If ABM is difficult to explain, MNRI is even harder. From what I understand, there are a few versions of reflex integration floating around but I believe they all somehow relate back to the work of Svetlana Masgutova (could be wrong there).
From the website (http://masgutovamethod.com/about-the-method):
“While, the basic concept of reflexes is generally familiar to most people (e.g., knee jerk reaction, Pavlov’s dogs), the nuances associated with various types of reflexes is often less well understood. Our goal is to help you understand the difference between automatic motor reflexes and learned motor reflexes, the role of simple to more complex automatic motor reflexes in establishing a solid developmental foundation, and how reflexes work to automatically regulate each of our bodies under normal conditions in reaction to normal stress, or traumatic situations. This basic information can help you better understand why primary motor reflex patterns (sometimes referred to as primitive reflexes or infant reflexes), in particular, play such a big roll in maturation, development, and normal life function.
Fundamental to the MNRI Method is the understanding that automatic primary motor reflex patterns do not disappear, they integrate.”
Basically, primitive reflexes often don’t integrate properly into mature motor patterns when there is a neurological issue (such as a perinatal stroke). The MNRI method tries to address this problem, thereby improving motor skills.
When we were in California for ABM, we also had 5 MNRI lessons. One of the big differences between ABM and MNRI is that in MNRI, they teach you to do certain movements with your child that you are to do as homework. The practitioner assesses which reflexes aren’t properly integrated, and then gives you the appropriate reflex integration techniques as part of your home program.
It was all very overwhelming as there are something like 20 billion reflexes (or maybe it only felt like it). I took copious notes and videos and tried to watch them all when we got home.
I did about 3 of the reflex integration exercises for a few weeks, got overwhelmed, was not at all confident about my technique, and stopped.
It does, however, make a lot of sense to me. I was very aware that E did retain primitive reflexes discussed in parenting books (like the Moro reflex – spreading arms and hands when startled, then pulling arms in; as well as asymmetric tonic neck reflex – bringing her right arm up and bent when her head is turned to the left) and didn’t develop others properly (like the parachute reflex – throwing both arms in front of her to catch herself if falling forwards).
MNRI is something I hope to look into again in the future. It is definitely very appealing that much of it can be done at home by the parent. Apparently it requires more headspace than I currently have though 😉
Difficult experiences in life often challenge us to reflect on and examine our lives more deeply than we otherwise would. Yes, there is grief, and anger, and regret, and frustration. But there is also courage, and hope, and compassion, and purpose. If you are struggling with purpose, and an emptiness inside, then it might be possible that God is challenging you right now, through this struggle, about your life’s calling. Perhaps all the struggles I have faced simply had their purpose in leading YOU here – to my story. Perhaps God allowed all these things to happen in my life so that YOU might be offered this chance to know Him. If so, one heart won, and one soul saved for eternity is worth all the sacrifice, pain, and challenge. YOU are worth it.
I strongly believe that in this life, nothing happens by accident or coincidence – things aren’t determined by fate or luck (good or bad). I believe there is an overarching story – a beautiful picture of love, loss, and redemption – and that there is Someone who cares and is in control. You are already a part of this story, whether you know or believe it or not. While the end of the story has already been written, your own part lays open before you for you to choose your ultimate destiny. Perhaps our coinciding struggles have been finely orchestrated to lead you to this one moment: The Bridge to God.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Father of compassion, the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow into our lives, so also should the comfort of Christ overflow.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)