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A colleague and friend of mine had the brilliant idea of sharing periodic updates of kids she is working with. I had to steal it!


NDD therapy is a process. Each child goes through this process differently. Some make big leaps and others are slow and steady. Some kids are smooth and easy and other kids experience bumps along the way. I am hoping that these updates will provide prospective parents with hope for their kids and a glimpse of what this process looks like (both the magic and the work).


All updates are shared with permission. Names and identifying information is always excluded. 

Age: 10

Time at Early Roots: 1 month

Update: I had my first follow-up visit with this boy today and he is doing fantastic! He had about three ROUGH days when they first started. Big emotions, lots of anger and overall really grouchy. Since then, things have been much better. Today his parents told me that he is falling asleep quickly (it used to take him a long time to settle down at night) and he is much more aware of his surroundings. He is turning lights off when he leaves room and he is dressing himself without reminders. Overall his demeanor is much calmer and mom says life in general is just a lot easier in their house right now.

That isn’t the best news though! His parents main concern when they brought him to me was his selective mutism and social anxiety. Several years ago he was diagnosed with selective mutism related to school. For a long time he wouldn’t talk in school or to anyone associated with his school. His parents took him through a therapy specific to selective mutism and they have seen progress. When we started with me he would occasionally talk in school but in general was still very quiet. Over the last few weeks this has changed! He is talking more at school and about school. He is also able to verbalize his feelings. He mentioned several things he was scared about AND asked for help!

The best news (in my opinion) is that he is also initiating social contact! His parents said that they usually have to push to get him to spend time with friends.  This week he made plans to hang out with a friend on his own!

My note: I LOVE first follow-up visits like this! I don’t usually expect a lot of noticeable progress at the first visit. I try to start kids off gently. My hope at the first visit is that kids are able to do their exercises consistently without seeing any negative reactions. Then we can ramp things up and start to see some good progress. Sometimes (like in this case) we nail it right away!

I think that there are a couple things that are influencing how well this boy was doing:


Before we started, he was doing a different INTENSE home program that also targeted primitive reflexes. He wasn’t tolerating that program well and seemed overstimulated to me. After they met with me, they stopped this other program and started NDD therapy. I think stopping that program was also helpful.

They also told me he is sleeping MUCH better since starting NDD therapy. Most of the time, when kids start sleeping better we see a big jump in emotions and attention. Poor sleep can aggravate most symptoms. I think there were several things that came together in the last month that have all helped this boy. I expect that as we continue through the program that progress will slow down a little bit.

Age: 13

Time at Early Roots: 3 months

Update: This girl’s anxiety is WAY down! Parents tell me that she is better able to follow through on her chores and needs fewer reminders. In general, she is more happy and relaxed. She is engaging more with the family and needing less alone time. She was more engaged in our last appointment and told me that she can tell a difference in her anxiety. On a different note, she is more confrontational with siblings and has gotten into more fights with them over the last month.


My note: Usually at this 3 month mark we see improvements in anxiety but not always to such a big extent. Some kids make leaps in progress, others are slow and steady. Its also not uncommon to see an increase in certain “negative” behaviors like fighting, arguing, even potty-talk. In this girl’s case the increase in confrontation with siblings came as her anxiety reduced and she became more assertive. Her assertiveness is still fairly immature but I expect it to improve over time. I see this as a sign of progress. I am also very encouraged that she is noticing a difference in herself. MOST of the time parents see progress long before kids do.

Age: 12

Time at Early Roots: 6 months

Update: It has been 2 months since this boy had an anxiety attack! When we first started, he had a mild anxiety “episode” 1-2x a week and a significant one 1-2x a month. He has been very happy since our last visit. His reading has exploded, and he is almost at grade level. This is a HUGE improvement from last year. He even started reading for fun for the first-time last month! Mom thinks that his writing has also improved but he says, “writing is still hard, I hate it”.

My note: It is really common for reading to improve before writing. Some kids start to love reading once it gets easier, but some kids just tolerate it. Once they start tolerating or enjoying it, I really encourage families to find fun stories. Too many of the kids I work with HATE reading and learning. If we can make it fun, then we set them up for success for the rest of their lives.

When we first started this boy had a strong Moro and a strong ATNR reflex. He also really struggled with visual tracking and hand-eye tracking (both important skills for reading and writing). I ALWAYS work developmentally; this means that if a child has a Moro reflex and an ATNR reflex we start with the Moro.

For some kids in this position, we work on the Moro for a long time before we see any progress in the ATNR reflex. I like to warn families that sometimes we may not see much school progress for a year or more if we have a lot of social/emotional work to do first. In this boy’s case, even though we are only really targeting the Moro (and some vestibular stuff), we are seeing changes in the ATNR and his visual-motor skills.

It can be easy to look at each reflex and each system as its own individual problem but that’s not how the body works. Everything is connected. Working from the bottom-up allows us to harness the brains amazing developmental wisdom. In this case, settling down the stress-response not only improved anxiety but also domino-ed into other reflexes and other sensory systems (specifically the eyes). As a result we are seeing maturity in both emotions and academics.

Age: 5

Time at Early Roots: 3 months

Update: Today this little boy spoke to me! It is the 3rd time we have met and he is starting to settle in. During our first visit he was fairly cooperative but avoided eye contact and conversation. He mumbled an answer to a couple direct questions but in general avoided communication. Today he talked about being excited to get Chick-fil-a later and asked me a question about one of the toys in my office. His eye contact is also improving! 


 At home mom is noticing that he is calmer and more regulated. He is having fewer meltdowns and he is coming out of them faster. He has also been more affectionate. He is initiating more physical contact with mom and verbally saying “I love you” without her saying it first.

