Primitive Reflexes

Primitive reflexes are automatic movements that occur during infancy through 18 months of age (sometimes a little longer). They help infants survive, stay safe, and help develop the brain stem, or foundation of our nervous system. Primitive reflexes are stimulated in infancy through movement in response to sensory information. The two are intertwined together and integrate together in the early years of our life.

There are a number of reasons a child may not fully integrate reflexes or the sensory system including trauma, lack of movement, toxins, lifestyle and environmental factors, and poor nutrition. A parent may begin noticing differences with their child early on, or very often, we don’t notice problems until children are challenged during school years. Symptoms you may notice in your child include, but are not limited to:

  • hypersensitive to sound, touch, taste, or movement
  • motion sickness
  • fine motor delays
  • gross motor coordination difficulties
  • unable to ride a bike, catch a ball, skip, etc
  • falls over frequently/loses balance/clumsy
  • difficulty sleeping (falling asleep or staying asleep)
  • delays in infant milestones; late walker; late talker; did not crawl; crawled awkward
  • speech troubles
  • visual tracking difficulties
  • low muscle tone
  • excessive or irrational fears; anxiety; fight-or-flight
  • hyperactive; unable to sit still
  • trouble reading; learning; dyslexia; dysgraphia
  • poor eye-hand coordination
  • frequent tantrums; argumentative; frequent meltdowns
  • emotionally sensitive
  • fatigues easily
A child whose foundation in primitive reflex movement & senses are not fully integrated will have trouble with higher level skills such as learning, attention/focus, coordination, balance, speech, auditory processing, and more. Please refer to the image below, “Pyramid of Development & Learning” to understand the importance these foundational skills provide the brain and nervous system.
The Pyramid of Development & Learning (image above) is a visual representation of how an infant develops and learns. The nervous system relies on primitive reflex maturity and an intact sensory system in order to move up the pyramid of development. Once the foundation is strong, motor perceptual skills and higher-level learning (or executive functioning) can occur. In children diagnosed with ASD we often see that they have developed too many neurons, too quickly leaving the cortical brain stronger than the foundation. This is the phenomena that many autistic individuals explains as not having control of their body. Once we “re-wire” the brain through neuro-developmental movements, balance the brain and integrate reflexes, the motor system is able to catch up.
Learn more about the core reflexes by clicking links below:

Does your child have retained reflexes?

Brain Hemispheric Integration + Sensory Integration

The most common brain “imbalance” occurs between the two hemispheres of the brain, which is called a ‘Functional Disconnection’. Essentially this is a lack of connection, communication, and integration between neural networks on either side of the brain. The lack of connection is most commonly a result of a developmental imbalance or asynchrony. This means that one side of the brain is delayed or slowed in its development which causes the other side to mature and grow faster. This imbalance in growth and maturity prevents the two hemispheres from properly integrating; resulting in an unevenness of functional abilities where one side of the brain is “too strong” relative to the other side.

An example would be the high-level of intelligence, plus obsessive, compulsive, or hyperactive behavior seen when the left hemisphere is strong and right hemisphere is delayed.

The brain controls everything! An imbalance in the brain can result in imbalances in every system of the body, including the digestive system, sensory system, and motor systems. Some examples are ADHD, autism, dyslexia, depression, anxiety, autoimmune issues, allergies, food sensitive, and more.

There is no damage or pathology in the brain; no genetic mutation or chemical problem. Functional disconnection is a physiologic imbalance that can be corrected with proper stimulation of the delayed hemisphere.

As we know, each side of the brain controls different types of thinking, movement and processing. Today, neuroscientists know that the two sides of the brain collaborate to perform a broad variety of tasks and that the two hemispheres communicate through the corpus callosum. Ideally the two hemispheres will be balanced and work in synergy together, although you will be dominant in one side.  Children with autism, ADHD, and other neurological or learning-based disorders are being found to have a significant imbalance between the two hemispheres.

The right brain focuses on the visual, and processes information in an intuitive and simultaneous way, looking first at the whole picture then the details. The focus of the left brain is verbal, processing information in an analytical and sequential way, looking first at the pieces then putting them together to get the whole.

Learning disabilities and movement challenges are a direct result of the disconnect between the two hemispheres. The characteristics and challenges your child displays represents which hemisphere is weaker. Balancing the two hemispheres will help narrow the gap and strengthen the weaker hemisphere.

Parents can begin to assist their own child with integrating and balancing the two sides of the brain at home with specific exercises given through our Online Primitive Reflex & Brain Integrations Program.

Left Brain Hemisphere characteristics & functions:

  • speech and language
  • analytical thinking
  • attention to detail
  • detail-oriented
  • fine motor skills & control

Characteristics of a left brain deficiency:

  • is good with non-verbal communication
  • is not good at following routines
  • has difficulty following multiple step instructions
  • may have poor self-esteem
  • may be difficult to motivate
  • sees the big picture
  • is prone to ear infections
  • typically Dyslexia

These lists are just a sample of characteristics. Your child may or may not exhibit all of these. Work with me to have a complete assessment in order to have individualized information; or get started with our self-guided reflex & brain integrations program.

Right Brain Hemisphere characteristics & functions:

  • creative, artistic
  • musical awareness
  • big-picture oriented
  • good coordination
  • catches colds frequently
  • no allergies
  • non-verbal communication
  • gross motor skills

Characteristics of a right brain deficiency:

  • trouble with visual perception
  • short attention span
  • struggles behaviorally
  • increased anxiety
  • digestive and bowel troubles
  • poor eye contact
  • dislikes loud noises
  • low muscle tone
  • typically Autism, ADHD

These lists are just a sample of characteristics. Your child may or may not exhibit all of these. Work with me to have a complete assessment in order to have individualized information; or get started with our movement program!