I’m often asked how quickly one might expect to see changes with the activities I teach. Some changes are immediate, while others take time. Here’s a text that I received from a family earlier this week:

Hey Elizabeth! Just wanted to share! Last night Emma was so restless, rolling all around, not able to sleep. We did bottom rocking with her and she immediately calmed and fell asleep within a couple of minutes!!!

This crossing midline movement can be very calming for the nervous system. It helps to bring in the parasympathetic nervous system (the rest and digest system) allowing the body to relax. Additionally, it is a passive rhythmical activity that stimulates the spinal reflexes which can be at the root of restlessness.

Parents and caregivers do this movement innately with babies to help lull them to sleep. Yet, it is a wonderful lifelong tool to use at any age.

Many of the movements and activities I use in my practice help to build new neural networks in the nervous system. Changes may take time, yet often I receive reports of  instant gratification from parents. This text is a perfect example of a simple, yet an incredibly impactful change for this child and family.

“Gravy” on Top!

From a clinical perspective, I often send a follow up text message to see how a client responds to our time together. Here is a message that I received from a mother of a client, with regards to her middle school-aged daughter’s response. 

Melissa was actually really good the rest of yesterday and this morning. She had some pretty involved homework to do and she just got it done. 

She had her first volleyball practice today. I am the coach of her team. I was shocked when she walked in and started overhand serving after never being able to get the hang of it last year. It wasn’t that she didn’t have the power, she just couldn’t make all of her body parts sync up to do it. I think she was shocked too! When she came home she was giving you all the credit.

You know I brought her to see you to address her challenges with school. So this is some “gravy” to the work she is putting in. She was super excited about it!

Melissa said on the way home from her session with you yesterday that she really loved trying the upside down exercise. Even though she was scared, her body wants to try it again.  She said it made her feel like she was just more even keel after doing it.  Thank you for checking in and for all the work you are doing with her.  We are definitely seeing progress.

Through the evaluation process, Melissa showed immaturities with reflexes that impact one’s ability to establish good connections between the vestibular and visual sensory systems. These immaturities have impacted her ability to track information across the page for reading, writing and math activities. Although she has a very strong IQ, prior to starting reflex integration work, she was having to compensate for her limited foundation.

These same reflexes underpin our ability to learn to coordinate our upper and lower body, front and backside of our body, and right and left sides of our body together. By offering integration activities and working on movement patterns, Melissa not only has seen a significant improvement in her reading, math and organization skills; yet she is seeing a change in the coordination of her body allowing for greater ease in executing a higher degree of difficulty in sports related skills.

One of the things that I love the most about reflex integration work, is that it impacts numerous developmental domains: safety and security, regulation and bonding, social and emotional regulation, speech and language skills, fine and gross motor skills, memory and learning abilities and higher executive functioning.


I love sharing stories with you about some of the transformations my families experience. They demonstrate the amazing benefits of reflex integration. Read about Michael’s recent breakthrough after an RMTi session:

I just wanted to share something that has been happening since Tuesday’s session.

Whenever characters on TV (like Daniel Tiger) ask a question of their listeners and wait for an answer, Michael has always hidden under a pillow since he can’t handle them looking through the TV at him.

Our other son has always done it just fine, and enjoys the interaction with his favorite characters.  Since our last session, Michael has started answering the characters on TV!!  It’s been so fun to watch!! 

Daniel Tiger: “What do you think I am pretending to be?” 

Michael: “A horse!  No, a sheep!”

This child’s nervous system shows immaturities in the ability to assess the safety of social interactions depicted on screens and various forms of technology. His limbic system, or emotional center, continues to use immature patterns and senses fear with the unnatural eye contact.

Through a session using reflex integration techniques followed by home program activities, this child has been able to build stronger neural networks through his safety and security system. This mother’s feedback exemplifies his increased ability to distinguish between the unpredictability of social cues experienced through screens.  


Published in RMTi Rhythm, February 2023

I am delighted to have been asked as a Physical Therapist who consistently blends the teachings of RMTi into my professional practice to share my thoughts and experiences. In the last 10 years, there has been a growing interest by health care providers in the United States to learn more about reflex integration. Just this morning, I spoke with a young women who is finishing medical school. She explained how she was tutoring some younger students through their neurodevelopment classes; teaching them that a positive Babinski doesn’t always mean there is a hard neurological diagnosis to be found. Further “this is just part of development.” I wanted to give her a huge hug in agreement, as this was not the way I was taught about reflexes in medical school. We learned about reflexes as they related to hard neurological diagnoses rather than part of the developmental sequence.

