*Please note- this blog post was written during my time at Brain Fit Academy Inc. I have since continued this amazing work under my own company- Brain FUNdamentals LLC. I hope you enjoy!
I can’t put groceries into the trunk of my car. When I go to the store, I have to pile all the bags into the back seat or on the floor. Sometimes, if the “Big Green Ball” is on the backseat then I don’t even have half of the seat space for groceries.
It can be a real problem sometimes. No- seriously, I have food falling onto the floor, sitting in the sun on hot days, my watermelon rolling around- it’s not pretty.
You see, the truck of my car is filled with toys- literally filled.
Toys and balance boards and games.
Balls and juggling sticks, tunnels and monster feet.
Hula hoops, spinning disks and sidewalk chalk.
Since we Brain Fit coaches travel to our clients’ houses, my materials need to come with me. And, since I work with children of a variety of ages and needs, I carry a variety of materials. And, as I discussed in my previous blog post titled “Joy“- we play with clients during every session.
When I first became a Brain Fit Coach, I raided my kids toy bins in their playroom. I had learned all about the primitive reflexes and was aware as to how to choose toys that would work on certain ones. My kids didn’t mind since they are teenagers and many of the toys had sat idle for years. Apparently, we hadn’t cleaned out in awhile!
I even started a list of all the toys I had collected and what reflexes they could work on. Pam Formosa (the owner/director of Brain Fit) thought that was kind of funny since she knows I like to be a “planner”.
Anyway, it’s true. I raided my kids bins and I started a list. I think that list was really just more for myself to get me organized, and I’ll be honest- it didn’t last long. But as far as the toys being used to help integrate certain reflexes? Absolutely!
And, I’ll admit- some of the toys in the toy bag I bring into a session are still organized by the reflex they work on. What can I say? I am a planner after all.
Now, you might ask, how can a toy work to integrate a reflex? Well, when you understand that primitive reflexes are motor patterns- particular movements of the body, you can think about toys that mimic those same motor patterns. Or, perhaps they produce a certain response to sensory stimuli such as a loud noise. Or they help you to get clients looking in a certain direction- such as looking up when working on the TLR (Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex) and focusing on neck mobility.
During a session, once I begin work with my client and we figure out the reflex that we are focusing on that day, I bring out toys that can help integrate that reflex and we use them during “play”.
Some toys are multi-purpose. Balls, beanbags, balance boards, balloons- they can serve a multitude of purposes. Then there are certain toys I reserve for working on certain reflexes- such as the use of my “Boom Rackers”. Boom Rackers are rackets that have a plastic surface that when it hits the accompanying ball, makes a tremendous loud booming noise. That noise is perfect when you are trying to help a client work through a reflex such as MORO- where sensitivity to sounds can be present.
During the play part of my sessions, I always strive to continue to focus on the reflex we’re working on by choosing toys and/or activities that can help integrate it.
But shhh!!! Don’t tell the kids!
To them, it’s just fun play. Fun play with a variety of different toys and items they don’t always see every day. Or- maybe, just some creative play with a beanbag or a ball. Regardless, little do they know that we are actually continuing the work during that time!
So yes, play and toys are super important at Brain Fit. And yes, maybe I go overboard with the amount of toys I carry in my car.
The problem is, the toys don’t fit on the Brain Fit shelves in my basement either.
They’re full too.