Monday, November 28, 2016

My Top Reflex Integration & Movement Resources for OTs

As many of you know, I travel across the US and have courses in the US & UK to help occupational therapists and families learn helpful treatment strategies. One of my most frequently asked questions is 'What are your favorite books for movement, mindfulness, and reflexes?' So, each of my presentations contains pages of resources and attendees often remark about how helpful those pages are. I thought I'd share some of my favorites with my followers --resources for both therapists and caregivers.
*Affiliate links are provided for your convenience


Smart Moves is a fabulous book discussing the entire body's role in learning. Movement helps to integrate new information into our neural network and Carla Hannaford discusses the critical importance of sensory and movement to building our brains.

The book goes into depth about sensory, Brain Gym, nutrition,
learning disorders, and stress. It's packed with information that's relevant to OT and many of the children we treat.

Movements That Heal does not disappoint. This book discussed rhythmic Movement Training as well
as integrating primitive reflexes. Chapters discuss the limbic system, the prefrontal cortex, dyslexia, basal ganglia, rhythmic movement related to learning disorders, autism, and psychosis. As a veteran therapist, I found that this book helped me to understand the foundation of RMT as well as information about specific techniques to integrate each reflex.

The Whole Brain Child by Daniel Siegel and Tina Bryson should be a staple in any OT library. It's a former NY Times Bestseller. The book discussed 12 strategies to nurture a child's developing mind.
ANY work or article by Dr. Daniel Siegel is critical in understanding mindfulness and how our brains are wired. The visuals and cartoon examples help the reader to understand critical concepts. One of my favorite parts of the book is how interoception and awareness of our own body affects other systems and our function. 
If you have a little extra money to spend, the Whole Brain Child Workbook is fabulous!

The Out of Sync Child Has Fun by my friend and wonderful advocate for Sensory Integration Dysfunction, Carol Stock Kranowitz, contains more than one hundred activities. This book is a must-have for all OTs and caregivers. Carol keeps each activity SAFE - Sensory-motor, Appropriate, Fun and Easy.


I've taken Sonia Story's course called Brain and Sensory Foundations and it changed the way I work with children in my clinic. In fact, the course gave me a wonderful foundation in the concept of neuro-developmental movements. The techniques were easy to implement in the clinic and I felt comfortable teaching caregivers skills to carryover at home.

What is neuro-movement? They are innate movements that babies do in the womb and in early infancy that promote growth of brain and sensory systems. These calming, transformative movements mature the brain and body and are effective for ALL ages. 
Use these neuro-movements for promoting:
Calm sensory processing
Emotional regulation
Balance, Strength, Coordination
Learning/Cognitive skills
The movements and activities are targeted and fun games that help children of all ages to reduce anxiety, control impulses, focus and learn. 


YOGA training is always wonderful for OTs. I received my training as a children's YOGA teacher through a local studio. The course was quite affordable and even covered the neurology of movement and its connection to brain development.

Here's a few of my favorite YOGA book resources:

YOGA for the Special Child can be used to help children with a variety of diagnoses.

YOGA for Children is wonderful and gives pictures of poses.

Movement Cards

I've created a helpful download of 200+ brain break, movement, breathing, YOGA, and sensory activities. Brain breaks are critical for increasing oxygen to the brain. Taking a break to focus on the environment around us helps to refocus. Think about your drive to work. Have you ever arrived at your location and wondered, 'How did I get here?' When we complete regular routines we often forget to breathe deeply or focus on the world around us. Here's a suggestion, at each red light find three things around you that are green or take a minute to focus on how your body feels in the car seat. Take a few deep breaths and use your senses to refresh and hit the 're-set' button.

Teach your students and clients to do the same before a test or long assignment. Use the movement cards to give you ideas.

Finally, read our earlier post on incorporating mindfulness into your OT Practice here.

1 comment :

  1. How wonderful to see my book, Yoga for Children, as one of your recommended resources here. Your website is wonderful! Thank you for the work you do in the world to support the well-being of children!