From the time I started teaching classes as an RMTi instructor, the excitement and interest in understanding reflexes and movement patterns has exploded! Consistently, I am receiving comments that what our RMTi community is sharing is a huge missing piece. We are offering such deeper understanding and empowerment for serving others.

This hasn’t always been the case. In 2008, when I took my first RMT class, I was the only medical professional. I felt very alone, as I began my learning journey. I was often confronted by naysayers and colleagues that thought I was practicing “voo-doo”. In my colleagues defense, we have been taught and demanded to use “evidence based practice” throughout our sessions. And in the United States, “evidence based practice” is backed by research publications. Prior to the articles that have been published to date about reflex integration, I would share, “evidence based practice” can be as simple as setting an intention for change, assessing where immaturities lie, offering movements and assessing the change. I could write a case study and publish all of the changes noted for every client that I see. This too, of course, is “evidence based practice”.

The perseverance, passion and continued efforts as an organization is making a difference. I am motivated by the “buzz” to continue this journey, not only for the clients I serve, yet to help others learn so that they can bring the information back to their own practice. I encourage all of us to continue to share, educate and reach out. I love the phrase, “you can’t say the wrong thing to the right person, or the right thing to the wrong person.”

From School Refusal to School Readiness: A Child’s Phenomenal Transformation


Have you ever known a child who has struggled with school/separation anxiety? As parents, of a child who has experienced paralyzing separation anxiety from an early age; we have sought out professional guidance and utilized numerous intervention strategies in attempt to help our child overcome this unwelcome anxiety. 

There have been strategies that have helped, on some levels. Yet, none have negated our child’s fear-based anxiety response. This was, until we were blessed by a string of divine connections, which led us to Rhythmic Movement Training International, RMTi. 

RMTi is a movement based, primitive (infant or neo-natal) reflex integration program that uses developmental movements, gentle isometric pressure and self-awareness to rebuild the foundations necessary to help overcome postural, learning, sensory, emotional and behavioural challenges for children and adults. 

RMTi is a nonprofit organization that provides professional training & licensing and offers a worldwide network of instructors & consultants to the community. 1

The RMTi website contains information pertaining to primitive reflexes and the developmental importance of their integration. After reading about numerous reflexes, one in particular caught our attention, the Fear Paralysis Reflex, FPR.

According to the RMTi website… Some possible Long term affects of an unintegrated FPR are:

  • Shallow, difficult breathing
  • Underlying anxiety or negativity
  • Insecure, low self-esteem
  • Depression/isolation/withdrawal
  • Constant feelings of overwhelm
  • Extreme shyness, fear in groups                               
  • Excessive fear of embarrassment
  • Fear of separation from a loved one, clinging
  • Sleep & eating disorders
  • Feeling stuck
  • Elective mutism
  • Withdrawal from touch
  • Extreme fear of failure, perfectionism
  • Phobias
  • Aggressive or controlling behaviour, craves attention
  • Low tolerance to stress 2

After reading this list, it was evident that our child had nearly every challenge. 

Now WHO could we turn to help our child to overcome theses challenges?

We praise God for lighting our path and guiding us to the RMTi organization. And we will be forever grateful for a licensed RMTi consultant, Elizabeth Hickman, who willingly and graciously agreed to support us. 

It is hard to believe, that only a few short months ago, our child was experiencing severe school anxiety. He was refusing to go to school; and after accruing 16.5 absences and an additional 16 tardinesses, we were meeting with his 504 team to brainstorm intervention strategies. 

During this challenging two month period, we witnessed daily anxiety and school avoidance behaviors. The anxiety would pour out of him from the moment he woke up. Our child would pretend to be sick, complaining of stomach aches. He would refuse to eat breakfast. He would stall and refuse to get dressed. He would refuse leave our home to catch the morning bus; and any attempt to make him do so, would trigger unwanted tantrums and meltdowns. 

After a few weeks of extremely challenging mornings, we began to see some combative behaviors emerge. This is when we, as his parents, were completely at a loss. Our entire family was grappling for a way to keep our child calm; and stop all of these unwanted behaviors. Yet, our child was continuing to spiral out of control. 

Sadly, we were experiencing multiple tantrums and major meltdowns every morning, in attempt to get him out the door. And whenever we did get him out the door, he would become so anxious and panicked. There were times when his entire body would tremble. He would sob and cling to me. Sometimes he would hide behind me, shielding himself view of others at the bus stop. And to add to his stressors, after vomiting at the bus stop in front of his peers; he was now embarrassed to ride the bus. So, I began driving him to school. During our commutes, he would kick the back of my seat and scream that he hated me, that he hated school, that no one understood him; and demanded that I pull the car over so he could vomit. 