My note: This boy has an Autism diagnosis. When we first started therapy, he had a BIG negative reaction to the exercise. His emotions spiked, he started having more meltdowns and overall was MUCH less happy. We backed up and ended up cutting his exercise in half. Things immediately got better. Within a few days he settled down to his baseline and has been making steady progress since then. Some kids are SUPER sensitive to exercises. Changing an exercise even by 20-30 seconds can be the difference between a child who is overstimulated and a child who is making progress. It is important to keep this in mind anytime you are working on the nervous system. Anything that has the power to create positive changes has the potential for negative side-effects. This is true of medications, supplements, and ANY therapy. Its why I usually recommend and individualized approach to care and its why I spend a lot of my follow-up visits talking to families to make sure we are on the right track. 

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Age: 11

Time at Early Roots: 9 months

Update: I had a full conversation with this girl for the first time this week! When we first started she would answer most direct questions but wouldn’t engage in a conversation. Her eye contact was poor and she mostly avoided talking. When she did speak it was “baby-ish”. Today when we started her language was “baby-ish” but improved the longer she was in my office. By the end we had a very good conversation!


At home Mom says they haven’t had any “baby-talk” in months. Her emotions are steadily improving. Her frustration tolerance is improving (but still not quite where it should be). Her eye contact at home is normal and she had two times over the last two months where she spoke to someone she didn’t know! Once at the grocery store and once at a restaurant.


Mom says her eye contact with strangers is improving too. Her overall maturity and awareness has been improving steadily since we started and she is MUCH better. She is more aware of other peoples feelings and needs and has been more helpful around the house. She is also showing steady improvement in math and writing.

My note: Our main focus has been on stabilizing her fight-or-flight response. We haven’t done anything that directly addresses academics. I always work developmentally and we address emotions before academics. The cool thing about working developmentally is that you don’t always have to target each area. The goal of this process is to “unstick” kids so that their brain takes off and can develop the way it was supposed to. It is really wonderful when I see that domino effect in areas we aren’t focusing on. It tells me we are working at the right spot.

Age: 13

Time at Early Roots: 1 year

Update: This boy has made slow but steady progress. Mom is noticing more patience and maturity with his emotions. He is more engaged in conversation and is more aware of other people feelings and needs in conversations. When he first started he would barrel through conversations without thinking about the people he was talking to. This visit he showed BIG school progress. His reading, writing and math have all improved significantly in the last two months. He is a lot more focused and his information retention has improved a TON. His mother says that school is still slow. He is able to complete his work and understand but it takes him a lot longer than she would expect. I expect that this will improve as we continue to work through things.


My note: When we first started this boy struggled with some emotional and social immaturity but it wasn’t terrible. His parents were mostly concerned about his academic performance. He had a retained Moro reflex which we had to start working on first. I told his parents at the beginning that they may not see academic changes for awhile. Kids that are fairly emotionally stable but have a strong Moro still have to work through that first before we tackle the things that typically affect school. This boy and his family spent nearly a year doing NDD therapy before they saw noticeable academic changes. They noticed improvements in other areas along the way which kept them motivated but academic changes were SLOW. Thankfully they stuck with it and are seeing the benefits.

Age: 11

Time at Early Roots: 8 months

Update: This kid has FLOWN through this process. His mother contacted me because he was struggling with anxiety, focus and school, specifically reading and writing. When we started, he startled really easily and he would get overwhelmed with things that shouldn’t be difficult. His mom wrote an example in his questionnaire:

 “A friend can walk up at school and say hi. He jumps and then is so startled that he can’t always react fast enough to say hi back in a “normal” amount of time. I think that this makes him appear as if he doesn’t want to talk to the person and can push people away even though this isn’t his intention. He just appears so startled that he can’t recover quick enough. Then, he appears to get embarrassed. I have never asked him about this. It is just the way he looks. His face gets red, and he usually can’t make eye contact after.”


Today he is a totally different kid. He has had one episode of anxiety in the last 4 months for something I would expect to make someone his age nervous. His mom said she saw a couple instances where she expected him to overreact but instead he talked himself through it in a very age appropriate way. He even comforted his sister when she was nervous about a storm and helped ease her fears!!

When we started mom said she would have described him as shy and reserved especially with adults he didn’t know well. In the last few months he had multiple instances where he has to have a difficult conversation with his teacher, principle and another kid in his school. His mom said he addressed the situation head on and had no qualms speaking up for himself! I told him this was a skill I see many adults struggle with!

I really dove in this visit to ask a lot of questions about his emotions and everything his mom described sounds age appropriate. He has had IMMESNSE maturity since starting.

Since our last visit they also got a message from his teacher saying that she was amazed with his progress. She said his writing looked like a completely different person and he is excelling in all areas of school. His teacher and parents all say that focus and attention is now normal and he is at or above grade level in school. He is reading difficult books and retaining information now and best of all his writing has exploded (which was moms biggest school concern).


My note: I am amazed by this kids progress. I hesitated to include all the impressive things we are seeing just because most kids don’t make this much progress this fast. It takes most kids twice as long to get to this point! He has done SO well and worked very hard and he deserves the spotlight too.  I don’t expect to see a ton of changes moving forward just because there isn’t much left to work on. He is functioning VERY well. I am planning on continuing to do some work with him for a few more months to make sure that everything cleans up nicely. This helps to ensure that all of the physical and neurological connections we make stick and his brain continues to take off and mature. There are lots of reflexes and neurological connections that we can’t measure. When kids fly through this process I always milk things for a little while to make sure we don’t miss anything.


Stay tuned for more spotlights! I will periodically update this page to keep it fresh. If you want more stories you can find a similar page on my friend Emily's website. Emily also does this work! 

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