Pyramid of Potential



Reading - What do Tracking and the Saccades Have to do With It?




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April 22, 2015


Hey Folks!


Today we explore two important aspects of vision: tracking and saccades. Also, I have included the results of a correlation study I did a couple of years ago on 15 autistic children. Finally, I am announcing the June conference in Saratoga Springs, NY, coinciding with the Jazz Festival in town. You don't want to miss either one of them!! 


Correlation Study of Autism and Moro Reflex

Years ago I noticed that several of the symptoms of Autism were the same as several symptoms of a "retained Moro Reflex". A retained Moro reflex occurs when an infant does not go through an early stage of development well, causing immaturity of the brain and body. To see more on this, watch the following two videos. The first one shows what the reflex looks like and the symptoms that can result from retaining the reflex, and the second includes the exercise to replicate the stage of development, resulting in maturation of the brain and body.


About the Moro Reflex:

How to improve and why it works:


Because I kept seeing clients improve their sociability and hypersensitivity, I had the occupational therapist that I was working with test 15 autistic children to see if they exhibited a retained Moro Reflex. I was not surprised to see that 14 out of 15 did! The mother of the 15th child said, "oh, but you should have seen him 2 months ago before hippo therapy!" (BTW, hippo therapy is physical therapy done on a horse's back). Perhaps that helped the child get through this stage.


There is one more week of Autism Awareness month. We have our Hypersensitivity and Anxiety download on sale (, which includes the exercise from the video, plus others to help with anxiety and motion sickness. Be sure to get yours before the end of the month!


Next week I will be sharing my most incredible story about autism and the Moro reflex. Stay tuned!


We are starting our early bird special for the Brain Advancement Training. Head over to for more information. Contact us if you are interested or have some questions. Act now to save the most money. 


Thank you so much! Kathy

Reading - What do Tracking and the Saccades Have to do With It?


Reading - it's the ability to decipher the written word and make sense of it. Yet, sometimes you run across a child (or older person) who can sound out words, who can understand what is read, but who is very slow at reading. In order to figure out exactly what is going on, next time he is reading, watch his eyes. Do they jump all over the place? Does he need his finger in order to stay on the line? Does he skip lines or repeat lines when reading?


If any of these scenarios are going on, comprehension is lost unless the paragraph is read several times to retain the meaning, while the eyes are jumping. I know - this was why I was a very slow reader until I was in my 40s (Ha! Many people's vision gets worse in their 40s, but mine got better - read on to find out how).


Tracking is the ability to follow a moving object without jumping. You probably can easily understand why good tracking is important - so that the reader does not jump around. However, if you try right now to read this exact line, one letter at a time, you find you cannot - your eyes jump over words, and you read a whole word at a time, due to saccades. Saccades are the ability to easily and efficiently move your eyes from one exact target to another. Fast readers take in several words at a time. Fast readers also are efficient with there their eyes go - because of this ability.


You can test anyone for tracking:

  1. 1.     Hold a pencil 2 feet away from their nose
  2. 2.     Tell them to move their eyes to follow the pencil but not their head
  3. 3.     Move the pencil left and right at a moderate speed while watching their eyes for jumpiness
  4. 4.     Move the pencil in a diagonal while watching eyes
  5. 5.     You might see jumpiness at their nose or in the corners


You can test for saccades by:

  1. 1.     Taking a sheet of blank white paper
  2. 2.     Randomly draw an A, a B, a C, and a D - they should be placed very randomly
  3. 3.     Hold this paper 2 feet from their nose.
  4. 4.     Call out the 4 letters randomly and very slowly to see if they can find the letter quickly and efficiently


What to do about improving a person's ability to refine their vision? It is a multi-step process:

First, integrate the primitive reflexes. The exercises found on Maintaining Brains Everyday were taught to me by Dr. Sam Berne, a developmental optometrist, who gave me permission to share them. He understood that going through developmental stages from infancy again improves the vision pieces that did not improve the first time.


Once that is done for at least 30 days (some people see even more changes if they continue for up to 90 days) it is time to visit the developmental optometrist. You can find someone local by going to


Finally, follow the doctor's recommendations to the letter (LOL). That is what I did and by the time vision therapy was over, I could read the small print in a telephone directory, could read 3 times as fast and I even retained all that I read. In my 40's!! 




June Conference - Don't Miss It!!

Saratoga Jazz Festival:

Consider a vacation in Saratoga Springs, New York!

June 28 - The Plastic Brain:

Improving Memory, Attention, Processing Speed and More

Registration is at

Save by registering before May 15!!


Throughout the day, Ms. Johnson will train participants in exactly how to remediate some of the most difficult problems that are a result of incomplete brain development in infancy. However, as she likes to say, there is no silver bullet! Each child is an individual who will require a unique approach.

Ms. Johnson will describe a model where the emphasis changes from spending increasingly more time and energy on academics to incorporating brain development into early childhood, special education, and regular education classrooms, freeing up the teacher to teach more academics as a result.

