#294 - A Primitive Reflex Integration Success Story You Don't Want to Miss!

by Jessica Hill, COTA/L & Rachel Harrington, COTA/L, AC February 06, 2024

#294 - A Primitive Reflex Integration Success Story You Don't Want to Miss!

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A Primitive Reflex Integration Success Story You Don't Want to Miss!

We are so excited to introduce you to Jill Gockel, mom of 5, who left the corporate world at the end of 2016 to stay at home with her kids. In addition to raising her 5 kids, she also invests in real estate, has an online business, & is a continual learner.

Our conversation with Jill centers around primitive reflexes. She explains how she first learned about primitive reflexes and the results she and her family have seen since going through our digital course.

Learn more about our primitive reflex digital course: https://harkla.co/products/primitive-reflexes-course

We’d love to answer your questions on the podcast! Fill out this form -> https://harkla.typeform.com/to/ItWxQNP3


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A Primitive Reflex Integration Success Story You Don't Want To Miss

Jill, the mother of five, uncovered underlying primitive reflexes while tending to her children's needs, prompting her to delve into Harkla's specialized course. Her endorsement underscored her family's remarkable progress in social skills, self-assurance, and emotional control through Harkla's online program on primitive reflexes. 

Jill's Primer on Primitive Reflexes

After Jill gave birth to twins, she encountered feeding challenges related to tongue and lip ties. Despite initial unsuccessful efforts to address the issue, she diligently sought advice from various specialists. 

Ultimately, an expert identified retained primitive reflexes within Jill's family, leading to interventions for tongue ties, occupational therapy, and dietary modifications. Yet, difficulties with solid foods, sensory processing, and emotional well-being persisted.

Results From Harkla's Primitive Reflex Course

During the summer, Jill introduced her children to the activity routines in the primitive reflex course after individual screenings for each child. Immersed in these activities, Jill and her kids showed daily enthusiasm and dedication, and their perseverance resulted in remarkable progress.

12-year-old son 

Jill's son used to avoid making eye contact, often showing a lack of confidence and focusing on classmates instead of himself. After six to eight weeks of committed primitive reflex exercises, he began making direct eye contact, actively participating in meaningful discussions, and exuding confidence.

10-year-old daughter

Jill's daughter once battled profound anxiety, often overwhelmed by tears triggered by school stress, past traumas, or childhood memories. After two months of committed primitive reflex exercises, her anxiety has alleviated, leading to an enhanced quality of life.

One of the twins

One of Jill's twins used to display self-conscious behavior, often observed hunched over with arms crossed and reserved in public. Following months of dedicated work to address his Moro Reflex, he astounded everyone at his school's Christmas concert with a confident performance, revealing a remarkable transformation.

Her other twin 

Jill's other twin displays the most primitive reflexes among her family members, including:

  • Profound fears that significantly affected his daily life.
  • Minor alterations to his day heightened his anxiety.
  • Acute awareness of germs made him hypersensitive to contamination, leading to heightened rituals.
  • Experiencing sensitivity to sound.
  • Social interactions present challenges for him as he consistently avoids playing with others. I

After integrating primitive reflex activities into our routine multiple times weekly, progress - though gradual - was significantly meaningful. This empowerment led to active participation in soccer, with heartwarming social and physical interactions observed.

Reflecting on These Results

The primitive reflex course has a transformative impact, altering lives. It's like children trapped in a perpetual struggle to grasp the incomprehensible; guiding them through exercises effectively rewires their cognitive pathways.

An essential aspect of this voyage involves surmounting challenges. As children triumph over a difficult task and witness advancement, it elevates their self-assurance. 

Sustaining Motivation

A consistent daily schedule can enhance time management, fostering predictability and dependability. Jill realized the benefits of combining tasks. 

Encouraging children to make independent decisions while underscoring the significance of results cultivates a sense of accountability. When your child shows a strong interest in something, prioritize those activities. 

Start with one child to offer undivided attention before involving other siblings. Participating in activities instead of assigning individual tasks elevates happiness and unity, enriching the workout routine.

Parents Can Benefit As Well

When utilizing the adult checklist provided in the primitive reflex course, Jill discovered that she might also have some retained primitive reflexes. Recognizing the necessity for change, she actively participated in the activities with her children, resulting in substantial personal transformations.

