Finding Success in New Treatments
Despite the Pandemic and Shelter in Place order, I can say the above words about what I feel about my work now and in my career for over 30 years! In April, I attended a live, online class by Dr. Bruno Chikly, from the Chikly Institute. The course was on Perinatal and Postural Reflexes. Understanding how new techniques and approaches on reflexes could impact my clients’ treatment, I jumped at the chance to take the course and study again under the Chikly Institute. Having previously taken courses through the Chikly Institute, I identified two reflexes which my clients could benefit from most, Moro and the Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (ATNR). Keeping my clients in mind as I took the course, I returned to direct, hands on, therapy last week. Today, only the second session since returning to direct therapy, I implemented the reflex work taught by Dr. Chikly in treatment. Throughout the session I observed positive improvements in the clients, noticed not only by myself, but the pediatric client and their parent.
What are Reflexes?
Dr Chikly defines a reflex, in the course manual, as “an involuntary, stereotyped movement response to a stimulus. The reflex is built into the nervous system and does not need the intervention of conscious thought to take effect. Primitive reflexes are important for protection, nutrition, and survival.” An example of a reflex would be, when you step on a tack with barefoot, one withdraws the foot from the painful stimulus. "Neonatal reflexes help the body get organized at a deep level. The reflexes should be replaced by voluntary motor skills. If not, they are called: uninhibited or retained reflexes. The integration of reflexes may correlate with the acquisition of a new skill." (Chikly, Bruno Dr. Brain Therapy for Perinatal Reflexes & Postural Reflexes in Adults and Children (BR). “Chikly Health Institute. 2017. Pg 6, 7)
I implemented Dr. Chikly’s in depth study of reflexes in my treatment with an eight-year-old boy. He has a diagnosis of sensory dysregulation disorder and has a school IEP. Today, I had the opportunity to invite him to integrate the Moro and the Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (ATNR), taught at my class, into my 60-minute treatment session of my client.
The other client I had the opportunity to treat today was a 9-year-old girl diagnosed with brachial nerve plexus. She has difficulty with using her right arm and maintaining midline head control. Her goal of maintaining more head control provided me the opportunity to put into action another reflex addressed in my class, Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (ATNR). Through introducing the ATNR into her treatment session, my client left our session with noticeable dynamic, head control in various positions, faster progress in a treatment session than I have seen previously for that client.
I recognize that there are various methods and programs to help individuals integrate their reflexes. However, the training I gained through the Chikly Institute by Dr. Bruno Chikly taught me reflex techniques that I can seamlessly integrate and recognize results within the 60-minute treatment session. My clients never stop pushing towards progress, so I take it upon myself to always move towards progressing my own understanding of treatment and the body. By combining traditional and non-traditional techniques I am able to attain greater progress.
Respectfully, -Janet Schultz-Mroz OTR/L C/NDT LMT