She will share the results from an elementary school in Wisconsin who is implementing these methods with significant cognitive improvements in less than a year! "the improvement in the classroom has been the best news that we hear" Wisconsin Teacher Ryan McBurney


The Developing Brain and Case Histories

Body and Mind Health, and the effect on brain development

     Nutrition, Stress, Exercise, Sleep

Neurodevelopmental Stages; Why Cognitive Skills never Developed

     Primitive Reflexes

     Symptoms and Integration exercises

     Incorporating reflex exercises into the school day

Sensory Development

     Auditory Processing

       Symptoms of an auditory processing disorder

       What to do

     Visual Processing

       Tracking and Convergence Screening

       Simple eye exercises

       Irlen Syndrome and Colored Overlays

       Vision Therapy

Cognitive Skills Development

     Phonemic Awareness



     Logic and reasoning

     Processing speed

Integrating brain development into school day without losing precious academic time


June 29 - Primitive Reflexes:

Foundation for Learning

Registration is at

Save by registering before May 15!!



The primitive reflexes have been around as long as people have been around. They are present primarily to force the infant to move the body in such ways that it develops and matures to survive. The additional benefit, as humans, is that along with motor movements, many other brain components are developing that help with academics: the visual system, the auditory system, the ability to concentrate, remember, and understand.


Several people have commented that they believe this is the missing link. And indeed, in my experience since 2000, I have found that the integration of the primitive reflexes to be one of the least expensive and most effective therapies today.


 "I have a student that a year ago was basically a selective mute on the Autistic Spectrum.  I have put a lot of work in class working in the Moro and can report that she changed like a light switch coming on.  She is speaking in class, she will transition independently, is reading basic readers, and is exhibiting significantly fewer behaviors to the point that we may be removing the 1:1 behavioral specialist from her IEP." - California Teacher Mark Steiner



     Case histories

     History of Reflex Integration


     Primitive reflexes guidelines

     Beyond Primitive Reflexes

Moro Reflex:

      Symptoms, Testing, Integration

Palmar Reflex:

      Symptoms, Testing, Integration

Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex:

      Symptoms, Testing, Integration

Spinal Galant:

      Symptoms, Testing, Integration

Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex:

      Symptoms, Testing, Integration

Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex:

      Symptoms, Testing, Integration


NOTE: Please bring a yoga mat or blanket plus a small pillow and wear comfortable clothes as we will be practicing on the floor

Contact Us
Kathy Johnson, MS Ed

Bob Johnson

Pyramid of Potential
245 Washington St #3369
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Take a Look!
Autism Awareness Month Sale!
Get Hypersensitive And Anxiety - Starfish Module Download with a  savings of 20%
The Starfish Module is the first of five series of exercises based on brain development research, designed to complete stages of development that may not have been completed in infancy, or which may have re-emerged due to trauma. Find out more - Sales Page
Offer Expires 4/30/2015. 
Video of the Month!

The best Moro reflex integration exercise

Kathy Johnson of Pyramid of Potential shows the correct way to do the Starfish exercise and why it works so quickly for 90 % of people.
Kathy Johnson of Pyramid of Potential shows the correct way to do the Starfish exercise and why it works so quickly for 90 % of people.

Upcoming Local Presentations

ADHD: Overcoming It Without Drugs 

April 14, 6:30 - 8:45

Presented through the SIMEN network

Saratoga Public Library, Saratoga Springs, NY


Stroke and TBI: What to do beyond Insurance-covered Rehab 

May 21, 6:30 - 8:30

63 Putnam Street, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866


Improving Reading When Reading Methods Don't Work Well Enough 

June 18, 6:30 - 8:30

63 Putnam Street, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866


Improving Handwriting and Composition Abilities

August 20. 6:30 - 8:30

63 Putnam Street, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866


Improving Math and Word Problems When the Methods Don't Work Well Enough

September 17, 6:30 - 8:30

63 Putnam Street, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866


Where's Kathy?

It is now time to set up your professional development at your school - Kathy is available for many dates this Fall! Call now to secure YOUR date!


Below are the upcoming workshops that Kathy Johnson is giving. If she is not coming to your area, why not hire her for your next professional development?


  Kathy Johnson Photo 2010

Leading Edge Seminars Inc.

Working with Children with ADD 

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

June 1, 2015 9:00 to 4:30


Thursday, April 23, 2015 in OKLAHOMA CITY, OK 
Early Registration: $189.99 

Friday, April 24, 2015 in DALLAS, TX
Early Registration: $189.99 


Wednesday, May 13, 2015 in FORT LEE, NJ 
Early Registration: $189.99 

Thursday, May 14, 2015 in PARSIPPANY, NJ
Early Registration: $189.99 

Friday, May 15, 2015 in SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ 
Early Registration: $189.99 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015 in WHITE PLAINS, NY 
Early Registration: $189.99 

Thursday, September 24, 2015 in PLAINVIEW, NY
Early Registration: $189.99 

Friday, September 25, 2015 in MANHATTAN, NY
Early Registration: $189.99 


If you aren't near any of these on-site professional development conferences, consider the following:


Dyslexia, Dyscalculia & Dysgraphia: An Integrated Approach   Price: $169.99  Author: Kathy Johnson, MS Ed.  Format: DVD