Reflex integration is vital for Sensory Development and overcoming Learning Difficulties
Most of us may have one or two retained reflexes that we manage to get on quite well in life without too much difficulty. But every child, or adult, who has more major learning or developmental challenges will have a number of retained primitive reflexes that will affect how they function on a physical, emotional, mental and cognitive level, and until they are inhibited they will struggle through their education and more than likely throughout their lives. I can help improve development no matter what age or ability.
The reflexes are vital to the development of the Central Nervous System to stimulate the sensory system and to help make the neural connections throughout the brain. Movement is essential to every child’s Early Years development, no matter what age or ability. Developmental challenges disappear and learning improves as the reflexes are integrated and the brain becomes better connected.
My specialised Brain Development website for Malta is: www.braindevelopmentmalta.com
This short video clip, below, will explain, briefly and effectively, the important role the reflexes play in our ability to be ready and able to learn. The foundations skills for learning must be in-place before learning can be an easier, enjoyable and successful process. Children who are struggling or failing to learn or are late in reaching expected milestones and attainment levels, will have retained reflexes and until they are cleared, will always struggle and have to work harder to achieve. This can be changed in an easy and enjoyable way using developmental movements.
What is Rhythmic Movement Training?
Rhythmic Movement Training is a practice dedicated to bringing integration and balance to the reflexes of children and adults with specific learning challenges, including ADHD/ADD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Co-ordination difficulties, Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Cerebral palsy. The programme supports people with mild to severe emotional and behavioural challenges, anxiety, panic and general life overwhelm. Also people that have suffered with various forms of brain injury or who have Parkinson’s disease can benefit.
The practice evolved from the study of movements and reflex patterns babies naturally make from conception through to walking. Integrating the reflexes, using this amazingly simple movement based programme can help clear many learning challenges. Anyone from any age group and ability can benefit and the results are life-long.
What are Primitive and Postural reflexes?
The Primitive and Postural reflexes are responsible for building the neural foundations of the Central Nervous System to help stimulate the development of the senses that help to link up areas of the brain. This process begins a few weeks after conception, through pregnancy, some peak at birth and then should integrate gradually by the age of round 4 years old, before going into the learning environment. Children with retained much past 4 may not have the resources to be able to learn easily and then show signs of difficulty and delay.
Click on the boxes to the right of the page. They will open up and show you some of the symptoms that relates to that reflex. Many are seen in classrooms, in businesses, in sports and in performing arts. The symptoms can be improved using this programme, and at any time of life. The earlier this is done, children will have a better opportunity to succeed through the various stages of their education.
The Primitive reflexes develop the motor movement beginning in utero and during the first few months after the birth. The Primitive reflexes and the essential vestibular system are the first to develop and need to integrate sufficiently before the Postural reflexes can do their job efficiently. An un-integrated Fear Paralysis reflex and/or the Moro reflex ( known as the “survival” reflexes) can have severe effects on learning abilities, phobias, behaviour, health and many life skills. Symptoms can clearly be seen in children and adults. Using RMT can make profound and positive changes.
The Postural reflexes develop muscle tone and are life long in supporting our general upright posture and balance with gravity. Some neck and back problems eg Scoliosis, upper back, lumbar, hip and walking problems etc, could be due to un-integrated postural reflexes. Improving the reflexes can improve muscle tone and difficulties will clear naturally.
If the primitive and postural reflexes are retained much past 4 years old this can affect sensory / motor development, perception, language, speech, making sense of the world and academic performance. Retained reflexes can hold back a child or adult from achieving their highest potential and be carried into the workplace and throughout life. Anyone struggling with development and / or learning will have retained reflexes.
How do the reflexes develop?
We are born with an inborn movement pattern called Reflexes. Scientists know movement stimulates the neural connections to improve communication throughout the different areas of the brain. When a baby learns to move, it stimulates the reflexes that then helps develop the Visual, Auditory, Motor, Vestibular and Kinesthetic senses essential to all life skills. If babies are not allowed or cannot move freely on the floor, the senses and areas of the brain don’t get connected up properly, leaving the infant at a lower level of development. Symptoms can be seen in many classrooms and can be carried on throughout life if not helped.
How can the Rhythmic Movement Training programme help?
Movement is essential to brain and sensory development in everyone of us. Development first begins in utero and then while the baby is on the floor after birth until it learns to make movements to be able to get up off the floor on to hands and knees for crawling and then stand and learn to walk.
