There are certain behaviours we observe in children and adults that we can't explain. As the months go by, problems appear that slow down learning, social interaction and physical functioning.
Despite their best efforts, they are unable to overcome these difficulties, leading to a gradual loss of self-confidence, a feeling of being out of sorts, of never fitting in and a tendency to underestimate themselves.
We can all call to mind the daredevil little boy who’s always climbing and constantly making us anxious lest he fall; the little girl who hardly dares speak for fear she’ll start crying, not to mention our children with whom we spend hours on end doing homework which never seems to sink in ... or it eventually sinks in but is forgotten three days later ... like with multiplication tables for example. We all know, or have, these children and we’re proud of their efforts but when it’s your daughter going into Year 6 who still spilling the same glass of water on the same table every night at dinner … we sympathise!
Very often, all these difficulties are the sign of an immature nervous system caused by the continued presence of several primitive reflexes.
"My child has a hard time falling asleep on his own"
"Concentration seems to be impossible for my eldest, he is always in the moon"
"My teenager learns in vain, he retains only a tiny part of his lessons"
"My child does not always understand what he reads and reverses the letters and sounds"
"My daughter is clumsy and bumps around"
"My son can't sit still"
"My boy does not like to write and gets tired quickly"
"My daughter often finds herself alone, excluded from the group"
"My boy is very feisty"
"My big one still doesn't recognize his right from his left"
Reflexes are innate, spontaneous and stereotypical movements that occur involuntarily in response to sensory stimulation. They are the first motor patterns imprinted in our brain. We are born with them in place, with 17 of them triggered at the moment of birth. Their purpose is to ensure the baby's protection and survival, and to help the nervous system mature.
They are tested at birth in order to assess the baby's central nervous system and muscle tone. There are around 70 of them.
They require a specific chronology in order to develop each skill, which is why they appear in such a precise order.
They follow a three-stage cycle:
As mentioned above, reflexes are involuntary movements (not controlled by the cortex) and are imprecise and disorganised. Although they are essential to baby's survival and neurological development, their late presence is also a sign of immaturity in basic acquisition, which can hinder your child's ability to learn. When reflexes are not integrated the body must compensate which is energy-intensive and requires a great deal of effort; this often leads to difficulties.
There are a number of reasons. For example if the mother was bedridden for part of her pregnancy, her baby would not have been moved and rocked in the womb. A stressful pregnancy can also have an impact on the baby’s sense of inner security. A long and difficult delivery, a caesarean section or an instrument delivery can result in the non-integration or non-development of certain reflexes.
Stressful situations are usually the root cause of the non-integration of primitive reflexes, which interferes with behaviour and hinders the child in achieving major developmental milestones such as rolling over, crawling on all fours, sitting up alone, standing and walking. This is why it’s so important to let your baby move around on his own and without assistance
You can observe non-integrated reflexes in the following three areas:
Lack of coordination; poor balance; postural problems; difficulty tying shoelaces, catching a ball and running; repeated sprains; bedwetting; restlessness ...
Difficulty communicating with other children; not able to feel comfortable in his space; the need to stay close to his parents; very shy; lack of self-confidence; wanting to control everything; insecurity ...
Difficulty concentrating, reading and writing; disorganised; poor memory; difficulty with reasoning; lack of self-control; dyslexia; difficulties with learning at school, etc.
As a first step, we recommend that you contact a certified practitioner, who will make an assessment of your child’s primitive reflexes, evaluate any learning difficulties and discuss how therapy can help.
Your practitioner will then offer you personalised treatment in the clinic. Depending on the child, this will usually involve between five and ten 45-minute sessions spaced two to four weeks apart.
Finally, between each session, your child will have to do three to five minutes of daily exercises at home.
To make it more motivating for your child and to be effective, we recommend that parents and other siblings do the exercises too.