawning, reddening of the skin, tensing up or general unrest, it’s time to stop! It doesn’t matter whether your therapist has said “about half a minute” – what is your child telling you? If your child doesn’t want to continue with their movements, it’s not because they are being naughty but because they have had enough. If you keep going once a child has had enough, they will go into overwhelm.

What does overwhelm look like? Well, it could mean that they lash out, or that they shut down altogether. You could give them a severe headache or even make them vomit by continuing with movements. In once case I’ve heard of, someone actually gave their child a seizure. So please, listen to your child. If you are not sure, please seek clarification from your practitioner.

5. Can’t I do this myself? Or can I take training to learn it myself?

Well, there is indeed absolutely nothing stopping you from doing it yourself.

However, is it REALLY more cost effective?

Reflex integration changes your child’s brain by forming new connections. If you are confident to do this from videos, go for it.

I have been in this situation myself, and decided that I was just too close to my own child to be effective. In fact, guess what, I still take my children to a practitioner for a second pair of eyes from time to time! They will see things that I don’t notice, because I’m with them every day.

Training-wise, an RMTi training course is great fun. However, will it qualify you to work with your own children? To a certain extent, it will – but you’d need a LOT of training to take them the whole way, and would probably still need to see a practitioner for that second pair of eyes!

6. Whoops! I haven’t paid yet!

Well, please pay then! You know, therapists have bills just like you. We have to rent our practice rooms, keep up to date with training and make sure we are fully insured, as well as providing equipment. We are also lovely people and really dislike chasing for payment, but you really SHOULD pay on time!

7. I will give you a shout when I next want to book an appointment

In order for a reflex programme to work effectively, it’s a necessity to follow up regularly, rather than erratically. It takes a couple of weeks for new synapses for form, and another couple of weeks for them to myelinate effectively. At that point, it’s a good idea to review and tweak a programme.

So, when I ask you what time in four weeks’ time you’d like your next appointment, please book it in there and then.

8. It’s OK to contact you at 6pm on a Saturday evening via Facebook messenger, isn’t it?

No – it really isn’t.

9. Arrggh – Henry’s behaviour has been terrible since we last saw you! Is this a regression?

Loosely speaking, yes. However, I call it “reorganisation” rather than “regression”. In other words, the brain is trying to get used to doing something new, so behaviour will change temporarily.

A regression would be if behaviour becomes worse than it was before we started work.

10. What would make my child’s reflex integration work better?

Now you’re talking. I’ve been waiting for you to ask this, in fact.

Firstly, please make sure you are comfortable with your therapist. Your relationship is paramount to success. Remember that they have trained long and hard to do this work and have probably seen similar profiles to your child before.

Secondly, have you thought about going on programme yourself? It is very valuable to understand what your child is going through by experiencing it yourself first hand! In fact, I would not be doing this work myself now had I not taken this step.

Thirdly, please take a charged phone to your sessions and VIDEO movements. It’s sometimes very hard to remember what you’ve seen and reproduce it later on, so videoing is ideal.

Fourthly, please follow your practitioner’s instructions very carefully, and if in doubt, go back to them and ask. They will not mind! In fact, practitioners love to hear how you are getting on (as long as you don’t expect a response at 6pm on a Saturday night!). Please also make sure that you stick to your programme every single day. The odd day off is ok, but you must try and stick to it, come what may.

Finally, please do not do any more than you are instructed to do. At an absolutely maximum. a child’s programme would be fifteen minutes. In most cases, MUCH less than this. RMTi practitioners’ mantra is “LESS IS MORE”, and this is true: If a nervous system is very sensitive, the less we do, the better the results. If you overstimulate an over-sensitive nervous system, you’ll get a child in constant overwhelm.

I hope this has been helpful!

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