What is Reflex Integration?


- By Somaiyya Jawaid Posted On - 23/05/2021

What do you understand by the term Reflexes ?

The automatic movements that occur without one’s conscious thought, which are responsible for fight and flight response and direct us to survival, such as in babies in search for food as rooting and sucking reflex,to walk (stepping reflex), protection (moro) and avoid danger (grasping from falling).

These Primitive reflexes seen in a baby are actually neurological building blocks of learned coordination skills, skills and motor development, cognitive skills and behavior patterns. Thus each reflex has a correlated sensory stimulation which corresponds to a pattern of movements that can be integrated or unintegrated.

Integrated Reflexes Vs Unintegrated Reflexes

These reflexes are very crucial for developing motor control. Such as a child will require motor control to maintain and balance proper posture at a desk in school, while riding a bike, reading a book, crossing midline, writing, and getting dressed.

A child with unintegrated reflexes would face difficulties in completing these daily functional tasks thus, a child who has difficulty in interaction of reflexes can benefit from skilled reflex integration therapy which will majorly train a child’s brain by implementing an efficient movement pattern that will assists higher level motor skills or cognitive tasks.

THERE ARE MANY TYPES OF REFLEX INTEGRATION TECHNIQUES:

→ Hands-on exercises ofthe Masgutova Neurosensorimotor Reflex Integration (MNRI) Method

The analogy of MNRI is the usage of information and clinical experiences from neurodevelopment by employing reflex patterns in order to develop “sensory-motor integration, cognitive skills, and behavioral and emotional regulation.“ The “Multiple dysfunctional reflex” patterns features itself in two separate groups in children diagnosed with autism:

1) Children with Patterns of immature or pathological and severely dysfunctional from birth

2) The normally developed one’s but got relapse into autism at age 2 or 3 unexpectedly. However in these children reflexes might be delayed and immature, but were not noticed by specialists or parents. Their nerve system, possibly, was not strong enough to handle the stress that they experienced. On the other hand, their reflexes could not have matured and might cause the asynchronicity in their brain functionality development on both side of cortical and extrapyramidal levels that results in neurodevelopmental disorders which begin around two years of age. At the very beginning a mild unrecognized problem can precede more complications deficits with age.

This program makes use of non-invasive intervention that promotes the development of the neuro-sensory-motor aspects of those reflex patterns through particular strategies and procedures which allows restoration of connection between reflex circuit components and the protection function of a reflex to stabilize their over-freezing and fight or flight reactions seen.

Thus, this program works specifically with the autonomic nervous system – its and parasympathetic and sympathetic processes governing the alarm system of the organism.

→ Laser therapy called Quantum Reflex Integration (QRI)

Quantum reflex integration claims that it can be employed for individuals with conditions like brain injuries, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, learning disabilities, strokes and pain.autism, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

What happens , how does it work?

Typically it involves a child who will be lying on a bed or comfortable flat surface.

Then the practitioner doing the therapy uses a “hand-held device to point a cold laser onto a particular acupressure area on the child’s body for a specific lapse of time”. Then the person slowly glides the device over the nerve related to that acupressure point.

These sessions are painless and can take about one and a half to two hours. Sessions can be repeated.

There are no established guidelines on how many sessions are required.

→ Sensory integration therapy.

It is a common method which is used in paediatric occupational therapy. The aim of sensory integration therapy is to provide controlled and meaningful sensory experiences such that the child can appropriately and spontaneously form responses which are required in the integration of those sensations.