Quantum Reflex Integration, QRI®
By Rosemary Slade, pediatric occupational therapist
I specialize in working with children who have developmental delays, including Autism. I use many modalities when working with children, including Therapeutic Listening ©, Quantum Reflex Integration and Sensory Integration Therapies.
I am writing this article to talk about the positive impact the QRI Harmonic Laser and Integration protocol have made in a little boy named John’s life. I have been working with John for about 18 months now. I am one of several occupational therapists currently providing supports and interventions for both mom and John.
I started seeing John in October 2011, twice a month, initially for Therapeutic Listening and Sensory Integration Techniques. John was 5 years old. He has a diagnosis of PDD-NOS, as well as verbal apraxia and apraxia of motor function. He has received many therapies and interventions in the last 4+ years: Neurodevelopmental, Speech, ABA, DIR/Floor time, Music, Vision and Occupational Therapies from others and recently, with me.
In October 2011, John had challenges with sensory motor/gross motor movements (jumping, riding a bike, swinging on a swing). He also had challenges with fine motor skills such as holding a pencil and handwriting. In fact, he refused to do these things and typically had a melt-down because it was so very stressful for him. He also had a limited vocabulary, limited eye contact, he hummed loudly and at times constantly, he had a fixation for his train set and he twisted his fingers while he hummed. His stress level was intense and he had a repertoire of escape behaviors. Any demand or request from an adult would typically result in refusal to do the task, a melt-down or both behaviors. Loud noises in particular bothered him and being in a public restroom when the hand dryers went off would send him into such a meltdown situation that mom actively avoided going into public places. Toileting was a challenge. (He is now independent with #1s, but remains deathly afraid of bowel movements and still requires help with #2s).
Therapies I have provided have included: Drinking from a variety of straws, drinking from an open cup, jumping on a ball with two hands held with him bending his knees, and tolerating other noises in his environment. We began Therapeutic Listening and mom began the GAPS Diet (Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet) about the same time, in January of 2012.
The GAPS diet made a big difference in his overall ability to focus. This has helped him better interact with people, be out in public, tolerate wearing the headphones as well as tolerate different noises in his environment. He has improved in interactions with others, increasingly using more social skills, but did not help remediate the public restroom challenge. Over time, I noted more spontaneous eye contact. Jumping skills slowly improved, but no real progress has been seen with fine motor skills. Humming and finger twisting remained the same. Melt-downs and overall noncompliance slightly improved. He did transition to drinking through other straws but still does not drink from an open cup. He continued to exhibit what I interpret to be extreme stress responses to verbal requests made of him (meltdowns, humming, finger bending). Over time he made steady but slow progress. Mom transitioned him from ABA school to public school in 2012. He is in a self- contained unit and inclusion for socialization.
In September 2012 I attended a Quantum Reflex Integration course taught by Bonnie Brandes. It was a piece to the puzzle that I knew I must incorporate into my occupational therapy practice. At the time, Bonnie was developing her QRI Harmonic Laser. I began use of the QRI Harmonic Laser in January 2013, once a week with John.
I have noted the following positive changes in John since using the laser: Stress level has greatly decreased, which has provided him the opportunity for learning. Motor skills have greatly improved. He is now wearing a helmet and riding a bike without training wheels. He is riding his Razor scooter and is able to ride it from home to school, with mom as chaperone. He goes on bike riding outings with his other OT during the weekends. He can pump a swing independently. He is occasionally picking up a pencil voluntarily and making some marks with it. He is making eye contact with all adults and children and trying to verbally interact. Vocabulary has greatly improved; clarity of speech has slightly improved. He spontaneously hugged me several times, and references me often, demanding I pay attention to his requests. The loud humming and finger twisting has greatly decreased – he does it occasionally and when he is either stressed out or the noise level environmentally is too much for him. He is socially appropriate when he is in his inclusion classes, and in inclusion events. He wants to be with neurotypical peers and now has a neurotypical child he plays with weekly. The school is having an ARD soon to discuss his academic career – school personnel recognize that his skills (academic, social, etc.) are greater than his contained classroom and lesser than in his inclusion classes and are going to come up with a plan to help him spend more time in inclusion, doing what his peers are doing in inclusion. These are huge, lasting changes in a short period of time. Skills gained thus far are much more spontaneous vs. taught. He is learning from his environment, but not due to hand-over-hand.
The big challenges and areas where we have not seen many improvements are with bowel / personal hygiene and fine motor/ academics (interest in handwriting, etc.). We are optimistic that we will continue to see positive changes over time.
I have used the laser with all the children on my caseload and have seen positive changes in all the children I treat, with a variety of diagnoses, including but not limited to on the spectrum. Consistent feedback with all has been: increased motor skills, increased affection and decreased stress responses.
Back to John and his personal testimony: He now reclines comfortably on me, with very few protests, increasingly comfortable in his own skin and with his sensory inputs, during our weekly sessions. It is like he welcomes the sessions, says mom.