I had the pleasure of meeting Niki at an Athena Networking meeting in July when she came along to talk about her work as a neurodevelopment therapist.
I had to ask a lot of questions to know what questions to ask about what she did. It was all a new area to me, however once she got going and told me I was hooked and before you know it I was booked in to see her for a screening.
Niki works primarily with children, but this works with adults too, to help them overcome anxiety, reading and writing problems, concentration, processing disorders, developmental issues, brain injuries and much more.
The therapies are designed to identify where developmental reflexes from birth and infancy haven’t matured. When reflexes get stuck in the normal timeframe of development the next natural developmental phase has trouble and manifests in behavioural problems. In short the therapy gives a way of giving the brain and neurological system a second chance at development..
I tend to have a good grasp of health and wellbeing terminology, however this is a whole new matter and the lingo and phraseology had me trying to keep up with what Niki was saying at time. She is addictively passionate about her craft and I soon caught on with what we were looking at or talking about.
This is by far the most interesting assessment I’ve done. So many bits of me that I take for ‘normal’ aren’t. Behaviours I have that are real ‘things’ as a result of delayed reflex development. It was definitely a case of the more you learn the less you know.
It’s quite common for people to assume that because I run a health business I am either a) healthy b) fit c) well constructed d) not struggling with many issues. If you’ve read any of my blogs you’ll know this to be so not the case! And this meeting was no exception!
Niki completed a form that covered all manner of things from what my birth was like, what my mum’s pregnancy was like, how I was fed, whether I was a late bed-wetter (no, in case you’re wondering!), if I had trouble with tight waistbands, concentration and focus problems, was I a crawler or a bum-shuffler, a late or an early walker, my talking, reading and writing ability. How I sit, how I write, do I move my mouth when I read, do I like being touched, am I started by loud noises and so much more!
When we were done with the questions Niki took me through a range of physical tests.
This was more amusing (for me). In most situations I thought to myself ‘yep, I’ve nailed this‘ only for Niki to tell me that I hadn’t!
Some I knew I couldn’t do, some were so odd that I had no idea what she was testing for and when she told me it was so minute and random that I would never have guessed.
There was one test that was a bit like a knees-down tricep press up, it seems there was a link to back muscles and bowel development. When I didn’t do so well at that and she told me what she was testing for, I said ‘oh I should have mentioned that I have digestive and bowel issues‘. Niki replied with ‘I didn’t ask you and I don’t need to, I can tell‘. Spooky!
After about 45 minutes of testing, Niki knew which exercises I needed to spend some time on and took me through them. They are mimicking moves that babies make early in life. I need to do them daily and consistently to re-programme the neural pathways so as to make the connections for improved functioning. They are not at all onerous or difficult, quite literally child’s play. There are also two passive exercises that I need to get Mr Strickers to do to me for 30 seconds each exercise each day. As I say, not much effort for big improvements.
I asked Niki who she’d helped already and she told me of a 19 year old boy who wanted to go into the Army but was struggling with a variety of focus, concentration and processing problems and despite long hours training at the gym, he didn’t have a 6 pack and really didn’t know why. With regular exercises and following the programme he improved his concentration so much that he was able to multi-task between reading and listening at the same time without distraction and he got his 6 pack. From retraining his brain. Indeed. Quite amazing.
After the meeting Niki prepares a report and sends to you so you know what your issues are. Here’s some excerpts from my report:…
“On testing, she showed some degree of mixed laterality, although she had a preference for her right hand, she occasionally used her left hand and left ear.
This will slow down her overall processing. She is able to cross her midline. When testing her proprioception and limbic system, there was some hesitation on the right hand side homo-laterally and cross-laterally. Again this will slow processing and indicates some issue with processing information through the limbic system which can show as either over or under emotional. There was some slight delay in eye tracking but a noticeable delay in accommodation when focusing near to far. There is evidence that there are fear reflexes still active for Heidi.”
“The other main reflexes that remain active for Heidi are; Spinal Galant (locked), Tendon Guard, Tonic Labyrinthine (TLR) Forwards and Backwards, (worse eyes closed), Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (ATNR), Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (STNR), Amphibian (absent), Landau (present), Head Righting (eyes closed), Hand/Mouth Babkin and Palmer, Grasp, Hands Pulling, Plantar.”
I thought these snippets from each section were interesting to my own situation:
Fear Paralysis Reflex
“Linked to: over sensitivity to sensory stimuli; touch, smells, sound, light can all feel overwhelming” – I do have a ‘thing’ for loud noises.
“…difficulty in making eye-contact, poor sleep routine and dislike of change.” – I’ve been told I see the wood, but not the trees in group situations.
“It can cause many problems around food, issues with allergies or aversions to certain foods. There may be problems with assimilation and absorption of nutrition and cravings for carbohydrates as they are more easily absorbed.” – Well that would be good if I can sort that.
Spinal Galant Reflex
“When this is retained there is often a dislike of tight clothing around the waist, issues around labels and difficulties with sitting with the back against the chair, they tend to sit forward on the edge of the seat with the top of the back against the chair. Older children and adults can fixate the lumbar spine and this can cause scoliosis and back pain.” — if you’ve been reading my Hashimoto’s blog you’ll know I was diagnosed with a scoliosis earlier this year (curved spine). I also didn’t think I had a ‘thing’ for waistbands but I do. I avoid them, I avoid dresses with belts, or middles, I prefer low rise, soft trousers to avoid the whole waistband issue.
ATNR – Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex
“It causes problems in learning to ride a bicycle as when the head is turned, balance is affected. It can cause problems with pencil grip and hand press when writing.” – I have misshapen my middle finger on my right hand from holding my pen too tightly when I was a child. It’s misshapen my finger and fingernail permanently.
STNR – Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex
“It can cause a sense of instability so those retaining it may ‘W” sit on the floor, to increase surface area or wrap their legs around chair legs in order to feel more stable.” – Who knew this was a thing?! I love a chair I can wrap my feet around or legs in…
“…pencil grip is poor, or unusual and tendency to hold the pen too tightly.” – see above.
Niki helps children and adults with ADD, ADHD, autism, Asperger’s Cerebal Palsy, dyspraxia, dyslexia, stroke , speech and language delay, thumb suckers, IVF babies and much more.
Here’s how you can find out more.
- Niki McGlynn
- 07887 837956
She also has events in Wokingham this month and next for you to find out more. Please register your place.
I’ll keep you posted with my improvements.