The Masgutova Method®: What it is and who can benefit from it

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logo_masgutovaAs we recently announced, Saved By Typing will be hosting a 4-day assessment and training workshop for the Masgutova Method®, a comprehensive set of programs that focus on motor reflex and sensory system integration. The program will begin on April 28, 2016, with two days of individual assessments by Dr. Svetlana Masgutova, founder of the Svetlana Masgutova Educational Institute (SMEI,) followed by two days of parent-caregiver training classes on April 30 and May 1.

As many people are unaware of the details of this therapy program, and to help you decide if you want to participate in this special event, we have provided a bit more information about what the Masgutova Method® is, what it does, and, most importantly, who can benefit from it and why it is relevant to the ASD community.

In this video, Masgutova Method, MNRI® Children with Autism, Parent Interview about Assessment Process, a parent discusses what the evaluation process with Dr. Masgutova is like.

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What is The Masgutova Method®?

The primary focus of the Masgutova Neurosensorimotor Reflex Integration (MNRI) Method is to support the integration process of primary motor reflex patterns regardless of a person’s condition or age. While MNRI primary motor reflex pattern techniques alone have the power to improve general function, when combined with the additional MNRI programs Dr. Masgutova has created, the potential for improvement becomes even greater.

The formal roots of the Masgutova Neurosensorimotor Reflex Integration (MNRI) Method began with Dr. Masgutova in 1989. However, the knowledge the method is based upon traces back more than a century, across a broad range of disciplines and a number of notable researchers.

Dr. Masgutova developed a strong interest in reflex maturation and development during her university education in Russia. This fascination became the motivation for her graduate thesis, “Unconditioned reflexes, unconscious processes and personalities.” Dr. Masgutova’s thesis drove her to investigate all available historical information about reflexes, significant portions of which remained available only in Russian until the late 1900’s. Her investigation led her to study the work of reflex and development pioneers, whom she now attributes as providing the theoretical basis of the MNRI Method. These researchers include: I. Sechenov, C. Sherrington, L. Vigotsky, A. Luria, A. Leontyev and others.

Dr. Masgutova had just finished her Ph.D. at the Scientific Research Institute at the Russian Education Academy in Moscow (1988) and began in her Post Graduate career when news hit the Russian media regarding the tragic train accident outside of Ufa, Russia. She joined the large team of medical professionals to help the survivors through the event’s aftermath. When she arrived to help, had she not been familiar with the learning and reflex theories of Vigotsky and Sechenov, the idea of engaging movement to enhance recovery might not have entered her thoughts. Facing the tragic circumstances with ingenuity, she built on simple movement and tactile activities, hers and the children’s (as they were able), to draw out many psychologically trapped children. The results were nothing short of amazing with psychological, emotional, and physical recovery times far faster than expected given the level of trauma.

When faced with the overwhelming task of helping physically and emotionally traumatized children, Dr. Masgutova quickly concluded that a cognitive approach would be insufficient to reach the traumatized children. The Ufa disaster demonstrated first hand for Dr. Masgutova the dysfunction and pathology that can result in the aftermath of extreme trauma. The surviving children were severely wounded and burned but they also had deep emotional distress as well. Many children had witnessed horrendous injury and death of friends and family, leaving them traumatized, generally non-responsive, and as Dr. Masgutova learned, with many primary reflex motor patterns actively present.

At Ufa, Dr. Masgutova developed real-time techniques that acted to drop the protective guard present in each child’s body. Her approach paid off as the children began to reconnect with the world. Dr. Masgutova remained with the children for months as each child proceeded through his difficult recovery. Their progress was so noticeable that other areas in the hospital became interested in her work. Dr. Masgutova’s burgeoning integration techniques were therefore used with adult survivors as well.

More information: History of the Ufa Train Catastrophe and Dr. Masgutova’s Role (opens in new window)

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How does the Masgutova Method® work?

