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Get a head start with my researched and field tested tool kit so that your child can thrive too.


Why Movement Therapies Help

Podcast Ep_011

I spoke recently to Adeena Pelberg, holistic educator, about her experience with movement therapies for children with Autism, ADHD, Sensory Processing disorder and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Make sure you catch the whole podcast episode to hear from her why movement therapies help our kids by addressing the underlying dysfunction in their brains.

Her story began twenty years ago when her husband suffered a spontaneous brain hemorrhage followed by a traumatic brain injury and paralysis due to a fall down a flight of concrete stairs. When the surgeons finally operated on his brain, they left a hole that was visible on MRI.

Adeena was a schoolteacher at the time but quit to become her husband’s caretaker. She worked with him as he relearned all his basic functions, things like how to dress, how to bathe, how to tie his shoes, and how to do two simple tasks at the same time. During this time, Adeena became passionate about training him. She realized that if a grown man with a hole in his brain could go from being unable to do anything for himself to relearning how to properly function in the world, then so might children who she had worked with in the past, who suffer from developmental delays. They just needed the right training.

Listen to the full podcast to learn more about Adeena’s work with children using movement therapies like Masgutova Neurosensorimotor Reflex Integration (MNRI) and Rhythmic Movement Training (RMTi).

in a nutshell

Brain Neuroplasticity and Movement Therapy

For many years, it has been known that movement combined with sensory input builds neural pathways. You can effectively retrain the brain.  This is great news for our children whose brains have developed what has been called negative plasticity (brain changes that are detrimental) because they can be turned around with a focused effort and the power of positive plasticity.

How is this possible and better yet, how can you do this for your child?  My guest on the My Child Will Thrive Podcast this week uses a combination of methods but we are going to talk about two methods she uses called Masgutova neurosensorimotor reflex integration (MNRI) and rhythmic movement training (RMTi).


The Hierarchy of Development

Our children’s challenges can result from a number of foundational wrong turns such as nutritional imbalances or deficiencies, sleep disturbances, or digestive difficulties which Adeena recommends are addressed first for the impact on the child’s symptoms and overall development.

Beyond those foundational elements, the child needs to be assessed for retained primitive reflexes.  Those reflexes that infants are born with for survival but later lose as proper development occurs. When these reflexes are retained, proper development cannot occur. Check out my blog post on these retain reflexes and the Retained Primitive Reflexes Cheat Sheet for more information.

Adeena works through a hierarchy of learning that is visualized in a great interactive learning skills pyramid created by Hands on Learning Solutions. Beginning at the base of the pyramid and moving her way up, each level of development and learning is optimized, with special emphasis on areas of difficulty.

Once a child has been assessed full Adeena choose to use a combination of MNRI and RMTi to help the child.


What are MNRI and RMTi?

Masgutova Neurosensorimotor Reflex Integration (MNRI): uses reflex patterns to awake the genetic sensory-motor memory to make it faster and easier for the nervous system to self-restore the impaired functions. This can include – movement of the body (inability to walk, poor function), functions of vision (poor eye tracking and ocular vestibular abilities), hearing (poor decoding of words affecting comprehension), focusing, memory recall, thinking processes, emotional and behavioural regulation and more.

Rhythmic Movement Training (RMTi): This type of training uses the rhythmic movements a child natural should make as an infant to help integrate any retained primitive reflexes you child may have.

The goals of the two types of therapies are the same and use similar underlying principles but different exercises to elicit the same response in the child.


Who is a good candidate for MNRI and RMTi?

The goals of the two types of therapies are the same and use similar underlying principles but different exercises to elicit the same response in the child.

These therapies can help any child that is exhibiting retained primitive reflexes when assessed.  Some of the conditions where they are present include but aren’t limited to:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • ADHD
  • Learning disabilities (Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia etc)
  • Sensory Processing Disorders
  • Dyspraxia
  • Speech delay or speech apraxia
  • and more…

Although starting younger is always better, these therapies are helpful even in adulthood.


How long does it take to see results from MNRI and RMTi?

Some improvements are seen immediately by parents but lasting results requires continuation of the therapy for at least 8-12 months according to practitioners like Adeena.

As these therapies can be carried out at home with the help and guidance of a certified practitioner, they are a non-invasive and less costly intervention that can produce significant and lasting results.


How do I find an MNRI and RMTi practitioner?

Movement therapists can be found at the Svetlana Masgutova Educational Institute website and the Rhythmic Movement Training International website.

If you would like to contact this week’s podcast guest she can be found at:

Adeena Pelberg can be reached on her Facebook page or at [email protected].

Have you tried movement therapies for your child? Do you think your child could benefit from such therapy? Leave a comment or question here on the blog, or head over to our Facebook group, the My Child Will Thrive Village to continue the conversation and hear from others.

Other resources mentioned in the podcast:

For more information, check out these books on movement therapy: Movements That Heal and Smart Moves.