The rocking, sliding and rolling developmental movements we use in RMT are performed on the floor as every baby should naturally learn to make. This helps stimulate the senses and helps develop the nerve networks throughout the brain from the Basal Ganglia ( Brain Stem), the Cerebellum through to the Limbic system (the emotional brain), the Neocortex (the two hemispheres) through to the Prefrontal cortex.
At first, some movements can prove difficult or impossible. If the person cannot do certain movements rhythmically, smoothly, exactly, symmetrically and effortlessly, this is a clear indication of a lack of integration. As the person learns to make the movements exact and effortlessly, the reflexes will integrate and learning challenges will disappear. Some of the movements are done isometrically which has a deep and stronger effect. All movements have a powerful and positive effect and can improve development, helping children and adults to reach expected milestones.
Can the Rhythmic Movements help ADHD, behaviour and attention problems?
Yes absolutely. The Basal Ganglia, the Reticular Activating System and the Prefrontal cortex need to have had enough stimulation and neural connections made to be able to keep your attention, manage your fine motor abilities and to be able to sit still for any length of time. Children with ADHD, the Basal Ganglia and the Prefrontal cortex may not be sufficiently developed. Using the Rhythmic Movements can help these two important areas of the brain, helping children and adults with ADHD without the need for medication.
How long does it take to see results?
This depends on the level of development of the child or adult and how many reflexes are still active. It can be a few weeks, up to 6 months or up to a year or longer if there are severe challenges. As soon as you start making the movements there is a level of change. The level needs to build up so that it becomes automatic and a part of you by which time you will see amazing changes. You will be given a few movements to do at home that will require only 10 -15 minutes a day.
Learning strategies and compensations
Some people do finds ways of compensating for their difficulties but will mean they have to put a lot more effort in to achieve. They may reach a point when in the workplace and put under a lot of pressure and stress that their compensation strategies disappear and let them down. Breakdowns, overwhelm, bad behaviour, ill health and other stress related symptoms will start to show in the workplace.
To see a few common symptoms of Neural Developmental Delays due to retained reflexes, please click on the blue boxes to the top right of this page.
You may recognise some of these symptoms in the home, classroom, the workplace, in sports and the performing arts. Clearing the reflexes, many of these symptoms can disappear and expected milestones can be achieved.
These are a few examples that can affect late development of the reflexes:
- Inherited challenges
- Shock / trauma / stress / drug / alcohol abuse during pregnancy
- Neglected / abandoned children
- Child abuse during the Early Years
- Stressful environment
- Babies left to cry for long periods
- Put into baby walkers too early
- Left in baby seats for long periods
- Birth by caesarean section
- Damage to the brain from birth or in utero
- Premature babies
- Disabled babies and children
- Lack of supervised ‘tummy time’
- Did not crawl at all or for long enough
- Bottom shufflers
- Weak core muscles
- Not enough vestibular stimulation before and after birth
- Illness in the mother while pregnant
- Cerebral Palsy
- Foetal Alcohol Syndrome
- Heavy metal toxicity
- Recurring infections i.e ears, allergies
- Physical disabilities
- Poor nutrition
Can the reflexes be improved for any age group and any ability?
Yes, the Rhythmic Movement Training programme is an outstanding technique to help develop and integrate any late reflexes for any age and any ability. Adults and children with severe disabilities greatly benefit from these movements as many may not have been able to stimulate the reflexes naturally because of illness, lack of movement during their Early Years or from damage to the brain or from the various reasons stated above.
Where can Rhythmic Movement Training be used?
- Nursery schools
- Schools, Colleges, Universities
- Pupil Referral Units
- Educational Psychologists
- Child Development Centres
- Neural Occupational Therapists
- Mental Health Practitioners
- Business People
- Sports People
- Prison Service
- Social Care Workers
Areas of the brain that can be developed naturally using RMT
- The Cerebellum
- The Basal Ganglia
- The Reticular Activating System
- The Limbic System
- The Neocortex
- The Prefrontal Cortex
I was trained by Dr Harald Blomberg, the developer of RMT. He is a Swedish psychiatrist and has been researching and working with the reflexes very successfully with children and adults for over 25 years. www.haraldblomberg.com
Moira Dempsey, who I have also been trained by, runs Rhythmic Movement Training International from Australia and America. Moira worked with Dr Blomberg helping to develop RMT.
The International website: www.rhythmicmovement.org