What is a primitive reflex?
· Sequential movements patterns developed in utero for the foetus to survive
· They assist in the birthing process and are vital for growth and development
· They are controlled by the brainstem
· They enable us to feed, roll, reach, crawl, develop muscle tone and head control
· As the central nervous system matures and the reflex has done its job, it should then under go transformation or inhibition by a higher part of the brain
· The next reflex is then able to emerge to do its job
· This process continues until all the reflexes are integrated and replaced by postural reflexes, which then remain for life
If a reflex is not integrated at the correct time, it is said to be a retained reflex.
The primitive reflexes should all be integrated by about 12-18 months of age and they form the foundation for our future development.
Unintegrated reflexes can result in:
· Delayed motor development
· Difficulty in maturing the brain
· Poor perceptual ability
What should teachers and parents be looking out for that might indicate a retained reflex?
· Fidgeting and ‘ants in your pants’ at school
· Slouched posture in the chair
· Resting their head on their hand while writing
· Poor pencil grip and fine motor movements
· Turning their paper to 90 degrees when writing
· Moving the paper or book sideways when reading
· Poor upper body strength, balance and coordination
Why don’t reflexes integrate?
There are a number of reasons why reflexes wouldn’t integrate, some of which include:
· Stress during pregnancy or a traumatic birth
· Caesarean or premature birth
· Lack of movement and stimulation during pregnancy and in the first few month of life
* There are a lot of factors to consider and it does not mean you will have retained reflexes if you have had a complicated birth.
Adults can also have retained reflexes, which could present as pain or tension in the body after years of compensation.
Kinesiology can also help with:
· Memory, concentration and comprehension
· Reading and writing
· Balance, posture and coordination
· Behavioural or emotional difficulties
· Bed wetting and sleep
· Digestive problems
If you would like to find out more about kinesiology and integrating reflexes, please contact me on 0405 981 879.