Reshaping thoughts and dedicating them to the process takes much work. Jill was fascinated by how a task, originally for checking off a list, could significantly improve social interactions, boost confidence, and enhance conversational fluidity.

Balancing Activities Amidst a Hectic Schedule

The program on primitive reflexes offers straightforward and captivating activities that helped Jill encourage her kids to complete tasks enthusiastically, especially when they did them together. As a parent, it's crucial to appreciate the subtle nuances in your child's behavior, such as:

  • While practicing opening and closing objects, Jill admired the nimbleness of her son's tiny hands - the strong grip and precise movements. 
  • Jill's eldest child finds it challenging to perform basic tasks, such as pretending to be Superman, but laughter helps uplift the atmosphere. 

Jill realized the importance of establishing a regular schedule for these activities and ensuring consistency, even if assigning specific days for each child. Jill noted that the course is adaptable and accommodating, laying the groundwork for essential skills to grow.

Jill's Course Q&A

I understand the importance of following the order of integration when doing exercises. It's crucial not to move on to integrating a later reflex if the Moro reflex hasn't been fully integrated yet. However, if one reflex is not fully integrated but we are actively working on it, is it acceptable to progress to the next one? Can we work on two reflexes simultaneously in a step-by-step manner?

Avoid multitasking initially to prevent overloading the brain. Start with one task, get it going, and then gradually move to the next. It's about pacing and not overwhelming the system with multiple exercises.

What are the signs that something may be wrong as an adult if a reflex suddenly reappears? In your course, you discussed the integration of reflexes and how an external event, like a fall, can trigger a reflex. 

Experiencing trauma, whether physical, emotional, or a mix, can regress the body to a primal state. If daily activities become a struggle - from simple tasks like shopping to keeping motivation, or if your mood feels tougher than usual - it's time to dig deeper.

As key indicators, watch for persistent headaches, migraines, and heightened sensitivity to sunlight, fabrics, or sounds. Pregnancy, though often seen as smooth and joyful, can be demanding, impacting your physical and mental well-being. 

Key Takeaways

Jill enthusiastically endorses the primitive reflex course, aiming to help other families benefit from it. Here is some final advice:

  • Begin by doing these exercises with your child. Whether you are a therapist or not, participating in these activities with your clients can prove advantageous.
  • Consistency is crucial. Integrate reflex exercises into the family calendar to highlight their significance, boost visibility, and transform them from simple entries to meaningful commitments.
  • Remaining fully engaged in this journey is essential, as well as practicing patience both with yourself and your child as reflexes integrate.
  • Remember to take breaks when needed and celebrate the milestones reached along the way.  






While we make every effort to share correct information, we are still learning. We will double check all of our facts but realize that medicine is a constantly changing science and art. One doctor / therapist may have a different way of doing things from another. We are simply presenting our views and opinions on how to address common sensory challenges, health related difficulties and what we have found to be beneficial that will be as evidenced based as possible. By listening to this podcast, you agree not to use this podcast as medical advice to treat any medical condition in either yourself or your children. Consult your child’s pediatrician/ therapist for any medical issues that he or she may be having. This entire disclaimer also applies to any guests or contributors to the podcast. Under no circumstances shall Rachel Harrington, Harkla, Jessica Hill, or any guests or contributors to the podcast, as well as any employees, associates, or affiliates of Harkla, be responsible for damages arising from use of the podcast.

Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.

This podcast should not be used in any legal capacity whatsoever, including but not limited to establishing “standard of care” in a legal sense or as a basis for expert witness testimony. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy of any statements or opinions made on the podcast.

Jessica Hill, COTA/L & Rachel Harrington, COTA/L, AC
Jessica Hill, COTA/L & Rachel Harrington, COTA/L, AC

Rachel Harrington, COTA/l, AC, CPRCS, and Jessica Hill, COTA/L, CPRCS are Harkla's in-house Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTA) and Certified Primitive Reflex Clinical Specialists. They have been working with children for over 6 years in outpatient settings. They specialize in creating easy-to-digest, actionable content that families can use to help their child's progress at home. Jessica and Rachel are the in-house experts, content creators, and podcast hosts at Harkla! To learn more about Jessica and Rachel, visit the Harkla About Us Page. Make sure to listen to their weekly podcast, All Things Sensory by Harkla for actionable, fun advice on child development.

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