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It is important for parents and caregivers to understand how a child’s brain develops. Too often pediatricians are not concerned with children reaching their developmental milestones on time, when in fact, any delays in reaching milestones can be a red flag for future issues. Primitive reflexes that do not start going away by six months of age can be the first major sign of a neurological problem developing. The earlier the problem is detected, the quicker it can be remediated.
Reflex remediation exercises are simple for parents to perform at home. There are several primitive reflexes but the following are most associated with brain imbalances when they remain unintegrated.
- The Rooting Reflex is an automatic movement infants make, turning their face toward a stimulus and “rooting” or sucking in order to receive nourishment. The Rooting Reflex assists in successful breastfeeding. You can see the reflex in action by lightly stroking an infant’s cheek. They will turn their head toward the stimulus and begin to root.
- The Moro Reflex is an automatic reaction to sudden sensory stimuli. A sudden change of any kind– bright light, change in head position, temperature change, loud noise, intense odor, touch — can trigger the Moro Reflex. It is characterized by the infant spreading out the arms, arching the back, and crying.
- The Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (ATNR) helps the infant develop hearing with both ears and binocular vision – critical skills for learning. The baby is also learning awareness of the two sides of the body and, eventually the midline.
- The Spinal Galant Reflex is seen when the skin along the side of an infant’s back is stroked, the infant will swing towards the side that was stroked.The reflex may help synchronize body movements on one side and to develop balance for crawling on hands and knees.
- The Landau Reflex is key for core strength, balance, stability, and visual processing. The infant receives brain stimulation through repetition of the Landau movement pattern and via the feedback from being prone on the ground. It is critically important for sensory input and the baby’s development to be prone.
When testing for these reflexes, parents may notice that one side of the body reacts stronger than the other. This may be a sign of a hemispheric imbalance within the brain – which can be remediated with targeted specific exercises. It may also be a sign of something more severe such as nerve damage or a brain injury.
If primitive reflexes remain unintegrated past the typical timeframe it is time to get started with exercises to remediate them. The movements are simple and effective and rely on repetition to work. With consistent, daily performance of the movements, the child should integrate their reflexes within four to six months.
If a child was delayed with motor milestones such as creeping, crawling, or rolling over, it is a sign that they may have primitive reflexes still intact. Begin a primitive reflex integration program as soon as you can to help your child develop.
By monitoring primitive reflexes closely during infancy and remediating them early, you can help ensure the healthy development of brain connections that advance a newborn from one milestone to the next. As noted in the ‘Developmental Pyramid’ photo above, the child’s foundation to all higher-level brain functioning is their primitive reflexes. Reflexes must integrate to achieve each level of the pyramid with most success.
An extensive research survey demonstrated the relationship between the retention of infant reflexes and a wide range of neuro-developmental disorders like autism and ADHD. These retained primitive reflexes can have long term effects on cognitive development even into adulthood. Once your child has been assessed for primitive reflex retention, targeted therapeutic interventions are available to improve neurological development. However the first step to the program is to inhibit any retained primitive reflexes found.
The way to get rid of primitive reflexes is to use them. Start the reintegration exercises today that are provided in our Online Primitive Reflex & Brain Integrations Program. These exercises can help start the process of balancing the brain so that your child can overcome developmental delays. These exercises can also be done by adults and parents, of whom as many as 40% may also have retained primitive reflexes. Rest assured that this initial step in remediation is easy and does not take long. However, 20 plus years of experience has shown that if we use a hemispheric integration program, along with these exercises, these reflexes are inhibited much more quickly. Contact us to get started today!