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2023 Sensational Brain Summit: The Impact of Retained Primitive Reflexes on Daily Activities: Interventions for Early Intervention to the School Environment

Webinar Length (Hours):



Kim Wiggins, OTR/L, Sonia Story, BS


2023 Summit: The Impact of Retained Primitive Reflexes on Daily Activities: Interventions for Early Intervention to the School Environment

Most primitive reflexes emerge in utero and naturally integrate by the age of three. Often that is not the case, especially with the growing use of containers (i.e., bouncy seats, jumpers, walkers) in infancy, lack of floor time, and pregnancy and birth trauma. Studies demonstrate a correlation between the increase of at least one primitive reflex in school-aged children and increased learning difficulties. This 6-hour, multi-speaker course focuses on five reflexes: MORO, Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex, Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex, Spinal Galant, and Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex. Speakers address information from early intervention to school-aged children. Participants learn early identification of reflexes, functional activities to help integrate reflexes, rhythmic movements for integration, and testing and screening tools to use across various environments.

Summit Outline

Session 1, Sonia Story, BS: Innate Rhythmic Movements and Primitive Reflexes: Impacts on Vision and Reading

Learning Outcomes
  1. Identify the functional impact on vision and reading skills when primitive reflexes are retained.
  2. State the benefits of incorporating passive rhythmic movements for improving independence and success in childhood occupations.
  3. Demonstrate understanding of how to perform two innate rhythmic movements.

Session 2, Rachel Harrington, COTA/L, AC: Primitive Reflexes: Considerations for the Infant and Toddler

Learning Outcomes
  1. Identify the presence of primitive reflexes in infancy.
  2. List the impact of retained reflexes on gross and fine motor development in birth to three-year-olds.
  3. State one functional activity to assist with the integration of primitive reflexes naturally, in order to support success in daily occupations.

Session 3, Kim Wiggins, OTR/L: Primitive Reflexes: Screening and Strategies for Functional Integration

Learning Outcomes
  1. State the screening process for each primitive reflex.
  2. List several compensation techniques for retained reflexes in the classroom to improve success with daily occupations.
  3. Identify a treatment exercise for each of the 5 retained reflexes explained in the course and list how to incorporate them functionally into the classroom setting.

Session 4, Rachel Harrington, COTA/L, AC: Primitive Reflexes: Promoting Successful Carryover of Intervention Plans Using Functional Activities

Learning Outcomes
  1. Identify the underlying symptoms of retained primitive reflexes while assessing I/ADLs in various environments.
  2. List strategies for improving carryover of a play-based primitive reflex home exercise program.
  3. Demonstrate how play-based functional activities can improve the integration of primitive reflexes, which will improve overall independence in daily occupations.

Course Information

Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

AOTA-Approved Provider Program

Sensational Brain LLC is an AOTA Approved Provider of professional development (#8215). Course approval ID# 06963. This distance learning, independent format is offered at 0.6 CEUs, Introductory level, OT Service Delivery. The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA or indicate AOTA approval of a certification or other professional recognition.




Sensational Brain speaker, Sonia Story, BS

Sonia Story, BS, developed the Brain and Sensory Foundations curriculum to provide comprehensive training in the use of neurodevelopmental movements for addressing sensory, learning, physical, behavioral, emotional, social, and speech challenges. She authored a white paper and Evidence eBook with research and rationale for the use of neurodevelopmental movements in intervention. Sonia extensively studied innate neurodevelopmental movements with Harald Blomberg, MD; Moira Dempsey; Svetlana Masgutova; Mary Kawar, OT; and other instructors.

Sonia’s courses are approved for professional continuing education for occupational therapists, physical therapists, mental health counselors, myofunctional therapists, and massage therapists. She was a presenter at the 2018 Autism One conference on how innate neurodevelopmental movements help transform sensory issues. Her work has been featured in Almost Autism: Recovering Children from Sensory Processing Disorder; Special Ed Mom Survival Guide; Family Health Revolution; and Same Journey, Different Paths, Stories of Auditory Processing Disorder.


  • Financial: Sonia Story receives a speaking fee from Sensational Brain LLC. She is the owner of Move Play Thrive and developer of the Brain and Sensory Foundations curriculum. Sonia receives a salary from Brain and Sensory Support Co. for teaching the Brain and Sensory Foundations courses.
  • Nonfinancial: No relevant nonfinancial relationship exists.



Image of Sensational Brain owner Rachel Harrington

Rachel Harrington, COTA/L, AC, is a pediatric occupational therapy assistant, passionate about sensory integration, primitive reflexes, and early intervention. In October 2020, Rachel took over Sensational Brain, previously owned by Gwen Wild, MOT, OTR/L, in which she has rebranded and expanded into new courses, products, and more!

In addition to Sensational Brain, Rachel founded The Sensory Project, which shares simple sensory strategies and tips and handmade sensory tools on Etsy. She works part-time with Harkla to create sensory-related content for parents and therapists through a podcast, courses, and more.

Rachel is passionate about sharing her knowledge of sensory integration by participating in speaking engagements with nonprofit organizations, schools, childcare centers, and community events to increase early identification of sensory processing challenges.

Rachel lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, two young children and golden retriever, where they are always hiking, exploring or spending time with family.


  • Financial: Rachel is the owner of Sensational Brain LLC and receives proceeds from all sales and co-hosts All Things Sensory by Harkla Podcast.
  • Nonfinancial: Rachel works part-time with Harkla Co.




Kim Wiggins, OTR/L, is an experienced occupational therapist specializing in the treatment of children since 2001. She is a full-time therapist at a City School District in upstate New York, owner of OT Kim Wiggins, and has been a nationally known speaker since 2011. Kim is certified in Mobile Devices for Children with Disabilities, Puzzle Art Therapy, Handwriting Without Tears, Zaner Bloser, The Size Matters Handwriting Program, The Listening Program, and as an Irlen Screener. To view Kim’s courses, check out her product page.


  • Financial:  Kim Wiggins receives a speaking fee from Sensational Brain LLC and is the owner of OTKimWiggins LLC. She is the co-author of Just Right! A Sensory Modulation Curriculum for K-5 and receives royalty payments from the sales of this product. She earns affiliate commission from Double Time Docs.
  • Nonfinancial: No relevant nonfinancial relationship exists.

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