As his anxiety intensified; and all of his avoidant behaviors became worse. He was now vomiting multiple times a day. And the mere thought or mention of school, would send him running to the bathroom, and vomiting the entire contents of his stomach. After vomiting in school for the first time, he learned that this behavior initially earned him an excused absence; as he was told not to return to school for twenty-four hours. Unfortunately, this only reinforced his compulsion to vomit. Our hearts sunk, as we witnessed how much his fear and anxiety was interfering, with not only his education, but also his mental and physical well-being.

Our child is bright, yet during this time, he was utterly terrified of school. He became very good at doing whatever he could to delay our arrival to school. And whenever we arrived late, he would cling to me, in the front office. He would wrap his both his arms and legs around my legs and refuse to let go. 

While clinging, whenever others would approach him, he would often withdraw and selectively lose his ability to speak. He hide his face; refusing to look at the person. He would continue to cling; and reposition himself, using my body as a shield. There were times when he would just completely refuse to answer them. And other times, when he would only answer their questions, indirectly. He would do so, by whispering the response in my ear. Then ask me to repeat what he whispered. It was as if his weakened voice; didn’t have the strength nor the confidence to respond without the reliance of a parent. 

Our child was stuck in this chronic cycle of overwhelm. He would vacillate in and out of these anxious, fearful and clingy states. And any attempt to get him to let go would often trigger a heightened state of anxiety. Every morning, we experienced this complex and delicate puzzle of figuring out how to get him to calm, willingly let go of me and transition into the classroom. 

We consulted with doctors, pediatricians, psychologists and therapists; and were using numerous strategies, on a regular basis, in attempt to help our child overcome his challenges. Yet, his perceived fear of school was so deep, that no amount of reasoning, distraction or redirection was working. We modified his diet by eliminating inflammatory foods and dyes. We used calming strategies, printable schedules, timers, quick goodbye rituals, transitional comfort objects, consistent drop off routines, incentives, praise, consequences for unwanted behaviors, rewards, reassurance… Yet nothing was negating his debilitating anxiety.

Our child pleaded with us to allow him to stay home. He insisted that he could not handle all of the learning demands being placed on him at school. And he repeatedly told us that the full day of kindergarten was way too long. I began to question whether there were some learning challenges; that might be playing into his anxiety. His teacher and 504 team of professionals were all understanding and supportive. Yet, we were all perplexed. None of us could figure this what was behind all of this. As there was no, one thing, that was driving this debilitating anxiety. 

Our entire family was distressed and depleted. We were feeling the weighted effects of supporting a loved one who was stuck in high alert. And none of us were sleeping well. During this time, we did a lot of praying, and reaching out for a solution. Thankfully, at our lowest of lows, our prayers were answered.

After we began to offer daily movements, we began seeing a subtle shift in our child’s attitude towards school and his avoidant behaviors. There was just an internal calmness and quiet inner confidence that began to emerge. And his debilitating anxiety was finally beginning to lessen. 

Now only a few months later, after offering our child these simple, yet powerful movements on a daily basis; we have now witnessed an astonishing transformation. First off, it is still hard for us to believe that our child’s school avoidant behaviors have receded; and he has been successfully entering school ON TIME, for the past three months. And throughout this time, there has been very little to no visible signs of school anxiety.

In the morning, he is more calm and happy now. His attitude about going to school has shifted. He leaves our home relaxed and comfortable. It gives us great joy knowing that he is entering the classroom more grounded, balanced and regulated. He is far better prepared for the demands of classroom learning.

We have witnessed, first hand, how reflex integration activities have impacted our child’s school readiness and ability to attend school. We are grateful for being able to send our child to school feeling comfortable and ready to learn. And we continue to witness how deeply and profoundly these developmental movements are impacting our child. 

Here is an example, of what an incredible tool, these movements have been for our family. A few weeks ago, I wasn’t sure if our family would make it to Church. Our child was rebounding from illness; and upon waking the first thing he asked was, “Is today Sunday? If it’s Sunday; then can I please stay home from Church today?” And interestingly, we had paused the movements, for the couple days that he was sick. Later that morning, I asked him if he would like to do his rhythmic movements, and he said, “Yes.” Within only a few minutes, he quit talking about not wanting to go to Church. And before I knew it; he looked more relaxed and told me that he loved me. I asked him how he was feeling and he replied, “I’m great. I think I might want to change my mind; because I really would like to go to Church, this morning.” We continue to be amazed at how these simple  movements, are changing both the quality and outcomes of our day.

