Rhythmic Movement

1. Who developed Rhythmic Movement Training?  Rhythmic movement training is a movement based program that was developed by Dr. Harold Blomberg.  Dr. Blomberg developed gentle, active and passive movements that are based on movements an infant will utilize during the first year of life. These movements allow the infant to develop a sense of where their body is in space (proprioception), improve visual function, establish a sense of balance, and develop movement patterns that allow them to roll, crawl and eventually walk to explore their environment. Many of the movement patterns are caused by primitive reflexes. 

2. What are primitive reflexes? Primitive reflexes are automatic and involuntary movement patterns that are triggered by external stimuli. Several primitive reflexes are developed in utero, initiating fetal movement.  This movement assists in the development of the central nervous system and gives the infant their first exposure to the senses. Several primitive reflexes develop after birth to help the baby lift its head, suck and swallow, turn their head, and help with the initiation of rolling and crawling. 

3. Why are primitive reflexes important? As stated above, primitive reflexes are essential in the developmental process, helping children reach their developmental milestones. The primitive reflexes should be fully integrated by the age of four into postural reflexes. The postural reflexes give rise to voluntary movement patterns such as crawling and walking. However, there are times when the primitive reflexes remain active and will often hinder the development of vision, auditory processing, speech and language, emotional development, and continued motor development.   

4. What type of conditions does rhythmic movement address? The core intent of rhythmic movement is to integrate any retained primitive reflexes that may be hindering physical and cognitive development. Many children with the diagnosis of ADD, ADHD, SPD, anxiety, writing problems, learning disabilities, dyslexia, and focusing problems have benefited from the use of rhythmic movement. 

5. What would a typical evaluation and treatment consist of? The most important factor in any treatment session is that the client feels understood, heard, and safe.  Therefore, I spend a lot of time during our initial evaluation connecting with the client through listening and play.  Once the client feels safe, I will then perform several tests to see if any of the primitive reflexes have remained active and have not integrated into the CNS. I also will check for any developmental delays, neurological signs, or sensory sensitivity.  We then work together using imaginative play while performing specific movement patterns to help support the growth of the central nervous system and integrate any of the remaining primitive reflexes.  The client will leave with exercises to perform at home with the support of their family.