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Integrative Therapy for Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Connecting Primitive Reflexes and Brain Imbalances to Polyvagal Theory to Improve Learning, Behavior and Social Skills

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Robert Melillo, MS, MNeuroSci, DC, PhD (C) DABCN, FACFN, FABCDD
6 Hours 37 Minutes
Audio and Video
Nov 30, 2018
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Digital Recording
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Motor, sensory, behavioral, academic, digestive, immune and autonomic dysregulation issues are all seen in various combinations and degrees in neurobehavioral disorders such as ADHD, Autism, learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and social skills deficits.

But, why? What is the link? Most experts believe that these disorders are connected to one another. How? In this recording, Dr. Melillo will answer these questions in the most practical way.

Based on 20 years of clinical experience and cutting-edge brain science, Dr. Melillo will teach you new and innovative therapy techniques that connect motor development to cognitive development, and examine the relationship to early milestones and retained primitive reflexes. You will learn to tie all of this together with the Polyvagal Theory, brain hemisphericity and a holistic understanding of how the brain and the hemispheres regulate everything. You will learn techniques and tools that translate into clinical success no matter what the condition or severity.

With the rise of developmental neurobehavioral disorders and the overwhelming wide spectrum of related symptoms, understanding the root cause of neurobehavioral and learning disorders is essential to successful treatment.

From this recording, you'll learn:

  • Techniques to identify and remediate Polyvagal issues, retained primitive reflexes and a wide variety of behavioral, learning and social issues
  • Strategies to quickly and effectively inhibit primitive reflexes and promote the development of postural reflexes
  • Tools to asses and promote balance in postural, oculomotor and vestibular systems
  • Assessments for motor, sensory, academic, cognitive and behavioral skills
  • Sensory, motor, cognitive and behavioral techniques to promote brain integration
  • Nutritional and simple dietary assessments and interventions



This online program is worth 6.5 hours CPD.



Robert Melillo, MS, MNeuroSci, DC, PhD (C) DABCN, FACFN, FABCDD's Profile

Robert Melillo, MS, MNeuroSci, DC, PhD (C) DABCN, FACFN, FABCDD Related seminars and products

ROBERT MELILLO, MS, MNeuroSci, DC, PhD (C) DABCN, FACFN, FABCDD, is a world-renowned expert in developmental functional neurology, brain imbalances, hemispheric integration and the diagnosis and correction of most neurobehavioral disorders and learning disabilities. He has graduate degrees in clinical rehabilitation neuropsychology, neurology, neuroscience, and chiropractic. Dr. Melillo is a prolific brain researcher, having authored five best-selling books, including Disconnected Kids, 50 peer-reviewed papers, and a major textbook Neurobehavioral Disorders of Childhood: An Evolutionary Perspective. He created Brain Balance Achievement Centers, which has approximately 150 centers and has helped tens of thousands of families.

Dr. Melillo has presented at numerous clinical and scientific conferences around the world and has taught his own course in a post graduate level for over 20 years. He is an associate professor of Developmental Disabilities at National University of Health Sciences, as well as cofounder and past president of the International Association of Functional Neurology and Rehab. Due to Dr. Melillo’s authority in the field, he has been featured in documentaries, appeared in thousands of radio and TV interviews, and hosts a TV show, radio show, and webseries.

Financial Disclosure:

Financial: Robert Melillo is cofounder of the International Association of Functional Neurology and Rehab. He is an associate professor at National University of Health Sciences. He is an author for Penguin Publishing and receives royalties. Dr. Melillo receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc.

Non-financial: Robert Melillo has no relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.


  1. Explain the relationship between brain development, primitive reflexes and developmental milestones to effectively treat neurobehavioral and learning disorders.
  2. Summarize the role of retained primitive reflexes in the development of neurobehavioral disorders.
  3. Complete a primitive reflex assessment in clients of all ages and implement specific exercises to inhibit each reflex and promote the development of postural reflexes.
  4. Analyze the connection between autonomic, immune and social engagement dysregulation and discuss the clinical implications.
  5. Implement clinical assessments of neurodevelopmental imbalances in clients.
  6. Identify how attachment, Polyvagal systems and hemispheric imbalances relate to symptoms of ADHD, OCD, dyslexia, processing disorders, or autism, as well as other mental health, behavior, and educational issues.
  7. Develop comprehensive treatment plans to improve and correct developmental neurological imbalances.


  • Epidemiology of mental health, educational, and neurobehavioral disorders
  • Movement and brain development
  • Brain development through segregation, integration, and localization of networks
  • Primitive and postural reflex development and retention, plus the relationship to brain development
  • Brain asymmetry, development, function, and integration of the hemispheres, plus the relationship to learning disabilities, behavioral
  • disorders and socialization issues
  • What are primitive reflexes? Why and how do they develop?
  • Assess primitive reflexes in infants, children, and adults
  • Symptoms associated with specific primitive reflex retention
  • Asymmetry of primitive reflexes and the relationship to brain imbalances, ADHD, dyslexia
  • HANDS-ON LAB: Remediation exercises for primitive reflexes
  • CASE STUDY: Adult female with multiple retained primitive reflexes, history of dyslexia, depression, digestive issues, and syncope
  • Polyvagal theory and evolution of the autonomic system
  • Fear paralysis reflex, the Moro reflex, and both the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems development
  • Relate movement and primitive reflexes with Polyvagal Theory
  • Autonomic and hemispheric regulation of immune system, gut function, and other issues
  • Assess autonomic development, heart rate variability, and autonomic dysregulation
  • Connect brainstem development, the development of the social engagement system, and attachment disorders
  • HANDS-ON LAB: 35 ways to stimulate the Vagal system
  • CASE STUDY: Child with ADHD, retained Moro reflex, and abnormal heart rate variability
  • CASE STUDY: Patient with autonomic imbalance and autism
  • Right brain vs left brain functions
    • Why and how the right and left brain become specialized
    • How imbalances can develop
    • How imbalance produces specific symptoms
  • HANDS-ON LAB: Testing for brain imbalances
    • Cognitive style profile
    • Hemispheric checklist
    • Postural hemispheric exam
    • Cranial nerve exam
  • Develop specialized hemispheric-based treatment to restore balance
  • CASE STUDY: Patient with dyslexia, learning disabilities and retained primitive reflexes
  • Understanding attachment and behavior
  • Relate attachment with movement and discover the subconscious way we form and maintain relationships, and how this can affect us our whole life
  • How the brain hemispheres contribute to attachment
  • Functional neurology of human behavior, relationships and emotions
  • HANDS-ON LAB: Use the adult attachment inventory as a diagnostic tool
  • HANDS-ON LAB: Target functional neurology networks diagnostically and therapeutically
  • CASE STUDY: Patient with reactive attachment disorder and ADHD

Target Audience

  • Physical Therapists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Speech-Language Pathologists
  • Physical Therapist Assistants
  • Occupational Therapy Assistants
  • Speech-Language Pathology Assistants
  • Educators
  • Psychologists
  • Counselors



Overall:      5

Total Reviews: 7


Shelley B

"I have referred numerous colleagues to this course- super relevant and super neglected part of our practice as OTs even in peds! THANKS FOR THE WORK YOU DO DR MELILLO!!"

Becky P

"Very useful course!"

kristy b

"great! I want to test everyone's primitive reflexes now!"

Anna N

"I am very excited to use this information and these techniques my pediatric OT practice!"

Shannon I

"Incredible course!!!"

Angie K

"Excellent course, Robert Melillo was very knowledgeable. I would like to do more of his courses. "

Marlene "Marcy" V

"Excellent course! Keep giving seminars on this topic!"

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