And to add to our joy, there are other noticeable improvements that we have been seeing. Our child is sleeping better, much more soundly. And, he is no longer awakening with frightening nightmares. He is less restless at bedtime and having far less trouble falling asleep. 

Throughout the day, he is transitioning better. He has become more compliant and motivated to transition at meal time. His appetite has improved; and he has gained a few pounds. He has been more willing to try new foods; and he is more open to trying new things in general. And we have noticed him, being able to remain seated longer; and focusing better during self play. We have also noticed significant postural changes. He is less overwhelmed by sensory stimulation.

He has begun to initiate reading, writing and drawing activities more often at home. He also seems to be better at staying on task; without getting distracted. He is having far less emotional outbursts and tantrums. He is not as quick to anger; and we are not seeing the emotional liability. He has also been better able to regulate his emotions and control his impulses.

Last week, our child’s occupational therapist recommended his discharge from services. It brings us great joy knowing that he has exceeded all of his preset goals; and is currently completing all tasks at an age-appropriate level. What a welcomed change, after receiving weekly services, for the last four years.

I believe our greatest takeaway is that these innate movements are helping our child to feel safe, giving breath to his voice and providing him with a perception of security in a world, apart from his parents. These movements are wondrously building new connections, laying the essential neurological foundation to empower him move comfortably beyond the confines of home. Today, our child is better equipped to explore, learn and develop into his fullest potential. 

We will continue to follow our child’s lead, supporting him as best we can and gently nudging him to move forward along this amazing journey of reflex integration. We will be forever grateful for the divine gift of RMTi, which continues to bless our entire family with peace, hope, love and joy.


  1. Rhythmic Movement Training International, (2023). Welcome to RMTi. Retrieved March 7, 2023, from 
  2. Rhythmic Movement Training International, (2023). Fear Paralysis Reflex (FPR). Retrieved March 7, 2023, from 


It’s that time of year where many of our older children are finishing up their semester. Some recently completed their final exams, projects and papers. Others will begin the process in the coming weeks. Parents watch as their kids take on the demands of cumulative study: creating an organizational plan, prioritizing what to complete first, being forced to focus for long periods of concentrated work, and figuring out how to manage the stress of it all. 

Parents get an intense glimpse at their child’s ability to focus, attend, memorize, perform, complete executive functioning skills… I often hear conversations of concern with parents in various social groups during this time. And I receive emails and phone calls asking if RMTi work would be beneficial for high school or college aged students.

My mission is to share the benefits of reflex integration and how movement is essential for all aspects of development: Safety and Security, Regulation and Bonding, Social and Emotional Skills, Speech and Language Abilities, Gross and Fine Motor Skills, Focus and Attention, Memory and Learning and Executive Functioning. 

I’m grateful for this feedback from a family about the benefits of reflex integration and RMTi work with their high school son:

Before our son began working with Elizabeth, he was involved in other therapies aimed at relieving his ADHD symptoms, mainly his inattentiveness, constant feelings for movement, and poor Executive Functioning skills. 

Many of the other therapies did help, but each one would also seem to have sort of “plateaued” before the full effects of the therapy could be felt.  Many providers would sort of scratch their heads and not fully understand why he was not getting more relief from his symptoms, when it seemed like he should have been. 

As I started to dig a little more on the internet, I started hearing and reading more and more about Retained Primitive Reflexes, and the issues that they cause when they do not properly integrate when they should.  The more I read, the more I started to realize this was what we needed! 

I began my search for a provider who could help us with it, and stumbled across Elizabeth Hickman’s name.  I gave her a call, and immediately knew after our first phone conversation, that I had to get her involved. Her command of not only the reflexes, but also how the body and brain all connect, has been instrumental in not only our son understanding himself, but also in our understanding of him!  It has helped both us and him advocate better for him!

Elizabeth has also helped us to squelch the negative non-verbal messages that he used to receive at school. (As his challenging behaviors, which once elicited eye rolling and heavy sighing, from those around him; are no longer plaguing him.)

Elizabeth has also helped us smash the negative non-verbal messages that he gets from those around him, in particular school.  Not only am I thrilled in the progress he has made since he started working with her last year, but I have now gotten my other two kids working with her.  They all enjoy her work with them, and I enjoy the new perspective I have developed as their Mom, that has helped me become a better parent…

Let Go of the Guilt

“Be gracious.”  Many of my friends, family members, colleagues and clients hear me saying this all the time.

Meaning of a Logo

syn apse



a region where nerve impulses are transmitted and received. the junction between two nerve cells.

to join together or the act of joining

Quick Tips to Calm Your Nervous System

With chronic mental, emotional or physical stress, our nervous system can get stuck in high alert.