Our treatment program uses evidence-based methods based on research in neuro-plasticity.  Current research supports work with primitive reflexes, neuro-developmental movements, brain hemispheric integration, sensory integration, and movement-based learning programs, such as Brain Connex Therapy.  Read below for research articles on relevant topics. Check back often as we continue to add research, or sign up for our newsletter for the latest.

Infantile Reflexes Gone Astray in Autism


In the cases presented in this paper plus others, we hypothesize that movement disturbances in infants can be interpreted as reflexes gone astray and may be early indicators for a diagnosis of autism. In the children reviewed some reflexes persist too long in infancy, whereas others first appear much later than they should. The asymmetrical tonic neck reflex is one reflex that may persist too long in autism. Head-verticalization in response to body tilt is a reflex that does not appear when it should in a subgroup of autistic-to-be infants. We suggest that it may be used by pediatricians to screen for neurological damage that may be a marker for a subgroup of at-risk for autism children, especially in families where there is a history of autism.

Read the full article here: reflexesgoneastray

ADHD Linked to Un-Integrated Primitive Reflexes


The present research studied the symptomatologic overlap of AD/HD behaviours and retention of four primitive reflexes (Moro, Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex [TLR], Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex [ATNR], Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex [STNR]) in 109 boys aged 7-10 years. Of these, 54 were diagnosed with AD/HD, 34 manifested subsyndromal coordination, learning, emotional and/or behavioural symptoms of AD/HD, and 21 had no (or near to no) symptoms of AD/HD. Measures of AD/HD symptomatology and of the boys’ academic performance were also obtained using the Conners’ rating scale and the WRAT-3, respectively. Results indicated that, in general, boys diagnosed with AD/HD had significantly higher levels of reflex retention than non-diagnosed boys. Results also indicated both direct and indirect relationships between retention of the Moro, ATNR, STNR and TLR reflexes with AD/HD symptomatology and mathematics achievement. The pattern of relationships between these variables was also consistent with the notion of the Moro acting as a gateway for the inhibition of the other three reflexes.

Read the full article here: adhd-primitive-reflex

The Link Between Movement and Learning

Article by Jon Bredal, MA:

In our culture we grow up with the idea that we think with our heads, feel with our hearts and move with our bodies. While this is true in a limited sense, in reality, there is no way to separate the three realms.

It is more accurate to say we think, feel and move as a whole living being and we can never do one, without affecting the other two. Movement is food for the brain as the following article demonstrates. {link to article attached—the link between movement and learning}.

If movement is food for the brain, then infant reflex and rhythmic movements are superfood for the brain. Like green drinks packed with nutrients, the infant movements nourish and develop the brain with great effectiveness.

Read the full article here: link_movement_learning

Can Replicating Primary Reflex Movements Improve Reading Ability?

Background: Poorly integrated and inhibited primitive reflexes can impact an individual’s visual development, balance system and academic performance, most notably in the area of reading. Children diagnosed with reading learning disabilities were assessed in the areas of oculomotilities, tonic reflexes, balance and fine motor. They were also given a headache questionnaire. Students participated in a movement program designed to decrease the amount of primitive reflex present, improve the balance and visual systems and reading ability.

Read the full article here: canreplicatingprimaryreflexmovementsimprovereadingability

Primitive Reflexes in ADHD


According to current findings in the history of neurology proposed by Hughlings Jackson, certain later developed functions during ontogenesis of the central nervous system (CNS) tend to replace the older ones. In this context, recent and historical findings suggest that certain later developed cognitive and motor functions during brain ontogenesis related to higher levels of coordination tend to replace the older ones and their persistence is linked to various neuropsychiatric disorders. Particularly important functional disturbances in ADHD developed early in life likely linked to dissolution process are balance deficits linked to dysfunctions of higher levels of coordination related to neurophysiological and mental functions that typically occur in ADHD. In this context, recent data suggest that one of the important aspects of normal development that may play a role in ADHD is suppression of the so-called primitive reflexes. Taken together these data suggest that ADHD symptoms may present a compensatory process related to interference of more primitive neural mechanism, as related to primitive reflexes, with higher levels of brain functions linked to coordination and balance due to insufficiently developed cognitive and motor integration.

Read the full article here: reflexes_adhd_review

Improve Balance, Relieve Childhood Anxiety

Written by Rick Nauhert, PhD

Many of the 40 million American adults who suffer from anxiety disorders also have problems with balance.

As increasing numbers of children are diagnosed with anxiety, researchers have discovered that the link between balance and anxiety can be assessed at an early age and that something can be done about it before it becomes a problem.

Read the full article here: https://psychcentral.com/news/2009/01/24/improve-balance-relieve-childhood-anxiety/3692.html

Neurological Dysfunction as a Significant Factor in Children with Dyslexia

Written by Blythe, Sally Goddard

It is an accepted medical fact* that the continued presence of primitive reflexes above the age of six months and the absence or under-development of postural reflexes beyond three and a half years of age are reliable indicators of neurological dysfunction, which can affect both motor and perceptual development. A series of standardised neurological tests for abnormal reflexes were carried out on a sample of 54 children who had previously received an independent diagnosis of Dyslexia, to see if neurological dysfunction was a significant factor underlying their Dyslexic symptoms. Additional tests were carried out to assess oculo-motor functioning, visual-perceptual performance and cerebellar involvement including dysdiadochokinesia to see if other areas related to motor development were also a significant factor in the sample.

Abnormal primitive and postural reflexes were found to be a universal underlying factor in this sample. A high percentage of the sample also demonstrated difficulties with oculo-motor functioning, visual-perceptual skills and dysdiadochokinesia, suggesting a positive relationship between abnormal reflex activity and immature postural, motor and visual functioning.

Source: The Journal of Behavioral Optometry, Volume 12, Number 6, 2001, Page 145

A Systematic Review of the Behavioral Outcomes Following Exercise Interventions for Children and Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Bremer E., Crozier M., Lloyd M.

The purpose of this review was to systematically search and critically analyse the literature pertaining to behavioural outcomes of exercise interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorder aged ⩽16 years. This systematic review employed a comprehensive peer-reviewed search strategy, two-stage screening process and rigorous critical appraisal, which resulted in the inclusion of 13 studies. Results demonstrated that exercise interventions consisting individually of jogging, horseback riding, martial arts, swimming or yoga/dance can result in improvements to numerous behavioural outcomes including stereotypic behaviours, social-emotional functioning, cognition and attention.

Source: PubMed

The Correlation between Primitive Reflexes and Saccadic Eye Movements in 5th Grade Children with Teacher-Reported Reading Problems

Sergio Ramírez González, MS,1 Kenneth J Ciuffreda, OD, PhD, FAAO, FCOVD-A,2Luís Castillo Hernández, PhD,1 Jaime Bernal Escalante, MS1

Results: The results suggested that selected resid- ual primitive reflexes were correlated with reduced saccadic accuracy and impaired reading ability. In addition, the laboratory-based saccadic testing provided an objective and confirmatory correlate to the presence of abnormal primitive reflexes. Furthermore, the results provided insight into the child’s gross and fine motor development as related to vision, with possible therapeutic ramifications.

Source: Research Source