Effects of Reflex Integration in Autism: An Occupational Therapy Case Report
Introduction: Primitive reflexes play a role in motor development by preparing an infant to move against gravity and develop sensory organs and receptors. The Masgutova Neurosensorimotor Reflex Integration (MNRI) is a non-invasive, natural, and replicable neuromodulation technique that creates mature neurological pathways in the reflex circuit to aid in the development of mature motor patterns. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a term used to describe a group of neurodevelopmental conditions characterized by social communication deficits and repetitive sensory-motor behaviors. Objective: To describe the effects of the MNRI intervention on bilateral coordination, auditory-visual integration, and crossing midline motor patterns of a child diagnosed with ASD who presents with a persistent asymmetrical tonic neck reflex (ATNR) and to discuss the implications of MNRI as it relates to occupational therapy (OT) practice. Methods: The child (10 years old) with a diagnosis of ASD with significant motor delays, persistent ATNR, and lack of independence for activities of daily living (ADL) was randomly selected from a purposive sample and participated in an 8-week MNRI intervention protocol to integrate the ATNR. The child was assessed pre and post intervention using the Schilder test, Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency, 2nd edition (BOT-2), Sensory Profile 2, and a crossing midline observation form. Results: The case study results suggest that the MNRI intervention was successful at integrating the ATNR and improving bilateral coordination and crossing midline skills. The MNRI was not successful at improving upper-limb coordination. No effects were identified in regards to auditory-visual integration.