The MNRI process begins with a basic assessment to identify whether dysfunctional or deeper pathological automatic primary motor reflex patterns are present. Once challenged reflex patterns are identified, an MNRI treatment plan is created and the integration process can begin. The MNRI basic assessment is designed to determine the integration state of each primary motor reflex pattern. The first step is to simply determine if a primary motor reflex pattern is active (not integrated) or not (integrated). To determine the current reflex pattern state, a sensory stimulus (specific to each reflex) is applied and the resulting response is observed.

Ideally, an MNRI Method assessment begins by inviting your child or client to assume the reflex position in which primary motor reflex pattern first emerged in infancy. Often pictures are used (from manual or support tools) to provide a better understanding of the desired position. If a child is too young to understand verbal directions, he is gently placed in position for the assessment to begin.

Once in position, the basic elements of each reflex pattern is evaluated (using the five reflex parameters noted above), followed by an evaluation of the variant elements of the reflex pattern. Once basic and variant patterns have been evaluated, the state of each reflex pattern is determined, i.e. functional, dysfunctional or pathological. The assessment continues in this same fashion until the functional state of each primary motor reflex pattern has been determined.

After completing an MNRI Method assessment, the state of each reflex pattern is characterized as functional, dysfunctional, or pathological. Five parameters are used to evaluate the general functional state of each reflex pattern:

  • Pattern: the sensory stimulus leading to the correct response or sequence of responses. Normal functioning of each reflex pattern depends upon the appropriate coordination within the underlying neurosensorimotor mechanism.
  • Direction: the reflex response occurring in the correct sequence and ending in the correct posture or direction of movement.
  • Timing & Dynamics: the reflex response occurring either immediately after the stimulus is elicited or with a delay.
  • Intensity: the strength of the response to reflect the intensity of the stimulus.
  • Symmetry: is the symmetry of response apparent in the body structure, the reflex motion, response time and intensity of the reaction? Symmetry can be seen in the body structure, in the motion of a reflex, in the response time, and in the intensity of reaction.

Individual MNRI treatment plans vary based on the unique circumstances faced by each individual. Each treatment plan consists of the set of primary motor reflex patterns found to be dysfunctional during an individual MNRI assessment. Treatment plans vary in complexity depending upon the number of reflexes included in the plan and the level of dysfunction present among the reflexes addressed in a particular plan.

More information: Download Masgutova Neurosensorimotor Integration Method (PDF opens in new window)

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Who can benefit from the Masgutova Method®?

Basically, anyone and everyone can potentially benefit from the Masgutova Neurosensorimotor Reflex IntegrationSM (MNRI) Method. Automatic primary motor reflex movements and patterns are the primary focus of the MNRI® Method due to the key role they play, which include:

  1. Providing protection during infancy and when neurosensorimotor challenges are present
  2. In development as subordinate components of progressively more complex automatic motor reflex schemes, learned motor skills, and advanced motor planning, communication and cognitive development.

More specifically as it relates to ASD community, the MNRI Children with Challenges Advanced Program focuses on individualizing programs for children who have highly significant developmental challenges. These individuals may display aggressive behavior, deep worry and fear, have autism, cerebral palsy, or delayed intellect or emotional development. These children have great needs and are often the most challenging to assess, understand, and support. This four-day course trains professionals, parents and caregivers how to adapt MNRI techniques despite the depth of challenge present.

By addressing the underlying dysfunction, the Masgutova Method seeks to help the autistic child improve relational and socialization issues, and the ADHD child improve his planning, relational, generalization, and socialization issues by addressing the unique combination of primary motor reflexes that signal specific neurosensorimotor dysfunction. As one of the few truly holistic approaches, it has broad application that can help anyone who is faced with a challenge despite the level of function, dysfunction or pathology that exists.

More information: Who can benefit from the Masgutova Method® (opens in new window)

To receive more information about this special event as it becomes available, click here and complete the form.

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EVERYONE’S A WINNER – World Premiere!! Masgutova Neurosensorimotor Reflex Integration – MNRI®

Watch this video, which was created, animated, and directed by an 11 year old, for an informative and entertaining introduction to the Masgutova Method®.

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