Developmental Movement Therapy

Developmental Movement Therapy (Extra LessonTM)

Can you imagine trying to build a house without putting in a firm foundation? Trying to remediate a child who simply does not have the foundation for their “house of learning” is very difficult. At the Developmental Learning Centre, we believe our first task is to address the underlying immaturities and develop a good neurological foundation. Developmental Movement Therapy (Extra Lesson™) is one of the primary tools we use to accomplish this task in each child.

Central to this therapy is the idea that learning and behavioural difficulties are a result of developmental issues or mild delays in a child’s early years. Neural pathways ( or wiring), and the other  faculties needed for learning to be easeful, such as spatial orientation, body geography, balance and visual perceptual skills are not fully developed. The child enters school without the equipment he needs to learn, and is not ready. By repeating early childhood movement patterns, we are able to ‘rewire’ brain and rebuild the “house of learning” from the foundation up.

Watch our video below to see the wonderful results Developmental Movement Therapy can have on children with learning and behavioural difficulties.

How do I know if my child is going to benefit?

Before we undertake any therapies, it is necessary to ASSESS and IDENTIFY the underlying causes of your child's difficulties. The ASSESS stage is made up of two elements – the Developmental Movement Assessment and the Auditory Processing Assessment. We strongly recommend your child completes both so that we can gain a full picture of your child’s difficulties. However, in some cases we do offer the assessments separately.

We have developed a quick Learning Difficulties Symptoms Test to help you understand if your child might benefit from our natural and holistic therapies. Take our free online test.

What is involved in the Developmental Movement Assessment?

Before we undertake any therapies, it is necessary to ASSESS and IDENTIFY the underlying causes of your child's difficulties. The ASSESS stage is made up of two elements – the Developmental Movement Assessment and the Auditory Processing Assessment. We strongly recommend your child completes both to gain a full picture of their difficulties. However, in some cases we do offer the assessments separately. Once the tests are completed, we will be able to IDENTIFY the underlying causes of your child's difficulties and recommend the right treatment. 

Here are the different elements we test for in the Developmental Movement Assessment:

1) Neuro-developmental Maturity:

• Primitive Reflexes
• Postural Reflexes
• Retained Midline Barriers
• Cerebellum function (motor planning)

2) Foundation Faculties of Learning:

• Spatial Orientation
• Body Geography
• Balance and vestibular function
• Simple Dominance and Laterality
• Fine and Gross Motor Skills
• Visual Perceptual Skills
• Sensory Processing

3) Listening Skills:

• Scan Test for Auditory Processing in Children or Adults
• Auditory analysis
• Auditory sequential memory

4) Academics:

Standardised and diagnostic testing for:
Reading, Writing, Mathematics and Spelling.

Once the assessments are completed, we will be able to IDENTIFY the underlying causes of your child's difficulties and recommend the right treatment.

Book an Assessment at the Developmental Learning Centre.

What does Developmental Movement Therapy involve?

We carry out 1 hour, weekly, one-to-one session with a trained Extra Lesson therapist together with  15 minutes of daily home exercise practice which is an essential part of the programme.

Who is it for?

Most common for children 5-13 years. Adolescents up to 18 years may also benefit.

How does it work?

Developed by educator Audrey McAllen, Developmental Movement Therapy (Extra Lesson™) is based on the knowledge that any immaturity or delay in the development of the underlying faculties of learning causes learning and behavioural difficulties. Combined with the work on retained primitive reflexes by Sally Goddard, of the Institute for Neuro – Physiological Psychology, the Extra Lesson programme revisits the early childhood movement patterns, so that the underlying foundations of learning can be strengthened and restored. The programme has two phases:

Phase 1: Developmental floor exercises, painting, and many other exercises and games to develop body geography and spatial orientation, gross motor coordination, cerebellum and vestibular function, as well as initial midline crossing and reflex suppression exercises.

Phase 2: Advanced primitive reflex suppression exercises, midline suppression exercises, rhythmical integration therapy, and drawing exercises to develop visual perception.

What types of activities will my child do?

A programme will be designed specifically for your child, based on the findings of the ASSESS and IDENTIFY stages. However all will include the initial developmental floor exercises (such as rolling, lizard crawling, bear walking etc.) as well as bean bag exercises, fingers and toe awareness exercises, painting exercises with beautiful water colour paint, rope jumping, balance beam work, Swiss ball activities, and  drawing exercises. Many are accompanied with rhythmical rhymes or songs for the younger children to engage their imagination and make the exercises fun. The exercises are adapted for teens and rhythmical counting may be used instead to provide the rhythmic component of the therapy.  For more detail on the activities your child will complete, click here.

How long will it take?

At the Developmental Learning Centre, we design a unique programme for each child to meet their individual needs. However most children will need to attend approximately 40 therapy sessions over the course of 12 months (during school terms) and also complete the daily home exercise requirement. The therapy will be completed more quickly if the child is able to complete the prescribed home exercises 7 days per week. However, these time-lengths are a guide as some children may need shorter or longer programmes. We will be able to offer an answer once your child has completed the ASSESS and IDENTIFY stages of our approach.

How will I know it is working?

Many parents see a change in their children quite soon after beginning therapy. However in most cases changes are gradual, and each child is different. Changes in coordination are usually the first signs as the child moves through the developmental floor exercises, with improvements in swimming, cycling and sporting activities often noticed by parents.  We expect to see academic changes emerging by the end of the first phase of therapy (approximately 6 months).

“Her teacher could not believe the change in just a matter of weeks – she began to follow instructions properly and stay on task, which was a huge struggle previously. Then her reading and writing improved dramatically - she went up two grades and hit national standard after just two months. She started to really enjoy learning and became more confident in herself because she was actually achieving things!”  Marieke Waghorn, Parent, Katikati. 

After approximately 30 sessions and the completion of the Developmental Floor Exercise programme we will complete a 3 ½ hour Interim Reassessment including academics and parent and teacher feedback. At the Parent Conference  we will tell you how your child is progressing with their neurodevelopmental issues. This interim reassessment also gives us the information we need to plan the second phase of therapy. We will be able to tell you at this time how many more weeks of therapy your child will need. We then conduct a 1 ½ hour Final Reassessment at the end of the programme.

Does your child have learning or behavioural difficulties?

Call 0800 543 399 or Request a free call back from one of our experienced team to understand how your child could benefit from our natural and holistic therapies.